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Friday, April 14, 2017

Finding (or Losing) Your Muse.....

By Anna Jeffrey

In Greek mythology, there were 9 muses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnymosyne. Wikipedia defines them as "the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in ancient cultures. They were later adopted by the Romans as a part of their pantheon."

In modern usage, the word has several definitions. As a noun, it can be a spirit or source that inspires an artist, i.e., an influential teacher, a mentor. 

 As a verb, it can be defined as someone having deep thoughts about life. To ponder or consider, to think over or about, to chew on, etc., etc. Example: "He mused on the problems he faced." Or "I mused on Mary's problems." Or "I think I've seen her before," Mary mused.

Muse is often associated with writers. If you happen to be one, your muse can be a nightmare, the thing that deserts you when you need and want it most, the fickle goddess that can bring on writer's block. 

That's where I've been for the past few months--wading through the flypaper of writer's block. I didn't recognize it at first. In the 20 years I've been writing, I've never been stumped for a plot or dialogue  or character development. I've always known, basically, where I was headed. 

Often, writers are  solitary, sensitive creatures . The slings and arrows of life can knock their muse into the middle of next week and for it to come crawling back can sometimes take months. Sometimes that's personal; sometimes it's something else.

The slings and arrows of late are the writing and publishing business itself. I've had a hard time coming to terms with the new norm. I'm still having a hard time with it. Being the maverick that I am, I don't want to be owned by the company store. However, my desire to at least finish the two books I've started is strong. I've got too much invested in writing to abandon it. I've walked away from 2 careers to do it. Finally, and hopefully, after being bitch-slapped flat, my muse is picking herself up off the floor and slowly tip-toeing back. I don't have hardheaded Irishmen genes coursing through my blood for nothing.


  1. Anna, I sympathize. You also have a lot going on in your life to distract your muse. ☺ I'm glad you're going to finish the books you've begun. I especially hope you'll get to the Dixie Cash one which sounds hilarious.

  2. Anna, Don't let what others say about the writing/publishing business get to you. Just write the book you want to write and make it the best. If I tried to write what everyone says is the next big thing I'd never have an idea. As it is, I just let whatever excites me guide my writing. Hang in there!

  3. Sometimes the muse needs a rest. I've taken some time away from pounding the keys to organize myself and my work area. Don't fight the creative process--just relax, read, and do other things to coax it back. And we can't fight the publishing industry either, so we have to learn to not let it get to us, like Paty indicated. Good luck.

  4. Sometimes you just have to slow down and maybe even take a step back. Whatever it takes to preserve your love of writing. If only we could truly separate the writing from the publishing and the marketing, we'd all be so much happier. Hang in there, and make the decision based on what you need.

  5. Preach! I'm currently fighting to reclaim my muse. She has taken a bit of a beating during the last year while I dealt with the failing health and eventual deaths of both of my elderly parents.

    I'm sure there are those who can write through the hard times. I couldn't. However, I still have stories to tell so my muse and I are slowly getting reacquainted and remembering how to do what we love.

    Best wishes to you on this rocky journey!

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  7. Seems like my muse has been pushed to the background, and angry at being neglected, has now refused to play. I can't blame her for being ticked off. I'm hoping we can reconnect if I do some stream-of-consciousness writing. Surely she'll have something to contribute to that hot mess!


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