Professional Writer ♦ Amateur Swashbuckler

Dating The Muse

“I believe that inspiration will always try its best to work with you—but if you are not ready or available, it may indeed choose to leave you and to search for a different human collaborator.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

My Muse has terrible timing. She likes to talk whenever I’m busy doing other things, when I’m trying to sleep or drive. It’s in those moments, where I’m occupied or tired, she likes to share her thoughts and insights. It’s tempting to ignore her, and sometimes I do, but more often I choose to find a way to respond to the insight, to capture it for use at a more convenient time.

If I take the time to listen to her when it’s not timely, I’ve found she’s more inclined to speak when I’m actively trying to act upon those ideas later on too. Like in any good relationship, if you don’t take the time to make the other party feel heard and understood, you’re in danger of ruining the connection you have with them.

Photo by Crew on Unsplash

My parents credit the length and quality of their marriage to the emphasis they have always made to set aside time to spend together. Regular date nights and alone time without the distractions of work or their adoring children. Even with friends, the ones I am closest with are the ones I make time for and prioritize in my life. The muse expects the same treatment if she’s going to collaborate on my work.

Expecting inspiration without making the time and space in your life to use it is a waste. Like with any habit, the more you take the action, the stronger it becomes. I become a better writer when I work regardless of insight, if I make the time to date my muse even if she doesn’t have anything new to offer me today. When she speaks, when the insight arrives, I don’t just ignore and forget about it but make the time to use it as effectively as I can.

Foster a relationship with creativity. Show the Muse you care about her, make the time to let her be heard and make the time to use what she’s shown you. Be generous with your attention to the Muse and she will be generous in return.

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