Where Your Muse Hides

Hello SErs! Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had a good holiday season. Today being the first post of 2019, I thought it might be nice to kick things off by looking at creativity … more specifically, where it comes from. What are we talking about when we mention having a muse?

Personally, I’ve never experienced talking to or with my muse. It doesn’t manifest that way. I found my creative flow after learning to meditate, and it was in that quiet mind that I discovered what could be called my silent muse.

Below is a great video about the split brain and its implications for the muse within. Please do take a look, especially the bit that talks about the brain telling itself stories! The video lasts for just under five minutes. Youtube has lots of great videos on the brain and personality.

In summary, we have two sides of the brain. The left is the logical, loud side that talks and talks. The right is the creative silent side. Our speech centre lives in the left side of the brain, hence its dominance in our everyday thinking mind, the one we are most aware of. So, how do we get in touch with our muse?

The trick is in getting your left brain to communicate with your right brain. You have to know what questions to ask your muse, and then the left, logical brain has to shut up and listen. It takes confidence to listen to your creative, non-logical side. Though it’s always there, we have a tendency to ignore it and simply not hear it. As you can see from my experience, the ability to sit quietly and ‘Muse’ plays a key part in tapping into the creative side.

Find a quiet place where you can sit and let yourself imagine. Daydream. As a young child, I spent my life daydreaming. So, I suppose, in one way, I’ve been listening to my muse for most of my life. Unfortunately, as a young adult, I let a lack of self-confidence get in the way and stopped trusting my muse. So, of course, I lost touch with that flow. It took a lot of years and lots of meditation to reconnect.

  • Die-hard planners beware: Sticking too rigidly to your logical story plan is likely to kill your muse. So do allow room for diversion and digression as your writing progresses. That’s your muse trying to get your attention. And your muse is where your best creative ideas live.
  • Die-hard pantsers beware: if you don’t have any idea where you’re going, you’re likely to end up nowhere.

Can you see how a middle way is what is needed here? We need both planning and pantsing to write effectively. We have to use both left and right brain. Mutual exclusivity of one or the other leaves something huge missing.

So, imagine.

Think about a place or setting … fill it with sensory input … Romantic? Scary? Suspenseful? Supernatural?

Think about a person in that place. In your mind, become that person. Follow them around. What might they think and feel?

From time to time, ask your muse, ‘What comes next?’ … ‘What happens?’

Here is where free-flow (stream of consciousness) writing can come in useful, extremely so. Just sit and type out whatever imaginings you come up with. Don’t allow the left brain to sensor. That comes in handy later, when you revise.

While you write, keep it right

Let the creative brain be in charge.

Recently, while making a list of objects that interest me … a right-brain creative exercise … I wrote down ‘fountain pen‘. My left brain (logical as ever) asked what on earth was interesting about a fountain pen. Determined not to let my judgemental side win the day, it stayed on the list. Later, while generating story ideas using my list, the fountain pen leapt from the page at me. So, obviously, my right brain liked it for some reason. So, I asked, ‘What’s so interesting about a fountain pen?’ The answer came immediately as a series of vivid images …

It only works when filled with blood. Whatever you write with it comes true.

Ooh, now I liked that! From there, I had a character [a bullied girl] and a setting [boarding school]. Fantastic short story set-up πŸ™‚

While some people find it helpful for their muse to be a person who talks to them, this doesn’t work for me, not yet. But who knows what the future may bring? For now, I have to listen hard so that I can hear my silent muse. I do have an onboard critic, which is sometimes helpful and sometimes not. If that is the case, then it follows that I also have an onboard muse.

