Monday, June 22, 2015

How To Care For Your Muse by Robert Lettrick

Let’s pretend that the moment we decide to become writers, our muse is born. Four inches tall, ten ounces, gossamer wings and all.

Great. Another mouth to feed. 

Then we find that our muse can be pretty helpful. They offer up imaginative ideas and ask little in return. You decide your muse is a keeper. But like all living things, a writer's muse needs tlc. Let’s talk about the care and feeding of our mini shoulder creatures.

Muses thrive on a strict diet of books, journals, blogs, magazines and other written material. And just like a human diet, the better the food quality the healthier your muse will be. It’s important to note that most television programming is the equivalent of fast food, and if you’ve ever watched Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, you know that eating nothing but fast food day in and day out is a beeline to organ failure. Feed your muse a steady and varied diet of well-written stuff (FYI, I wrote a whole paragraph on inspecting your muse’s droppings to determine if it’s getting proper nutrition, but for the sake of brevity, I edited it out.)

(Cue Rocky montage music)
This one goes without saying, for a muse to be fit and healthy, you have to give it plenty of exercise. Muses don’t get ripped on Tai Bo, P90X or Zumba. If you want your mini writer-whisperer to have six-pack abs, you have to write every day. Even on Christmas. Read and write, read and write. That's how muses get buff. 

In today's age of cellphones, iPads, Nooks, Crannies, and white noise, we’re constantly bombarded by stimulation. Other than installing a sensory deprivation tank in your house, the best solution to “get away from it all” may be to simply go outside for a walk. Leave your house, take a stroll and think about your story. A little nature goes a long way toward lifting your muse’s spirit. 

To date I’ve written four books. I started each of them in a different city. Sometimes a jarring change is necessary to shake your muse out of its funk. Not everyone can relocate between books, but vacations, especially research and/or writing excursions, are a great way to wake up your hibernating muse (Caution: Do not let your muse hibernate too long as they may turn feral upon waking.) 

Muses are very social creatures. They find interaction with other writers' muses to be both stimulating and motivational. Critique groups are a great source of kinship, and you can find them by searching the regional pages of the website or through google, but if you don’t have one in your area you can always start one. And if the internet is more your thing, there are plenty of places online where your muse can connect with play pals. Twitter, for example, is basically a dog park for muses. 

The bottom line is take care of your muse and your muse will take care of you. 
And remember, have your muse spayed or neutered. 

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to think about a well-rounded writing life!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!