Valentine’s Day is a wonderful event for lovers. Roses, cards, candy, and starry-eyed glances are the order of the day. But what if you’re a solo act? Or you and your romantic partner are in the midst of a nasty spat? The entire day feels like a waste, doesn’t it? It seems like everyone in the world is “in love”…except you.
There are some writers who always seem to be in tune with their inner muse. They appear to enjoy a veritable fountain of ideas and frequently share daily social media updates detailing the number of poems they’ve composed or how many thousands of words they’ve added to their novel. While speaking at writing conferences they bemoan having to choose between two amazingly inspired plot ideas and speak of shoeboxes filled with future projects. I can only think of one word to describe these individuals….
At least, that’s how I feel when my own Muse is nowhere to be found. She’s off somewhere for a “Muses’ Night Out”—partying it up with some F. Scott Fitzgerald or Kate DiCamillo full-time author in a published book-filled office in some idyllic, remote New England farmhouse! Grrr… Meanwhile, I sit cold and idea-less in my uncomfortable chair, hands hovering over the laptop keyboard like a frozen concert pianist.
Why can’t I think of anything? I scheduled this one hour block of time at the end of a long day at the office in order to nurture my creative writing self—why is my Muse AWOL?
I’ve recently struggled mightily with Muse Envy. Mulling over my lack of spontaneous creativity has wasted more precious writing time than I care to admit. Luckily, I recently came across a short-but-wonderful older post on the site “The Write Practice” that helped me work through my difficulties:
“Most writers either over discipline their muse or ignore her (or him). The key to solving your discipline problem is to realize you don’t have a discipline problem. You have a relational problem.” (Joe Bunting)
The post goes on to detail seven ways in which writers mistreat their muses. I quickly realized that I was guilty of committing every single one of the seven offences. (You can read the entire post here: http://thewritepractice.com/7-reasons-your-muse-isnt-talking-to-you/
I felt guilty. I thought of all the small ways that I had alienated my Muse. If only she would come back to me! I’d never take her for granted again!
The next day, while riding home on the train, heavy snowflakes began to fall. We pulled into the first station stop and I noticed a woman in a red coat trudging through the snow. She had an enormous blue stuffed animal strapped to her back. Its long arms and legs bounced with each step she took.
???? Where is she going???And why…?
Hello, my Muse! Let me pull out my notebook…there! Now, what was that you were saying?