What about you? Are you in touch with your muse? If so, is it personified? What creative-flow exercises work best for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Harmony Kent

43 thoughts on “Where Your Muse Hides

  1. Thanks Harmony for this great post!! Loved it! Yes, I have personified my muse. Here is my take on my muse – https://thereluctantpoetweb.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/in-love-with-a-muse-my-calliope/

    I find my creative work flow seems to be enhanced by sitting in the silence, in the dark either late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. I like finding a first line and then building on it to about 8 lines before writing it down. The other thing I find helpful is great quotes and photos and then approach them like a cinematographer and just write what my mind thinks it sees. Come explore my Archives!
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great blog. I’ve never had a muse I talk to but I go into what I call the zone. Then I’m in my own world. Meditation, exercising, and nature seem to offer ideas– along with the middle of the night. Quiet is key for me. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My character in Finding Katie had me up at 3 am most mornings until her story was told, lol. And she definitely had me pantsing. The zone is a good place to be. Happy New Year, Denise. And I’m so glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Outstanding post, Harmony! Nature is my muse–whether observing (meditating) in the natural world or interacting with and/or carefully observing the people around me. I’m generally a planner, but once I get writing, the pantster muse oftens steps in. πŸ™‚ Happy writing and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bette! Nature makes a wonderful muse. It sounds like most of us are a mix between pantsing and planning. Happy writing and New Year to you too πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooh, right brain, left brain. I love this kind of stuff!
    I’m with Joan on the plansting. I’m half plotter, half panster. There are times I feel totally abandoned by my muse and other times when he tosses multiple ideas my way. Usually they’re about characters.
    Once I finish my current WIP (due the end of this month), I’d love to try some writing prompts/exercises again. I think that’s an excellent way to connect with my muse.
    I really enjoyed this post, Harmony!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All things in moderation, right? I think finding balance is key. I’m pretty sure I’ve been leaning too far to the all-work-and-no-play side lately. Hoping to get more creative this year. (I tend to be more creative in short fiction than long, and I’d like to transfer that over to my longer works.)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, Harmony! You kicked this year off with a big bang!! I totally agree that daily meditation is the way to get silent and “listen” to what the right brain has to say. I have found that it is most wise and has never steered me wrong. πŸ™‚ I got the idea for the short story series I posted through my blog, “Jonah” directly from a guided meditation. It is so much fun to explore the unknown part of ourselves. Thank you for this!! Here’s to a fabulous new year of growth and amazing writing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post for many reasons. I wonder where music fits in? It’s quite mathematical, but it’s also creative. In fact the word is taken from muse. My own Muse tends to visit, stay a while, fill my head with ideas, then leave for long periods of time. That’s how I wind up with multiple storyboards, and books to write ahead of where I am at the time. As an aside, I love fountain pens, and use one exclusively at my day job.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love what you do with storyboards, Craig, and it sounds like a great process for storing them up for those arid periods. Another fountain pen lover! So many of us! So glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This was a great post to start off the new year! My muse always seems to take on the voice of a character. Interestingly enough, I found my muse in my most anxiety-filled time. After being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I began seeking a homeopathic treatment for it. My neurofeedback sessions gave me better control over my anxiety, but my muse became silent. So, now I’m trying to find a happy balance between the two. Recently, I had a dream filled with my characters again, so I believe I’m on the right track. Here’s to hoping that 2019 awakens my muse while leaving my anxious demon dormant. Lol! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I agree on the middle ground. I call myself a “planster.” I plan with a brief outline, but allow room for the characters and storyline to develop. Sometimes my characters surprise me and take on a different role/personality than I planned. I try to follow their lead. Good post to start the New Year, Harmony!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, yes … that right brain does need watching, lol. I’m experimenting with not editing at all while I write my current WIP, but I am light outlining 5 scenes ahead. That gives me both flexibility and something to follow, lol. I’ll let the left brain editor loose once the first draft is complete. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting Harmony. I think fountain pens are interesting too. A ballpoint pen just doesn’t have the same interest factor. My ideas for my Sir Choc books usually follow an idea for a new and interesting figurine. The writing prompts I have participated in as part of Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Literary Society inspired one Sir Choc book and my horror book Through the Nethergate (still in progress).

    Liked by 3 people

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