When we answer our muse, we don't know where she will take us.

When we answer our muse, we don’t know where she will take us.

How my muse gets my attention:

The Uncommitted Come-on

“There might maybe sorta kinda be a story in that little bit of an idea right there. You could maybe see it if you look at it sideways. Just saying. No? Okay, I was wrong. Never mind.”

The Vague Restlessness

“Sit down and write. You don’t know what to write? Okay, get some tea. Brush your hair. You still feel like you need to write? Maybe it will come if you eat that chocolate. Mmmmm, chocolate — where were we? Oh yeah, did you want to write something? I dunno, sleep on it. Something will come.”

The Snide Passive-Aggressiveness

“Oh, so now you want to write? I thought you didn’t want to write, because of the chocolate and the tea yesterday. You didn’t seem very interested yesterday. But now you’re ready for an idea? Okay, it’s all right. I can drop the other stuff I had planned and come up with an idea. Not a problem. I just thought you didn’t want to write, is all.”

The Inconvenient Whisper

“I know you’re working on SWOT analysis of the financial services industry that’s due by the end of the day, but I think you want to listen to this. Yeah, we got your plot, characters, setting, motivation, and pacing all in the starting gate, and” — drops voice — “I’m not sure how much longer I can hold them.

The Sharp Thump

“Hey. Yeah, I just thumped your head like it was a ripe watermelon. So sit down, get through the writing ritual, and get started.”

The Lapel Grab

“Holy Mother of God, start channeling RIGHT FREAKING NOW and don’t stop until I let you go! Go go go go!”


How does your muse talk to you?




Elze · October 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

To the extent that I have any muse, it talks to me like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentator. Though it does not inspire me to write (that job is left entirely to me, so I’m not sure that the MST3K voice in my head meets the main requirement for a muse, but I don’t have any other that would qualify), it inserts sarcastic comments after each of my hard-earned sentences. I usually leave them in the first draft, because I find that (paradoxically) they make it easier to write. They help the words to start flowing. (I swear, I don’t just leave those comments there to pad my daily wordcount. :-))

Patrice Sarath · October 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

That’s brilliant. You are using the infernal editor to goad your writing, instead of thwarting it. That’s the way to do it.

Bethe Ann Bugbee · October 8, 2013 at 7:31 am


“I know you’re busy right now driving the car (or cooking dinner, or at work, or in the shower, or….) but isn’t this just the perfect idea for that next bit of the WIP? It would solve all the problems we were having with X. And what about this for later on in the story….”

Then – when actually sitting down to write…
“Forget all that stuff we were discussing earlier. I don’t want to think about that now. Right now I want to tell you about this new idea, for another story….” (And even though it sounds simple, something that could be done nicely as a short story – nope. It’s really much more complicated, another novel idea in disguise.)

Patrice Sarath · October 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

Oh yes, the bait-and-switch.

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