Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Waiting for the Muse


Today’s plan: writing marathon on one of my works in process.

Today’s reality: a start-stop stumbling out of the gate with lots of distractions along the way.

As writers, we love that creative energy that infuses us and drives us to write at a sometimes furious pace so we can ride that wave of energy as long as possible. The very act of writing seems to prolong the surge of inspiration. We love it, live for it, long for it.

The problem is when that creative energy, that muse, isn’t in the room. When you sit down at the computer and stare at the blank screen and wait for it, like a surfer paddling out to wait for the next big wave. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all done it. Butt in chair. Computer charged and ready. Fingers poised over the keyboard.

And nothing happens. No words, no images, no internal mind chatter. Just nothing.

And some writers will take that as a sign that the muse isn’t ready to share whatever concoction it’s working on. So they sigh and go on with other tasks they’d put on hold while they catered to their muse. Except the muse is AWOL, so there’s no excuse to postpone doing the laundry.

So, do you wait for the muse to come knocking at the door with coffee and pen in hand? Some writers do. I used to, back when I was a fledgling author in elementary school. But since then I’ve matured both as a person and a writer. I’ve heard the mantra: write every day. No matter what, just write.

Don’t wait for inspiration to jump-start your writing. Guess what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that the muse is lured by the act of writing, like the rats lured by the Pied Piper. It doesn’t matter what you write, but after ten minutes, the muse will be peeking through the window, empty coffee cup in hand, asking to be let in.


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

6 thoughts on “Waiting for the Muse

  1. I just wanted to say, as a writer myself, I too have found the act of sitting down and getting my fingers on the keyboard (musically or in the literary sense!) or putting pen to paper as I still love to do, brings the Muse running in most instances. I can get distracted as all of us occasionally do, but in learning to honor and respect my Muse (who is FEMALE, by the way), she stays close, always ready to unlock the doors to my imagination.


    • I agree. It seems the more I am consistent in my writing, that is, writing every day or nearly so, the closer my muse sticks to home. When I do run into times when he (my muse is male, at least for now 🙂 seems to have wandered far out of earshot, I write a short scene about conversing with him, which brings him back around.


  2. He does. It changes depending on how frustrated I am with him. If I’m on a roll and he keeps my coffee mug full and chocolate stocked, it’s any of 3 or 4 names depending on which WIP I’m working on. When I’m frustrated, it’s “Damn it”


  3. I find your posts to be very inspirational to me…..Thank you! And thank you for following my blog!


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