Meet My Muse!
When you were a kid, “make believe” was easy. Even encouraged by your parents. An old bed sheet strung between chairs, surrounded by sofa cushions, was a castle, a sturdy fortress to protect you from the dreaded dragon. (Your dog, Tiny).
Somewhere between kindergarten and adolescence, your “make believe” became “make your bed,” and when adulthood dawned, your priority was to “make a living.” Time spent on the nonsensical was no longer practical.
But that’s not true! It’s time to “make believe” again. Because when you do, the artist in you will flourish and love you for it.
Let me introduce you to my muse. She prefers to go to bed late and sleep til noon. She’ll wear a tutu to the grocery store because she likes to dance. She doesn’t want to be responsible and will disappear for days if she’s criticized. But she’s also the creative spirit that allows me to write from a place that my logical mind doesn’t understand. Those who are versed in this concept call the place where she lives the subconscious, the right side of the brain.
Stephen King speaks of his muse in his book, On Writing, The Memoir of the Craft: “There’s a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration.”
However, you do need to be wary of the muse’s sister, the critic, the conscious mind. Where the muse can put down beautiful words and a compelling story, the critic checks the work for poor structure and unbelievable characterization. She lives in the left side of the brain and has no time for play. She has a ‘to do” list that must be meticulously checked off.
Conflict will arise between the two and everyone who seeks to tap into their creativity subconsciously will have to grapple with these opposing forces. A good example of this battle is explained by actor and film writer, Steve Martin, when he talks about his writing experiences: “The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer. And the joy of writing, when you’re writing from your subconscious, is beautiful—it’s thrilling. When you’re editing, which is your conscious mind, it’s like torture. And I’ve just kind of decided that anytime it’s torture, I want to stop. I’ll put it down and wait until becomes not torture.” (NY Times)
By now, you may want to invite your subconscious mind to come out and play. How do you make that happen when the conscious mind is guarding the door? The secret lies in getting your muse distracted, to work on a problem in the background while you’re doing something else.
Remember, my muse loves to dance. Not only does that get my “arse” out of the writer’s seat, it also gives me much needed time for my plot to thicken. This works best when I’ve been writing for a few hours and want to eat all the ice cream in the freezer. Instead, I dance. For you, it may be a repetitive activity like folding laundry, taking a shower, or meditating.
But sometimes, you must trick your subconscious to do the work. According to The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton, the subconscious mind can process 20,000,000 bits of info per second. The conscious mind, only 40 bits. That means your muse mind has the ability to process 500,000 times more what your editor mind can. When we push our bodies to move faster, like writing faster, the conscious mind yields.
Now it’s your turn. Set your unconscious mind free. If you are a writer, especially on the first draft, you’ll have the opportunity to creating something amazing. And if you haven’t tried it already, experiment with writing faster than you think. Faster than your critic can edit. I bet you’ll like how it turns out.
What The Subconscious is to every other man, in its creative aspect becomes, for writers, The Muse. ~ Ray Bradbury
When Marisa Dillon is not dancing or working her day job as a marketing consultant, she is writing with her muse. Marisa’s new release, The Golden Rose of Scotland, is book II in the Ladies of Lore Series from Soul Mate Publishing.
You can connect with Marisa through these channels: