Tuesday Tickle: Renaming Today “Muse-day”

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

                ~Stephen King, On Writing

Waiting on inspiration? Really? That writer must not need the money or realize how important the process is. It’s just as important as the product when it comes to writing. Lots of us know we have a mysterious “writing muscle”, and true, it needs a kick in the thing we use to hold chairs down with but the process doesn’t require inspiration to be put into gear. The process requires perspiration. And since the advent of the psychological term “writer’s block”, the invention of a muse is popular when it comes to needing the proper impulse to write. What is a muse anyway? Is it the inner critic? Is it a secret font of ideas stored in our subconscious we just have to tap into for stuff to write about? Is it some guy sitting in the basement smoking cigars admiring his bowling trophies (more Stephen King) while we struggle for the stream of words that make us writers? Muse, inspiration, whatever, are all just another word for courage. Are we brave enough to be the writers we dream we are?

What the muse or the inspiration may actually be is the time it takes for our brains to sort through the muck of stimulations we absorb constantly and bring something cohesive to the surface. That’s why English professors have a far off look in their eyes all the time. It explains why novelists spill things. Brain work for writers is the equivalent of an intense cardio workout for not the recommended thirty-minute session with a cool-down afterward, but a continual mind boggling distraction until we figure it out. Then we have something to write. The muse is our minds organizing the clutter of the process until the words fall into place and we can fill the pages with them. There is no inspiration. There is only the process of thinking, connecting, writing drivel, and more thinking until it becomes the answer to the question we have asked with our stories. The muse is the imaginary delivery girl dressed or undressed in the costume of your own mental doing. She (or he or it) gives us somewhere to place the blame while we’re waiting on the brain to tidy up the mess of stuff we’ve fed it. But it’s the writing process that enables the brain to have what it needs. So keep the process going: journal, write ugly grammar, blog, and read, read, read until the muse is inspired enough to bless you with the story.


“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:

‘Fool!’ said my Muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write.’”

                ~Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

                Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet I

This inspiration-muse thing has been going on for quite a while. But notice the Muse says, “…and write.” She doesn’t say, “Take a seat, honey, and when I get this figured out for you, I’ll call.”

Will you take the process challenge this “Muse-day” and give her something, anything to work with?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

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Be well, write well