The short definition of muse is simple: a source of inspiration. When I personally think of a muse I think of a person who inspires me directly (your muse can come from anything including yourself). When I started to date my (now)husband my writing exploded. It was in a bit of a hiatus at that point. But we had a fast paced and passionate “love at first sight” relationship. It was hot and heavy, filled with desperate kissing, touching, anguish and obsession, nights of lusting after each other and hours of phone calls or texting. But then there were some nights that were painfully long after a terrible argument and consumed us with heartache. Now married with three kids there are nights that we both end up snoring on the couch watching “Suits”. But we are also lucky to still have those heated moments and nights that we had when we first met. There were an incredible amount of triumphs and failures we endured to get to this moment we are in now. We fell more times than we rose, but it was this end result we are most proud of. To be cliche, we walked through the fires of hell with each other. And our marriage and friendship is better for it. Needless to say, I have a plethora of steamy topics to indulge in. But that is where, for me, my poetry and torent love story muse is great for. When I am looking for that spark I need for one of my horror stories or manuscripts I need something different ( unless somebody leaves dirty dishes in the sink while the dishwasher is also dirty. Then my personal muse works both ways 😉)
As a writer we need to dig deep to get the story within. No matter the genre we leave pieces of ourselves in everything we write. Finding the right inspiration is more than just conquering a bad case of writer’s block. This is where is begins. You start toying with an idea, perhaps jot some things down. Then what? How do we find that motivating force to keep going?
Let’s Write A Novel!
Yes, the novel. So many people dream of writing the great infamous the next Hemmingway or Fitzgerald. If you haven’t heard of Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month (in November) now is the time to challenge yourself. Try to write a 50,000 word novel by 11:59pm November 30th. If you can’t don’t beat yourself up. I was inspired in 2012 by my love of “The Walking Dead” t.v. show and graphic novel to try a zombie book of my own. What the hell, right? I love genetics so I threw some of that in there with the usual people chomping and bloody mess that comes with an apocalypse. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could write a novel or part of one in a month. I got to about 50,000 words Nov 30th with no end in sight. I would occationally pick it up but nothing substantial came. So it sits unfinished with no title with so many others. In this case my muse was the countless books and googling all different types of zombie books. I know where I could go with this book. I don’t know if I will any time soon. But it was a fun challenge and out came a character I love.
I have another book I was writing where the i inspiration came from a person I knew from years ago. The characters have a base in real situations and the feelings I had when they occured. The novel is fiction but the uncomfortable memories and feelings were real. My main character experienced them in a different setting but she she lived in the very awkward position as I did once. I dig into my past so my protagonist could show the reader in a realistic point of view what was going on.
I don’t think we necessarily need a specific person as our “muse”. It’s romantic to think there is someone out there who influenced our lifes work. We all love a good “based on true events” tagline. When people ask us where do we find our inspiration, a good story is always better than “uh…it just came to me while eating my bowl of soup at the diner”. I love a good bowl of soup 🥘. But listening to the story of an artist like Picasso find his muse or a writer having a tawdry love affair is far more interesting. It can help hear about it and draw inspiration from it. Can their muse be our muse?
The wonderful thing is that creative spark can come from anywhere anytime. But that can also be a downfall when we are staring at a blank page. As writers we have the ability to generate a world people want to escape in. Finding an idea which excites us enough to run with can be hard. But when you have it you will know; grab it and make it explode on the page before you.
Who or what is your muse? I would love to know. Reach out and share what inspires you!