For years now, I’ve been taking my clients and students in my book writing classes on a journey to meet their muse. I think of your muse as a creative aspect of yourself.
It may seem like it comes from deep within you or it may seem to come from a place outside of you–everyone has their own experience–all valid. Your muse may show up in all kinds of ways. My book writing students and clients are often surprised by the trappings of their muse. They have experienced their muses as:
– An eagle
– A mouse
– An angelic being
– A tiny man
– A jester
– The sea
– A grandmother
– White light
– A famous choreographer
– Olympia Dukakis
When a client or student approaches me about their book ideas, I often have a professional opinion (or even a sliver of intuition) about which of several concepts is most marketable or whether someone should self-publish or traditionally publish based on their particular goals. However, their muse often deeply KNOWS.
More and more, I combine sharing my expertise and hunches with an inner journey where I take writers to meet their muse. And the information they ascertain blows me away. Here are just a few things that happened the week I started writing this post:
– Vicki was feeling stuck. She had notes for chapter 1 all over the room and tried writing it several ways. It just wasn’t coming together. She went back to the muse exercise we’d done in class and got clarity. Vicki said, “I focused on my muse being much larger and wiser than me, and that it would guide me. Then I fell asleep for a little while, and when I sat back down to write my chapter, the writing flowed and the organization made sense.”
– Anna wasn’t completely sure how her story fit together and then her muse gave her a dream where the whole story gelled. Still, she wondered whether she should start with fiction or a nonfiction book on a specific health issue. I led her through a journey with her muse, which crystallized the book and made it clear that the fiction was the first book to write. When you feel unsure about your creative direction, you can access your muse for clarity.
– Beth felt overwhelmed and uncertain about how to write the book that she felt a strong yearning to write. She wasn’t sure who her core audience was and how to reach them. I guided her to ask her muse for a clear understanding of who her reader was and how to effectively express her voice to them. Her muse provided some guidance, along with a sense that more would be revealed. That afternoon, a young woman sat next to her and the conversation naturally flowed into Beth sharing about her birth experiences, the topic of her book. As she spoke it became clear that this is how she was to write her book–like a conversation.
Have you connected with your muse? Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a path through the woods. Use all your senses to experience this path. In a clearing, find an entrance to the place your muse is waiting. Enter. Again, employ your senses to gather information about the space and your muse.
* Thank your muse for inspiration.
* Express any concerns you have about a project.
* Ask your questions.
* Listen to what your muse has to say. Your muse may speak in images, a felt sense within you, or you may even hear words. It’s different for everyone. Trust what you get, even if it doesn’t quite make sense at first. The more often you connect with your muse, the clearer your guidance will become. Like any relationship, it takes some nurturing.