Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Truth About Inspiration And Your Muse

Waiting for inspiration is the mark of the amateur.
Why are you waiting?
You should be wanting to write.
To not write should be painful. Or at least uncomfortable.
If you're waiting to be inspired just so you can work on your current story or novel, you're doing it wrong.
Start writing. Even if it's just a sentence. Or even a word.
Just the act of doing it will get the ball rolling, get those mental gears moving.
It's all about momentum.
And don't just take my word for it.
Try it.
Now.
"But I'm waiting for ideas to come to me," you say.
Oh, yeah--you'll hear people say "I need to find my Muse" or "I'm waiting for my Muse."
You're probably saying the same thing to yourself.
Hell, I sometimes do it.
But them I remember the truth: the Muse is always there.
It never really goes away.
What makes the difference is how much you've fed your Muse.
Wait. I'm giving it to you straight. No mumbo jumbo here. No esoteric bullcrap.
What we call "the Muse" is just that storehouse of information in your brain. All that "useless" trivia you picked up over the years. All the stuff you've read and seen and heard and experienced.
That's your Muse.
Nothing mystical about it.
You don't need to wait or find your Muse.
It's already there.
Dig into all the stuff that you've stored in your head and you'll find 90% of what you need.
In On Writing, King talks about the "inspiration" for the novel Carrie.
Two unrelated instances that were already in his head (in his information storehouse, in his Muse) came together to form the premise that turned into the novel.
Go dig out your copy (or go get the book) and read it. (In my edition, it's Chapter/Part 28, starting on page 65.)
And speaking of reading from books, here's another one.
In Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury has a great essay on how to feed your muse.
Go dig out your copy (or go get the book) and read that essay.
You'll see what I'm talking about.
And you'll also see why in last week's post, I talked about reading a lot of stuff.
(P.S. If you click those links above, you'll be able to get the books through Amazon. Or head over to your nearest bookstore to grab a copy.)

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