Keep your muse well-fed, or watch her vanish. She is like a never-ending hunger that needs food but fails to get filled. And that’s good. She, the muse, is what brings that creativity to you. Feed her well.
What is the Muse?
The Muse comes from Greek mythology. They were nine goddesses who embodied the arts and inspired the creation of literature and science. The muse can descend at any time, and if the recipient is not ready to receive, she will disappear and that inspiration will be lost.
Ray Bradbury, prolific science fiction writer, was a big proponent of the muse. He fully believed that when she descends and gives you the gift – that story controls you. In a 1980 essay he said, “My stories have led me through my life. They shout, I follow. They run up and bite me on the leg— I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go, and runs off.”
If that’s not the muse, I don’t know what is.
How to Feed the Muse
1. Gather Experiences
All those adventures and impressions from childhood and beyond should be collected and stored away to be used when needed. Snap up the landscapes, the textures, the foods, the experiences, the flavors to be given new life in a novel of your own.
2. Read Indiscriminately
Those writers who read only one type of genre are starving their muse. Can you subsist on just chocolate? Likewise, the muse is nurtured on every type of novel. Trashy romance or classic Hemingway – they both do their job in providing the variety that the muse requires in order to inspire that wonderful story that lurks within you.
3. Cop a Phrase, a Word, a Line
Write down fresh similes, fragments of paragraphs that you enjoy reading, or words that tease your tongue, and action verbs and adjectives that you wouldn’t normally think to use. Then when you’re stuck, look through these lists and one of them might trigger the right inspiration.
4. Write with Enthusiasm
Writing is a joy, not something that you should feel you’re forced to do. Sit down to your computer with anticipation and wonder about what will come from your mind down and in and out your fingers. Enjoy the sensation of creating.
6. Surround Yourself with Like-minded People
Forget about people who are negative. Surround yourself with other writers who are supportive of you and your craft.