Elizabeth Maxim

What is a Muse?

Personally, I think Muse is an overused buzzword, albeit one that serves a purpose.  

It’s a reference point, a common denominator when trying to explain the creative process to someone who achieves their ends via a different path.

I ended up adopting the term for use in blogs since many people have heard the term in association with creatives who often credit [the Muse] as the source responsible for the finished work.  

Which is misleading in my opinion.

What people refer to as an outside energetic/creative/spiritual source is – at least in my experience – a partner.

I sometimes wonder if the term came about as a result of the inability to explain the creative process since it differs with each creative.  

If you ask a writer/singer/musician/dancer/painter/etc how they do what they do, how they find their inspiration, chances are they will have a variety of different and unique answers.

Provided they can articulate it at all.

Muse Defined.  For me, the Muse is not an individual but many resources I think of in energetic terms.

The Spirit Moves.  Some of these resources are ghosts, who have been generous with information, inspiration, and/or their company while I spend hours upon hours putting story to media format, be it notebook, bond paper, 3 ½ or 5 ¼ inch disk, hard or cloud drive.

Not a Ghost.  I also have a resource – for lack of a better word – that has been in my life for decades.  I haven’t always recognized this energy as a Muse though this energy was always helpful.  In the beginning it was just a – presence – I was aware of.  

My awareness of this helpful energy began the summer before second grade.

It never had a name.

I lost touch with this energy for several years after which it reappeared then disappeared then reappeared. Once I turned my attention to writing as a career?  The energy returned and has remained ever since.

Thus, the Muse.

By Any Other Name.  I’ve had a number of names for this helpful energy but only because I needed to refer to it in conversation.  It wasn’t until I referenced it in a blog that I realized I had to use something meaningful; something people could relate to.

The Muse.

In truth, this energy is not the Muse in its entirety.  As I’ve said, my Muse is a group of helpful energies.

I’ve learned that the more I work with this energy the more I feel I come into my self as a writer.

I do not get all my ideas from the Muse. Much of my work is organic – stuff I was inspired to write for a variety of reasons.

To Be or Not.  I never let the Muse forget that I am the one in charge.

The ghosts are all creatives and were successful in life.  However, it isn’t an apples to apples comparison in terms of careers so while I’m happy to listen to their advice, I often need to point out that what they did or are suggesting won’t work for me, for a variety of reasons.

However, I have put many of their suggestions, which include grammatical recommendations, to use.

The non-ghost resource has been more interesting in this regard as it is, at times, like trying to shove the immovable object.  At the end of the day, however, it’s a partnership.  If I don’t like the direction I’m being pushed?  I refuse to write.

I make a point of explaining why the idea in its current form is unworkable – for me.  

Negotiation.  I have yet to flat out refuse a suggestion from the Muse.  I have, however, reworked plots, characters, and other variables I believed necessary for success.

As I said, it’s a partnership.