Kidnapping the Muse

by The Beardly Writer

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They say inspiration can’t be taught.

But that isn’t to say it can’t be learned.

You never know when true inspiration will strike. It can come in any form. Sometimes it’s the way a person walks or the way a woman’s hair falls in front of her face. Sometimes life throws curve balls. Swing and a miss, our game and balance are gone.

When inspiration reveals itself we must be ready. As writers, we carry pen and paper, a tablet, anything to jot down notes or scribble madly to nudge the floodgates open a little wider. Inspiration can be fickle, fleeting. We have to be awake and attentive. Ready at a moment’s notice.

But is there another way?

Yes. And no.

You can’t bypass the waiting. The watching. The long stretches of nothing. The missed opportunities. These come with the territory. Part of being a writer. And being human.

But, given enough time and practice, and one other ingredient, it can all give way to a second approach.

What’s the missing ingredient?

Honor.

When you honor something, you respect it. You show respect by paying attention to it. You allow it to lead you. You show deference. You study it in order to be more like it. You defend it. Value it. Treasure it, even.

If you honor inspiration, and as an artist you absolutely should, you become better and better acquainted with it. You know its habits. You know where it’s likely to appear. Honor it and it will allow you into its inner circle. Instead of waiting for inspiration to find you, you will know where to find inspiration.

Pay attention to when and where inspiration strikes. Don’t just write down the new inspired idea, write down the contextual details. Where are you? Who are you with? What time of day or night? What are you wearing? Smelling? Hearing? Feeling? Learn as much as you can about your muse. Everyone’s muse is different. What is yours like? Honor it by paying attention to it. Acknowledging it. I promise, if you do this, your muse will appear more often.

I can’t teach you about your muse. No one can. But you can learn about your muse by honoring it. Honor your desire to write by writing. Honor your muse by being aware of what inspires you. Surround yourself with that inspiration and watch your writing grow.

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