What Inspires Your Muse?

I spent all day yesterday carefully crafting a post. After a few hours of intentional word choice, I had a pretty good piece … a hook at the beginning, compelling words, well written, downright insightful at times. The problem was, it sounded stuffy and pretentious, even to me. As most of you know, I’m a vocalist, and I started remembering all the classically trained singers that were that way. You know, warm and genuine off stage, but in the limelight, they became phony, affected, perfection in singing but emotionally distant. I never wanted to be that type of singer, why on earth would I want to be that kind of writer? I’ll admit I kept the piece (you know, just in case I needed to impress someone), but now I’m back to being me.

Somewhere in the recesses of my pre-menopausal mind, I remembered reading something similar, and so I went to a shelf I hadn’t visited for a while. I finally came across an incredible book by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall entitled Finding Your Writer’s Voice. The singing references throughout spoke to me, but more than that, this was the book that inspired me to try my hand at creating with words. My copy is tattered, riddled with highlighter and post-it notes, but I found what I was looking for in chapter sixteen. Dorothy tells of a time when she was enthralled with Donald Barthelme’s work. She dreamt of writing like him, creating original prose crafted carefully by his influence. When her publisher rejected it, the explanation was as follows: “… you have effaced so much of yourself and hidden away your passions so carefully, there is nothing left of yourself … .” Two chapters later, I realized that I was still standing in front of the bookshelf. I found the nearest chair and started at the beginning.

Finding Your Writer’s Voice is at the top of my favorite instructional books. I love the insightful thoughts of Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Walls. Their writing techniques help my creativity flow.

What about you? What stirs your creative muse?

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2 Comments on “What Inspires Your Muse?”

  1. My muse is stirred by so many things … does that mean my muse is easy? I assure you, he is anything but easy. I just find inspiration in so many different things. But when it comes to butt-in-the-chair time, the thing that gets my creative motor running and allows me to connect with my characters like none other is music.

    Most of the time the music is something I know well, but not always and varies by the book I am working on. I listen to a wide variety of styles.

    1. I wish I could listen to music when I write, but I can’t. It totally throws off my creative game. My brain listens to the layers of sounds instead of the whole, and so my concentration ends up at war between the two. I need it silent as a tomb in order to write. I even have shotgun earplugs in my laptop bag so that when I go to Panera to write I can block out music blaring from the speakers overhead. #truestory #blightofmycreativesoul

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