Jackson Pearce (watchmebe) wrote,
Jackson Pearce
watchmebe

On Muses

The fantastic Carrie Ryan asked about muses today on twitter. And I started to respond, but realized I am completely incapable of summarizing my thoughts on the matter in 140 characters. So I'll talk about it here!

Some authors credit a muse for their creativity-- not a flesh and blood person, but a sort of ethereal or spiritual entity that inspires them.

And to be very very short and sweet about it: I hate the idea of a muse.

And I don't say that to insult those who credit a muse-- but the entire concept really bugs me. I feel like saying there's a muse behind what goes on in your head means that there is always an outside source responsible for your creativity and inspiration. I think that can be very discouraging for some people-- if they aren't inspired, does that mean they don't have a muse? That they'll never be able to write even if they want to? That the lack of an external thinker/inspirer means they're incapable until they find their muse? That you can't write until the muse says you can, even if you want to? That you're not allowed to just scribble things down that might suck and see what happens?

I also don't like the idea that something beyond yourself is responsible for your writing. If an external force is responsible for your writing, what else is it responsible for? Can you blame your poor decisions on it? Can you blame a weak book on it? Can you blame darker things, like bigotry or immorality on this external force controlling your thoughts?

Plus, the truth is-- sometimes I'm not inspired, but still have to work on a book. Sometimes I want to take a bath and eat cookies but I have a deadline. Sometimes I have to remind myself that writing is what I love, and force myself to sit down and work. Sometimes writing is mostly perspiration, without a lot of inspiration. I feel like the idea of a muse gives people an excuse to sit around and WAIT for creativity/inspiration to strike them instead of tapping into their anger or love or passion or confusion or hurt or boredom and using THAT to jumpstart their writing.

I know some people with a muse feel like the muse is an extension of themselves-- kind of like they're just personifying one aspect of their personality/being. That doesn't bother me quite as much, but I suppose where I get annoyed is when the line is blurred between Muse-is-just-another-name-for-my-creative-self and Muse-implying-or-unspecifying-if-it-is-an-external-force.

What do you think about the muse concept?
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  • My Top Nonfiction Books of 2015

    I decided that in 2015, I was going to read more. This might seem a little bizarre, since most people assume that since I write books I also read…

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