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Thread: Do you believe in muses?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Do you believe in muses?

    Do you guys believe in muses? I think I kind of do. I was dating this person, and the whole time we were dating, I was producing what I consider to be my best work. He is not a writer, and I didn't have him read my stuff. But almost every time we went out, I had a new story idea or would no how to proceed with a WIP. After we stopped dating, it felt like I had to push myself harder when it had been so easy before. He recently contacted me again, and I have been thinking about seeing him again. Is this wrong? Are there such things as muses?

  2. #2
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    i think being happy or content, ro for some people miserable, scared, desperate, angry, whatever, can potentially bring out your best work.

    i don't believe in muses though. there was a dance choreographer I saw an interview with in a magazine clipping at a studie, where he said "I don't believe in muses, or inspiration. The deadline is the inspiration." and to me, i'm inclined to side with him.


    that said I certainly wouldn't date someone for my writing.

    Edit: STILL wouldn't date, or even see/hang out with, someone for their "muse gifts." But I have been thinking, and I do see where some people, situations, etc. might inspire someone. I wouldn't depend on those, or seek them out, but I wouldn't hesitate to ride that wave, either.....
    Last edited by quicklime; 06-19-2013 at 02:41 AM.
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  3. #3
    Time to carve the turkey! Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    No. There are no such things as muses. What you are experiencing could be attributed to many things, many feelings. Some people find inspiration in tragic events, pain helps them focus and give a direction for their writing. Some, like you possibly, find inspiration in love, or security, or just a general feeling of well-being. It could be that having a relationship frees your mind of worry, allowing it to soar and you write more because of it.

    If it were me, I'd only see the person if I still had good feelings toward them. I wouldn't get together just so I can write. That seems like a bad choice: Like staying in a marriage just for the kids even though you're miserable.

    See f something else will trigger your writing response. Chocolate. A comfy chair. A special location like Starbucks or the library.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    Just to clarify it wasn't a bad relationship. It also wasn't that serious. However, for some reason, every time I came home from a date I wrote. It's never happened before or since. But I am thinking maybe I should be friends with this guy.

  5. #5
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    Why would anyone who engages in a creative endeavor like this want to attribute any flow of creativity to anything other than his/her own special brain. Grab credit for your own creativity and stop trying to find some external source. There may be external triggers, but it all comes from your wonderful brain. Own it.

    Some people get off on the muse thing because it is cool to romanticize this writing stuff, kind of like claiming that a writer has to be mentally off-center. For those people, cut the trying to make writing cool and make it productive instead. With your very own incredibly-creative intellect.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    ... movie-bio on Picasso.
    Said, "he used women for muses,
    until they were sapped dry,
    then he ditched them and went for another."
    Painted them, too, so there was that to support the "theory."
    He may have said as much himself during interviews.
    Been awhile since I watched the bio.
    Personally, I think that's a crummy way to treat people.
    But hey. He was Picasso. So who am I to judge!

  7. #7
    OUTCAST is out now!!!! Toothpaste's Avatar
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    There are certain people who bring out the best in us, make us want to be better people or make us think we're funnier than usual or whatever. But I don't like the idea of a muse because it can become a crutch. Just like any form of inspiration. It becomes an excuse why you aren't writing. So I think the key is to take those feelings such a person inspires in us and learn how to feel that creative without their help. Those feelings and thoughts don't appear out of a vacuum, they come from within us. They were always there.

  8. #8
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
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    I don't believe in a muse. But if this guy inspires you, by all means try to be friends with him and try to figure out what it is about him that inspires you to write.
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  9. #9
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    Correlation is not causation.

    Better to just get a writing schedule and stick to it. Then your inspiration will know where to find you. Which is somewhat paraphrased from Stephen King in his book On Writing.

    I also like the quote: "I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9 a.m." --Peter DeVries

    IMO, it's probably emotionally unhealthy to hang your sense of inspiration on someone else. It strikes me as almost codependent. But, in fairness, my opinion lacks credentials, so take it for what it's worth.

  10. #10
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    I had a couple of people who read my first novel chapter by chapter as I wrote it. They were really into it, used to nag me for more and I used to storyboard what would happen next with them. I felt I was writing it for them; they were muses for me.
    I really miss that interaction
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  11. #11
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I don't believe in them personally. Mainly what I see are people using their muse as a scapegoat for not writing...
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  12. #12
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I don't. Too risky if that wellspring fails. I would rather train myself to do my work.
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  13. #13
    Imagined half of it. Bookewyrme's Avatar
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    I believe in muses much the same way I believe in fairies or djin. Really, it's just a personification of the part of my brain that produces creativity, and something for me to swear at when I'm having a day where I can't brain. I definitely don't think it's a good idea to externalize that personification though. The muse is inside us, if we believe in them. And if we don't, well the creativity is still inside us. Externalizing it just means it can be taken away, and that's no good.

