How to Capture the Elusive Muse

I was thinking about a time I felt called to do something creative, but I ignored it. My muse came and whispered in my ear, and I refused to listen.

I had stories to tell, but I let them fade from memory. I didn’t nurture them. I put them in a notebook in flashes of inspiration then damned them to solitude.

My stories called me from those pages, begging to have their stories told.

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I declined. I’m not the person for the job, I said. I can’t give you the love you need. Find someone else.

I didn’t write novels. I don’t have one in me, I said. I write a couple of pages and then run out of steam. I can’t do what you ask of me. I want to. I want to, more than anything. But I don’t know the characters, I don’t know the setting. I can’t come up with those things. I’m out of ideas. I can only get inspired, then it flickers out, leaving me in darkness. I can’t do what you’re asking of me, I said.

I’m just not a writer.

I didn’t believe in myself. I just made excuses. I’m a dreamer. I’m not good at much else. The ideas were buried in notebooks, then forgotten. The rest of the notebooks stayed empty. No new ideas came. I didn’t nurture my muse. I just relied on her that she would turn up when I needed her most.

My muse stopped coming.

We didn’t understand each other. We weren’t speaking the same language.

I didn’t know that while she would bring me initial inspirations, I didn’t realize it was my job to take those ideas by the hand and guide them into the big wide world.

I was too scared to step out that door, but what I failed to realize that I was no longer alone in that journey. I had an idea with me, and together we could do great things.

We would go out together and find more ideas. But, to do that I had to wade out onto the blank page. I had to trust that if I was armed with a pen and my idea that words would come.

As I found this out, I became more daring. Sometimes my muse wouldn’t come. She deemed me rather self-sufficient. I was an idea machine no longer in need of inspiration. Instead, she took up residence in my pen where I could call on her at any time.

I didn’t ask her to bring ideas to me. I wrote.

I came to the page every day without ideas and trusted that I would invent new ideas with my muse.

That together we would go the distance and make epic stories. I didn’t worry that I would run out of ideas. Well, not usually.

Instead, my head overflowed with more than I could write in the next few years, and at this rate, I would end up with enough ideas for a lifetime. I was no longer a vessel to carry ideas. I was an inventor.

Get out there with your ideas. Nurture them.

Write even if you write about nothing. It’s never nothing, and often leads somewhere. But you still have to write something. Then, they will come to you in all sorts of expected ways when you open yourself to the possibilities.

What are some ways in your life where you’ve had unexpected spurts of creative energy when you maybe thought all was lost? Discuss in the comments!

8 thoughts on “How to Capture the Elusive Muse

  1. Being a dreamer isn’t an excuse, it’s a qualification. 🙂 I find my muse only comes along when I write. A bit of a catch-22. Thanks for sharing your experiences and learning journey. And you are right, it’s not possible to write nothing. I file away every piece of free writing I do sometimes dig them out and turn them into stories months later. Good luck, Amy. Keep writing.

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  2. I went through this phase for a long, long time. I’m still trying to make up with my muse, but she wants to take it slow for now. Wish me luck. 😉

    I don’t think you need to be told but you are a wonderful writer!

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  3. Great advice! The thing I have learned is to never let a story idea disappear. I try to take notes on every idea, even if I don’t plan to actually write it anytime soon. When I run into a rough patch, where new ideas are not forthcoming, I look at my notes and try to write something from a previous inspiration. Sometimes that gestation period even helps the end result!

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    1. Yes, I think doing that is really essential. I rarely get an idea that’s a full fledged story out of the gates… it’s just pieces that could be something. I recently pulled something out of my notes that I wrote three years ago and used it for a new story. If you don’t use the idea, someone else will get the idea instead!

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