Do you have a muse?

Starbeast

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For me, inspiration arrives out-of-the-blue, anytime, any place. Sometimes something (music, a movie, a memory, etc.) will trigger an idea to form in my mind.


54306
 

LittleStar

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The old Norse have a concept called Odr (oh-th-r?) which doesn’t translate perfectly, but was essentially divine inspiration, that (as far as I know) drove all aspects of life. It was inspiration to recite poetry, make breakfast, bring in the harvest, everything. Which I think all need some form of inspiration to undertake. You have to have a reason for doing what you do, whether it be emotional or simply practical.

They also had the myth of the Mead of Poetry, which is odr in liquid form. It was something Odin personally doled out to great orators and poets and storytellers. It was a very controlled substance. But as with any myth there is more to the story. Frost giants stole it and Odin turned into an eagle to swallow it back, but while carrying it back some of it fell out, accidentally given to people not chosen specifically.
This myth was told purely to explain why there are some people who have the drive to do things, but just aren’t very good.
 

Starbeast

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@KGeo777 - Firstly, nice to meet you. Second, thanks for the chuckle.

Have you entered the 75 & 300 Word Challenges this month?




As for me, I've been taking care business. Busy, busy busy. I have a couple of ideas for stories for 75 & 300. But, I can't think of how to wrap up the endings.

To me, the muse is that creative part of the brain which we think up fantasies. I focus on what I need to create, based on theme and genre for the challenges. Imagine an idea like a vivid dream, where you're in control. Envision the dream as if it were reality. Be the director, and let your idea entertain you, then, write it.

This is why I can't look at anyone else's stories before I think of my own idea. I don't want to be influenced by someone else's work. However, I always check before I submit my own tale, that no one else has something similar to my own entry. That's only happened a few times. Heh, heh. You should have seen my face, a mix of stunned, shock, surprise, big eyes, a dramatic pause...........etc.

Writing is basically a hobby, do you enjoy doing it? If yes, do it. Author Ray Bradbury, gave me great advice. I was in awe of him, when I met him.
 

Phyrebrat

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I think a lot of what we call muse is conditioned behaviour. So to say ‘I can only write when ‘x’ ‘ is doing yourself a disservice.

Having said that, I agree that we might work better under certain conditions but that - sadly - has nothing to do with anything magical. When we start putting such things out there, it is self-limiting and can lead to bad writing habits.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy would negate those ‘restrictions’ and allow the author to realise they are the muse.

I work better when it’s silent or I have a white noise generator playing in my headphones but that’s to do with focus and concentration.

This reminds me of a part in On Writing where Stephen King days he used to think he had to be stoned or drunk to be creative, and how self-defeating that is.

I wonder how deeply psychological this all is in terms of self-doubt and the dreaded ‘imposter syndrome’. Is some of this a person’s need for a muse because they don’t trust in themselves?

pH
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I like Parson's definition of a muse=inspiration. Although there is a part of my subconscious mind that I call my secret collaborator, that sometimes knows things about the story long before I know it consciously. For instance, it will drop in something that I think is just set-dressing, and chapters later I will find out that it not only plays an important role in pivotal scene, it also binds different parts of the plot together. I could call that my muse at work.

As for inspiration, the ideas it provides almost never arrive when I am sitting at the computer. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, except when I am trying especially hard to write. When it comes I can sit down and write and the words may flow continuously for hours.

For other people a firm determination and sitting in their writing chair before a computer and a blank page in an open file may be the way to give inspiration a poke in the ribs and get it started, but for me that's about the best way I know to make it pack up its bags and take off for parts unknown. It likes a nearly blank mind, like when I am falling asleep or waking up, or doing something that needs little thought like taking a walk, washing dishes, etc.
 

IAmTR

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I actually get a lot of my best ideas at work. When I'm doing something that doesn't take a lot of brain power but keeps my feet moving and blood flowing I get my creative juices flowing.
 
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Oddly enough, I find that it's the plot holes in my own story that give me most of my everyday ideas. The problems in the story that need to be worked out. A contradiction or an unexplained thing leads to questions in my mind--and most basically, knotty questions are what stimulate ideas for me. Wondering what a character will do in a specific situation, what it all leads to, and all that. I think I write mainly to explore my world, frankly.

The trouble with that is, outlining the characters and plot allows me to explore the world all I want, in and of itself--and if I'm not careful, I get caught in the outlining so that by the time I'm done, I know so much about the story it hardly seems worthwhile to go ahead and write it! But if I don't outline, I forget the idea. Ideas are such strange things; after going to all the trouble of coming up with them, you still have to keep them, and keep them fresh--which I find just as hard.

Which all means I'm pretty sure that if there's any such thing as a muse, mine both delivers ideas and steals them away. Disturbing. Shouldn't the thought of an unpredictable outside entity messing with our thoughts worry us?

Unless the muses mess with our thoughts precisely so that we won't be worried.

Which actually sounds like an interesting premise for a story (if it hasn't already been done). A secret organization of muses flitting around controlling what goes into all the literature of the world. That's my punishment for daring to question the muses, I guess--they put another idea in my head.
 

The Judge

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Another time just edit it and say something like "Sorry, double post. Please remove." and when a mod happens along it will get whisked away without any fuss. (Well, we can live in hope as to the "any fuss " part . . . ;) )
 

Stephen Palmer

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I'm really glad this thread has been posted, because I think there's too much attention paid to writing techniques and not enough to imagination and the muse. I wrote a three part blog about this last year, inspired in part by the huge number of threads on Chrons relating to writing techniques...
Important though the nuts and bolts of writing are, without the muse, lurking in the subconscious, an author is nothing. You have to have something inside you, consciously sensed or entirely concealed, which needs to come out via the vehicle of writing. Some people (like me) have a hyperactive muse, others don't.
In my opinion, a muse is 100% essential for an author.
 

The Bluestocking

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My muse starts chattering to me while I'm in the shower and all relaxed so my creative (and problem-solving) side comes to the fore.

She also helps me make interesting connections between ideas I get from conversations, people-watching, reading the news etc.

And she is aided and abetted by my characters who just won't shut up sometimes. They gang up on me...
 
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