Is there a freelance writing muse? First, a definition from Vocabulary.com:
In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. Today, a muse is a person who serves as an artist’s inspiration.
When someone commented on Why Writing Less May Improve Your Writing about a muse coming and going I felt immediate resistance. Which was a bit strange since in the article I was talking about a ‘still small voice’ or intuition – both at least as squishy concepts as nine goddesses, or even one.
I poked around in my mind
So I spent a bit of time trying to figure out why I was uncomfortable with the idea that my inspiration might come from a muse. Of course, I recognized in a general way that the muse was some sort of mythical figure. I probably knew at one point that it’s actually nine.
I realized I did have a mental picture, not unlike the one here (which I found on Wikipedia). It wasn’t as detailed, but the sense that a muse or the muse was a women figure and probably a goddess figure has been part of me for a very long time.
Personally inspired by…
So was the notion that a freelance writing muse could be some person who inspired me. My first response to that was along the lines of “no one’s ever served as a muse to me!” What a useless negative and untrue thought that was! Fortunately it was quickly followed by a list of both famous people and certain friends, anyone of whom has inspired my writing. I was relieved not to stay in self-pity for more than a couple of seconds.
When I seriously look back, I see that lots and lots of people have encouraged and motivated me. I never thought of them as muses. They include you, the known and unknown folks who read my writing.
Writing really is an inside job
My reluctance to the idea of a muse is the recognition that my writing, and yours too I strongly suspect, really does come somehow from the inside. While ideas and support can come from others, the actual process of the writing and the combination of the words can’t come from the outside. No one can do it for us. Even if we dictate our words to someone else to write down, that creativity or lack of it is ours alone.
The good news in this is it also means our writing, our art if you will, is not controlled by some outside force of nature or myth. I don’t have to wait for any goddess to show up in order to write. Nor do I have to wait for some inspirational friend to magically show up in my office.
Sure, if I’m tired or distracted or hungry or lonely writing may be difficult or even impossible. I may fall into habits of procrastination or get stuck trying to write something I don’t like or don’t know enough about. There an infinite number of reasons not to write – as well as to get the writing done. We can practice and perfect either.
I get to choose.
Which means you get to choose too.
Some might say I’d actually incorporated the idea of a muse – which is certainly one way to look at it.
How do you think of the inspiration and discipline you use to write?
Write well and often,
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