Sunday, August 7, 2011

Muse Crafting for Writers: How do you define your muse?

When writers speak of their muse, they often mean different things. The term ‘muse’ has several common definitions in the context of the creative arts. The most traditional meaning of ‘muse’ refers to the mythical goddesses of ancient Greece who inspire the arts and sciences in mortals. Another common use of the term is in reference to a person, place, or thing that inspires an artist’s creativity.

“You are my muse,” is a rather infamous and clichéd pick up line that uses the latter definition of muse.

My Definition of 'Muse'
When I speak of a muse on this blog, I am referring to the internal force of creativity that exists in all people and that should be cultivated by writers to improve their craft. It is the creativity that we use in daydreaming, envisioning, and crafting the worlds, characters, and plots for our writing. It is the internal voice of our self and the internal and external voices of our characters. It is our internal storyteller: the narrator of our lives and of the lives of our characters.

A muse is both the writer’s gift and the writer’s long-time companion. A writer with a well-developed muse is never alone with their thoughts and never faces the horror of a blank page in quiet solitude.

You may have already learned how to deal with your muse, you may not even think that you have a muse, but the internal creative force I am calling ‘the muse’ can be developed, shaped, trained, and creatively controlled by anyone. And a better relationship with your muse will make for better writing.

My Experience with Muses
I’ve spent the majority of my life in the arts and entertainment, and I realized very quickly that creative people are not always the easiest people to live with and to love because of the distraction of their creative force (their muse). I have a muse and my muse is as natural a part of me as are my limbs. I will admit that it hasn’t always been easy living with my muse. And it hasn’t always been easy for other people to live with me because of my muse. Over the years I have learned how to interact with this part of myself, nurture it, and control it, and I will share some tips with you on how to do the same with your muse.

The Muse Crafting for Writers Series
In future posts, I’ll cover techniques like creative and interactive dreaming and daydreaming, envisioning from the ground up (rethinking the process), invoking the muse, and other techniques and exercises that I hope will aid you with your creativity and your writing. And if you have some muse management tips to share, feel free to do so.

Different Points of View
If you believe that your muse is an external force, that’s fine because the tips and techniques that I will share will help you to establish better communication with your muse whether or not you agree with me that it is an internal force.

And if you think all of this talk about muses is crazy, try some of the exercises anyway; they might just make you realize that a muse by any other name is still a muse to me and that communicating with your muse is a form of creative visualization that I’m willing to teach you without all the psychobabble, coaches, and motivational speakers that usually come with it.

Do you have a muse? How do you define your muse?

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