Fiction, Musings, Writing

Unmasking the Muse

I’ve been pondering the nature of the Muse lately. (Give me credit for not saying musing about the Muse.) If I took the time to search my old blog posts, I’m fairly certain I’d find I’m contradicting myself today, so let’s just say my concept of the Muse has changed. Evolved.

I haven’t always been aware of the concept of a Muse. For most of my life, I wrote without wonder at the origin of the words. Sure, I’d heard the word and had a vague knowledge of the Muses of Greek mythology, but felt no connection, no need, for one in my life. Then, I started hanging out with other writers.

Writers love to refer to The Muse. We praise her, curse her, petition, beg, bribe, and worship her. She is friend and foe. Temperamental beyond reason, she inspires a great flow one minute, and refuses to dole out a single word the next. A beneficent Muse is the object of every writer’s desire.

So, I asked, who is she, where does she reside, and how can I get better access to her? Would I tap into the Muse if only I did, said, learned the right thing? I thought of her as something other, some ethereal being—The Force in this writerverse. And if I was one of the Chosen Few, the powers that be would declare, “The Muse is strong in this one.” Ummm … no.

I don’t think this way any longer because I unmasked my Muse. She looked quite familiar. Spirit? Yes, but only my own. I don’t need to look outside myself. Everything I need to write is within. Inspiration may appear to come from outside, but these external things only echo what is already within myself. They serve to call up a memory, an emotion, a desire, a fear and then, because I’m a writer, these echoes are released in words. If the Muse is strong in me, it’s only because I’m listening. If the Muse has “deserted” me, it’s only because I’m too busy looking for her out there. I’m too busy looking, period. Just. Be. Still.

Maybe you already knew this. Maybe you have already grasped this power. If not, go look in the mirror now and introduce yourself to “The Muse.”

29 thoughts on “Unmasking the Muse”

  1. I agree, of course. I’ve never understood how so many attribute their own drives, talents and creativity to some outside source.
    … Unless it is to ward off the envy of those who don’t have it: “Hey, don’t blame me, blame the gods/the muse/aliens.”
    Or for those who don’t do the work to blame an outside source: “It’s not my fault I have not written anything — the muse refuses to gift me.”


    1. I thought of you as I was writing this post, Paul. We discussed this before, only then we were at odds. 🙂 It was natural for me to look for an external muse because I have a church background.


  2. I’ve never really understood the whole ‘muse’ thing, as my brain just doesn’t work like that – definitely found mine in the mirror awhile ago. I think those who do have vivid, imaginative, beautiful muses are mostly referring the part of themselves that brings forth the creativity, rather than something outside of themselves. Or at least that’s how I tended to interpret it 😉


    1. Yes, Cassie, some are referring to that creative part inside … maybe MOST are … but I couldn’t quite own up to that yet. Maybe because I was hoping my Muse was far more brilliant than I am. 🙂


  3. I cannot help but see my Muse as someone on the ‘outside’ and to me, he is male, in spite of the fact the Muses were meant to be female. Well, I’ve always been different so no surprise I’ve got a Male Muse 🙂


      1. Because I almost feel as if he’s just in another realm, it’s very hard to explain without sounding crazy 🙂 He seems to know things I don’t and he guides me. See? I know how crazy that all sounds….


  4. Whether the ‘muse’ is me, as you say, or something ‘else’, I have problems with it. Plot-wise, I’m good, character-wise, not so much. I’d love to be able to weave characters and have them be a part of me like some others do.

    I need to break through that barrier within myself… hopefully one day!


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