My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Abusive Muse

A few days ago, I was reading a post on the Ink Stained Pawprints blog, "Friday Flash – Capturing the muse" ( ). She wrote a very short fiction piece about the interactions between a muse and a writer. While I normally don't necessarily believe in a "muse" as an entity (a muse can run away from you; creativity, however, is stuck within yourself), I was intrigued by this post.

Instead of admiring the muse as a person or spirit a writer can call upon at will, Shen (the blogger) sees it as something that controls you. It tortures you and acts as a dominatrix. She tears you down, overwhelms you, and feels no remorse. The muse is so abusive that it brings the writer to tears. Instead of being an angel of creativity, she is a a devil who enjoys hurting you with ideas.

This lends itself to the idea of the tortured writer. The poor soul who locks himself or herself in a room for days on end, struggling to come up with the perfect word, the perfect phrase, the perfect story. The writer who throws themselves so completely into their writing that one wrong step can send them over the edge into insanity. The writer who is always searching for the next big idea, the one that will shoot them into a league with the greatest writers of all time.

Why, though, does it have to be this way? Why do some writers intentionally torture themselves? I firmly believe that writing should be enjoyable. Even through the hard work, the editing, the criticisms, a writer should still be happy. Yes, it's difficult to succeed in today's publishing world. There is a lot of competition, a lot of emphasis on having the best idea and presenting it in the best way. However, writers still need to relax. Love what you are doing. Don't let the stereotypical abusive muse bring you down. In the end, you still control her.


  1. Yes, we still control the muse--figuratively speaking (or writing--as the case may be).

    I think your advice is sound. "...writers still need to relax. Love what you are doing. Don't let the stereotypical abusive muse bring you down..."

    I love to write, and when nothing comes, I might struggle a bit, then move on. I agree that the process doesn't have to be painful. Oy! Editing is painful--I know, you like to do it, and for that I am envious. :-)

    So, why do writers lock themselves away, and then endure solitary torture? Stephen King tells writers that it is a job. That they need to have the will to walk into their writing room and then close the door behind them to shut out distractions. I guess different things must work for different people?

    And, while I try to avoid pursuits that are torturous, I keep in mind that I have the benefit of writing merely for the love of writing. And that another job that involves test tubes, petri dishes, a cleanroom, and-- only occasionally, a written report, is what pays my bills.

    I am grateful for both: the pleasurable pursuit of writing, and another job to meet my obligations. I can't imagine how it must be to write to put food on the table and a roof over the head.

    Rebecca...are you going to do the A to Z challenge?

  2. I have a Muse. I really can't get away from her. She's my wife. I think having a Muse is a wonderful thing, but it shouldn't be something that you can't touch or incorporeal. Because mine is my wife I have someone to cheer me on, someone to inspire me, and someone to remind me that I'm awesome even when I get my rejections. A muse is a wonderful companion to your personal creativity.

    Oh and Rebecca, you post every day hon. Look up the A to Z challenge. I think you'll love it. ;D