I’ll be honest, I’ll believe in fairies before I will in muses.
I may have had a muse, back when I was in fourth grade or so, and then I locked it down in the dungeon chained to a wall and let it die. It’s skeleton is right next to the last earthly remains of my Inner Editor.
You don’t need a muse to write.
If you’re waiting for some chick in a Roman toga to come and beat a story idea into your head you’d better spend your time filling out applications for McDonalds because it isn’t going to happen.
Waiting for inspiration to hit your brain isn’t going to do anything but eat your time.
“My muse isn’t talking to me,” a friend told me the other day when I asked why she hadn’t written in awhile. The only thing that kept me from slapping sense into her was the Atlantic ocean between us.
“What have you been doing about writing?” I asked, very, very skeptical.
She’d done nothing, as it turned out. She’d watched some movies, had lunch with friends, gone to work, and read a few books, but she hadn’t once put her butt in the chair, opened her manuscript up, and started typing.
The best writers I know are the ones who write every day, in sickness or health, in poverty’s vale, between juggling kids, work, and full class loads they write. And the ones who put in the time are the ones who reap the benefits.
So don’t wait for the muse to hit you.
Don’t wait for perfection.
Get out there, get your hands dirty, and go to work.
Yes, it means sometimes you will delete entire scenes because you decide they don’t work. And it means long hours editing. And long months beating the manuscript into the perfect shape. But if you want to write, that’s the way it’s done.
There is no short cut.
Stop waiting for one.
Image courtesy or and copyright to Janna ProsvirinaSculpture by Antonio Canova, Cleveland Museum of Art