    But, hanging out with inspiring people is always a good idea for creative types. And if it helps you to think of "inspiring person" as analogous to "muse" that's fine. Just remember the creative energy and will to work still have to come from you.
    Good luck.
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  14. #14
    Seashell Seller Layla Nahar's Avatar
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    Hmm. I def don't believe in it in a sense that a person external to you is responsible for your creativity, but somehow in the abstract, I believe in something internal that helps one to be creative. I think it's something other than where the ideas come from. If there is a muse I guess it's something like what gives those ideas meaning or cohesion. So I guess for me the muse is something like inspiration. Which is different from that perspiration you hear so much about.
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  15. #15
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    Do you guys believe in muses? I think I kind of do. I was dating this person, and the whole time we were dating, I was producing what I consider to be my best work.
    My muse is an invisible blonde biker chick who can devastate a small town with a sharpened baguette. She swears, drinks my Jack D, and gets cigarette ashes on my keyboard. Her inspiration takes the form of "ten pages by the end of the evening, or you'll be fishing a broken beer bottle out of an unfortunate part of your anatomy."
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  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW SianaBlackwood's Avatar
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    I have this character inhabiting my brain who turns me down every time I try to put him in a story, so I took up writing metafiction in which he was my muse. As revenge, he took up necromancy and started reviving dead plot bunnies every time I turned my back. We've settled into an uneasy truce where I write a lot and he asks difficult questions that shove the story in weird new directions.

    The force of "ooh, shiny" personified, I guess . Whether that actually counts as 'muse'...

    *shrug* Well, I have to call him something. It makes more sense in random forum posts if I say 'muse' rather than talking about some non-existent guy called Scott.

    It's pretty good at killing any WIP I list here, but I'm working on trying to revive my blog.

  17. #17
    That hairy-handed gent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    There are no such things as muses.
    Yes there damsure are. I had two of them menacing my vegetable garden just yesterday, big suckers with long noses, just itching to eat my cabbages and broccoli . . . . . .

    Oh, wait . . . those were mooses.

    My bad.

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  18. #18
    Shooting stars. lolchemist's Avatar
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    You aren't defining a muse as a mythical creature that magically inspires you to write but as a thing or a person that sparks your creative juices like a catalyst so yes, I totally agree that it can happen for some people.

    It has been a long-time cliche that bad breakups are catalysts or muses for songwriters. For me personally, the book Twilight was a catalyst/muse. Every time I put on the audiobook in my laptop, my 'I can write much better than this!' part of my brain would activate and I could pour out 2000+ words!

    I'm sure other people have certain triggers/muses that are human beings. For example I could argue that Alice Liddell might have been one for Lewis Carroll.

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  19. #19
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I like Bill's muse.
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  20. #20
    Consider the question replacing the phrase "this guy" with "enough whisky to really damage my liver", or "snorting cocaine off a prostitute's lady garden".

    Even putting aside your essentially requiring this person to do something for you so you can write, it's a really bad idea to rely on things beyond your control in order to write.

  21. #21
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    On the other hand, if you really like the guy, why not date him? Is he a nice guy? Fun to be around? Smart?

    It's okay to have a life.

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Reverend Ben's Avatar
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    I completely believe in muses, but second the inorganic argument.
    Muses are for me more like devas, or fairies, or gods. They exist independently, don't take the time to appear physically, and every so often give just enough of a tap to get some work going.
    As far as being separate from the brain, who knows. I am a crazy person. What is real to me is not real to some. I also make it my business to converse with beings like this, so I don't know if it's more crazy to listen to them, or ignore them. I'll take credit for their hard work in the terms of a by line. Otherwise, they call the shots.

    This is not to say that they don't show up as people, in people, or with groups. Physicality is not precluded by musedom.

    The other part of your situation is, you feel creatively energized by your partner. That sounds wonderful- worlds of opportunities.

  23. #23
    The Anti-Magdalene KellyAssauer's Avatar
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    Yes. Muses exist. I believe in them. I've seen them, talked to them, had long conversations with them. Most of them have no idea at all that they are muses. They don't have to be here with me. We don't have to do stuff together. I don't rely on them for anything because they never needed to do anything. Some I haven't seen or spoken to in years, but they still do what they do - and probably have no idea at all that they are doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo81 View Post
    Consider the question replacing the phrase "this guy" with "enough whisky to really damage my liver", or "snorting cocaine off a prostitute's lady garden".


    but I will consider the question replacing the phrase "this guy" with "put Theo81 on ignore now".
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  24. #24
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    I don't think it's a good idea to conflate your 'muse' with a physical person. If you want to be with the guy, then be with him. Be his friend because he's a good person to be around. That he inspires you is a bonus, for sure.

    It just sounds so uncomfortable to me to say you want to be around someone 'because they inspire me to write' and not 'because this is a good person to be around'. Toxic, dysfunctional people can 'inspire to write' but they're not good for the psyche and our own mental health.

    I suppose I hearken back to a very uncomfortable, toxic and dysfunctional time in my life where my writing output was off the charts. I was prolific in a way I can't even begin to describe. And I was so profoundly unhappy. So, maybe this is my kneejerk reaction to this and I should just sit down now.

    That said, my muse is specific goals to hit and meet and hopefully exceed, updated every month/3-months/6-months/annually to shift and accommodate growth and shifting of values and the reality of my current financial/physical/emotional situation.

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  25. #25
    Back in the black, & staying there! Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    Do you guys believe in muses?
    No, I don't. Because if I did, it would be too easy to think, "My muse isn't cooperating, so I can't write. Guess I'll play Diablo instead."

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