In pursuit of my Muse


I like to write. There’s no chaos of voices to cut through to get my point across, the words jumble themselves up less when I fix them down on paper, and pinning them down, I’m often as surprised as anyone to learn what I think.

But one thing I’ve found about writing is that it doesn’t happen on its own. Mine is a unruly Muse, and she ain’t nobody’s bitch. Sometimes she just ups and leaves, sometimes for months at a time. The longer she’s gone, the harder it is to win her back.

Absinthe - the green fairy

Are you… who I’m looking for?

There are those that will tell you that writing is like a muscle: exercise it and it grows stronger, neglect it and it grows weak. While it’s my belief that the aphorism that burns half as bright is twice as annoying, there’s probably something in it. It’s certainly more likely to lead to some kind of meaningful production than absinthe, much as the Green Fairy may resemble the Muse under certain lighting.

So, how to work those creative pecs? One way, and something I’ve been doing for about four years now, is using writing prompts: short, thought-provoking starting points that get the words out on the page without much regard for polish. When done as part of a writer’s gathering, it can be fascinating to see how differently people can interpret the same idea, and it’s not uncommon to expand and polish promising ideas: there are examples of this here and here.

What I’m proposing now, however, is to post my prompts sans spit and polish, be they good, bad or ugly. I’d welcome any ideas or feedback – let me know if there’s a plot idea you think I could run with, an image that resonates, or a word you think I should never, ever use again. And when I have a writing six-pack, my Muse will never leave my side.


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