The creative muse is rather like me. She’s moody, unpredictable, driven, bitchy, sweet, funny, critical, some days a slacker and other days a slave-driver. She’s loyal to a fault, compassionate and understanding, yet cold and cryptic at times. She’s sometimes harsh and abrasive, while other times she’s loving and kind. She’s the best of me and she’s the worst of me. She’s my best angels and my worst demons. But she’s me. All of me. Deep in my subconscious, skating the surface, or picking at the details.
So I’ve learned to go wherever she leads and to surrender to her guidance. She hasn’t steered me wrong yet. I’ve learned I can trust her to help me tell a good story. She’s earned my respect from the stories she’s helped me write over the years. Our relationship is tried and true.
Some people think of the muse as only being the creative part of our brain. The fun, carefree part that let’s us play and let’s our imaginations run free. I think the muse is both the creative and the analytical. She’s both sides of our brain working together. Some days one side reigns supreme over the other. And I never know which side is in control when I start writing each morning.
But there’s one certainty I have learned. To coax the muse out to play–whether it’s the right side of the brain or the left side of the brain–what I need to do is keep my butt in a chair. I need to surrender to whatever part of my brain is leading. If it’s the creative side, then I’m writing fresh, new pages full of interesting plot and moving my story forward. If the left side of the brain is weighing in heavy on the writing conversation that day, then I surrender to it and I go back and I read through the pages I’ve written so far and I edit, I polish, and I make the story better until I’m ready to move on to the new part of the story beyond the blank page. Or maybe I plot the next section, if the left brain wants to play.
All I know is the muse is part of me and I’m part of her. Without us both, the story would never hit the page and no one would ever read a single word of it. So I’m thankful she’s mercurial. She has ups and downs. It makes the writing life interesting and it keeps me going, day after day, because I’m never really sure where she’ll lead me next. I just know that it will be a good place.