There Is No Muse


I'm writing this blog post at the Apple Store. They told me to wait for about ten minutes until my phone would be ready from its repair, so I pulled out my laptop to work. I just spent the afternoon working on a short story while I got lunch, and also working on it while killing time during this phone repair, over in the Barnes & Noble nearby. Last night I was working on another short story while I had a TV show on I wanted to watch, writing during commercials. A few years back I wrote a novel during lunch breaks, out in my car with my laptop. I'll often take some vacation time to really focus a good, solid few days on writing, but mostly, that hour or so after work, snuck between when I leave the office to when I start relaxing for the evening, is a great time to write. Or right before bed - I'm most creative from, like, 9:00-11:00pm.

The point is, there is no Muse to wait on. And "waiting on the Muse" is the most dangerous lie a writer can believe.

It was fun back in the early days of writing, yeah? I remember being in high school writing with a quill pen dipped in teal ink, writing on paper illuminated by candles (I was in a Shakespeare phase, 'k?). We would all wait for the inspiration to strike, to feel the presence of something artsy to impel us to create. Then you get older, with a full time job, relationships, responsibilities, and realize you'll either be an occasional hobby writer when the mood strikes - or you have to figure out something different.

If you want to be a serious writer, you need to learn how to turn it on and turn it off. There's no room left for hours of waiting, making the right cup of coffee, having the right light, the right font, etc. You need to turn it on, and turn it off. That way, you can write at an Apple Store (my phone should be out in a few minutes), or the few minutes before work, or during lunch breaks, and you'll see the page count accumulate. Because the reality is that writing is a job, and most likely a non-paying side hustle for you for the time being. So you need to fit it around the other big things until you can make it your only thing. Then, maybe, you'll have the space to wait for your Muse. But I'm sure that if you become a real, full-time, professional writer, you already killed the Muse years ago.

For more tips on how to turn it on and turn it off, we'll have another post called "Priming the Pump" out soon.