Artist's Inspiration

Make a Date with the Muse: Writing as Commitment

make a date with the muse

Sometimes our relationship with the muse feels like a situationship.  Our connection has many of the characteristics of a serious romance, but none of the commitment.  Like a couple, we’ll listen attentively to each other’s problems, we’ll text each other “how’s your day?”, we’ll kiss, we’ll have sex.  We might even go to Saturday brunch and farmer’s markets.  But because we haven’t officially labeled ourselves boyfriend/girlfriend, we rarely see our muse on a regular basis.

When we do commune with inspiration, our attraction is often intoxicating, immediate.  At times like these, writing is blissful, like magic.  Putting pen to page feels less like laborious effort and more like dictation.  The muse seems to whisper directly into our ears; our words flow with ease and effortlessly arrange themselves into sentences.

But after a steamy night together, sometimes our muse forgets to call us back.

Without our lover, the blank page becomes a nightmarish abyss.  Instead of twirl and dance in an extravaganza of choreographed sentences, our words stumble and trip.  We write page after page only to crumble them up and toss them in the trash.

We feel confused, hurt, betrayed.  How can our muse shower us with affection and love us so tenderly and then disappear (without explanation) for weeks on end?

As is usually the case in a break up, we believe the other person is to blame.  Our muse ghosted us because he was a deceitful womanizing moron.  “He’s probably bestowing inspiration on someone else,” we sniffle between sobs.

But is it possible that the disintegration of our romance is at least partially our fault?

Maybe our muse isn’t a commitment-phobic bachelor— maybe we are.

In many ways, we regard our relationship with our muse like a fling— not a serious commitment.  We don’t devote time to writing everyday or schedule creativity like our other obligations; we only write when we “feel” like it.  Like the muse, we’re mercurial: one day we’re in love with writing— the act of stringing words together, the challenge of arranging our thoughts in the most comprehensible, logical order; the next, we loathe the torture of trying to express ourselves and curse the day we ever put pen to paper.

We don’t consistently treat our muse like a boyfriend— we treat him like a booty call and only text message on weekends.

But if we want to see our muse regularly, we have to show up at our desks day after daynot just text randomly when we’re drunk at 3 am.  Ideally, writing is both a love affair and a marriage.  Our love for our muse should be reckless and passionate, but also staunch and steadfast.  So make dates with your muse, be punctual and don’t cancel last minute.  Demonstrate your dedication.  Make a vow to commit to a daily writing practiceTreat him like someone you love and pamper him with presents, whether that be his favorite Moleskin notebooks or a Roget’s Thesaurus.  If you do, your muse will be a devoted husband instead of a faithless lady’s man.

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