Tying the Muse to the Chair by Laura Bickle

Welcome to author, Laura Bickle, and enjoy her rant, I mean, discussion of her muse. Who is your muse? Do share in the comments below. And thanks for visiting Writer’s Fun Zone, where we marry creative play with getting our writing done!


There are a lot of writers who have healthy relationships with their muses. They take their muses out on coffee dates and have long conversations at the beach while holding hands. Their muses arrive when summoned, sprinkling fairy dust and waving magic wands. They whisper with gossamer voices, reassuring and gentle. Words flow on paper, inspired and brilliant.

This is not my muse.

My muse is a….well, she’s difficult. I suspect that she may have been kicked out of Tooth Fairy school for bad behavior and was assigned muse duty as penance for raiding the cash drawer. She’s surly, unpredictable, and wholly unrepentant about being AWOL.

It’s not that I haven’t tried. I did all the rituals suggested to make friends with my muse. I set up an inviting writing nook. I played music. I lit candles. I wrote down statements of intention. Made dream boards. Meditated.

Nada. My muse laughed at my dream board, used the candles to light a cigarette, and complained that my chair is covered in cat hair. She sat on the edge of the desk in her torn fishnet stockings and bitched about the lighting. And she used all my lipstick.

So I tried to bribe her. I bought her chocolates, made offerings of flowers. I acted like a Shakespearean actor in love, trying to woo her attentions.

She promptly informed me that she didn’t like caramel and that my poetry sucked.  I think that she also blew smoke in my face and told me I needed to lose weight.

Eventually, I gave up trying to be nice. I was spending a lot of time and energy courting inspiration, and she didn’t want to be courted. I asked the benevolent universe for a new muse, but my request was denied. I was stuck with the surly muse who spent more time teasing her hair and sticking gum under my desk than helping me with my novel.

So…I decided to wage war on my muse.

“We are going to write this book, whether you want to or not,” I told her. “I have a deadline.”

“Oh, yeah?” She watched me with narrowed eyes covered in purple eyeliner. “Just try it, Chickie.”

I threw a butterfly net over her, tied her to the chair, and sat on her. She yowled like an aggravated cat and got glitter all over the floor.

But her butt was in the chair. And so was mine. Lo and behold, writing occurred. And it was not bad writing.

I realized something…all this chasing inspiration was really meaningless for me. The only key to success was getting my butt in the chair and doing it, whether inspiration had struck me or not. I could be passive about it, and wait for my muse to bless me with insight…or I could just get to work.


Laura Bickle has worked in criminal justice and library science. When she’s not patrolling the stacks, she’s dreaming up stories about monsters under the stairs. She’s authored four fantasy novels for adults, and The Hallowed Ones is her first teen novel. Visit her website at http://www.laurabickle.com. She’s also on Facebook and Twitter, usually exclaiming over cute cat pictures.


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  • Your Muse says:

    This is the sound of both hands clapping…behind my back. It’s a great post, and I promise to enroll in that program for dysfunctional muses we talked about, but my wrists are getting chafed here. Can you untie me now? I think that would count as step one of twelve, don’t you?

  • We might just have the very same muse! I really appreciate this post, and can totally relate. The only way to get it done is to get it done. By my simply taking more action I am producing more blog posts than ever and feel good about it. Thanks. Best Regards, Wendy

  • Arwen says:

    Dear Ms. Bickle,

    I am writing to inform you that the #6913 chapter of the Intergalactic Order of the Muse has received a complaint. There will be a formal investigation into the treatment of said muse as well as the inappropriate request for a new muse.

    As per article 2790, section 17, page 1549 of the IOM handbook, you are not to restrain, retrain or drain your muse.

    Given this highly inflammatory article, we will be seeking representation and suggest that you do as well.

    Let this be a warning to any creative type who thinks they can simply bypass the courting of the use stage and just write.

    No love,
    The Muse’s Union Committee.

  • Laura Bickle says:

    Dear Muse:

    I am certainly happy to untie you, but you must PROMISE to behave. Last time I untied you, I discovered a wet cat covered in chocolate syrup, a fully-defrosted refrigerator standing in a puddle, and an appointment for full-body hair removal. Deal?


  • Laura Bickle says:

    Hi, Wendy!

    I do think that a lot of the muse-courting can be fun…but I tended to get focused on that and lose sight of the productivity. Good on you for getting your blog posts done and cutting through the muse-haze!


  • Laura Bickle says:

    Dear Esteemed Muse’s Union Committee:

    In all fairness, my muse has not paid dues to the Muse’s Union. She spent all her money on shoes. I would love to return her to the Union for re-glittering. If you send me a box, I’d be happy to pay the postage.


  • The secret to every great writer – tie down that muse! Great post, Laura! Hmm, this post could have been called 50 Shades of Muse! Cheers!

  • Laura Bickle says:

    Thanks, Sharon! Love the alternate title! 🙂

    And I hope that your muse is more agreeable than mine!

  • I totally understand what you’ve been going through. I too have a difficult muse. She’s quite jealous of my children and hates drama of any kind, unless its her own. She works best at night when the kids sleep, especially if there’s a good storm, but that’s not often enough. I did take her out for a hotel getaway a couple times, but she’s constantly demanding more. I swear, give an inch and they take a mile. 🙂 Great post!

  • Beth Barany says:

    Laura, I’m so glad to have you on my blog. You’re welcome back any time! But the Muse, she can stay or go as she pleases. My muse comes and goes as she pleases; and only occasionally has tantrums. I like her best when she feeds me chocolate and purrs, which isn’t often. She often shirks the hard work and would rather take baths. Luckily, she ignores me as much as I ignore her. I guess you could say we get along fine. 🙂

  • Cheri says:

    Funny and true all at the same time–excellent! And I can relate. My muse and I have a definite on-again/off-again relationship, and I’m pretty sure it’s not it’s not me but her. Still, I find that if I just plow on through without her, she eventually gets petulant about being left behind and will rush to catch up and want to play along again. A little dysfunctional, I suppose, but it seems to be working for us.

  • Laura Bickle says:

    Jolie, I’m envious that you and your muse have worked out a system. And I wonder if a survey of muses would show that most are night owls?

    Thanks so much for having me, Beth! I’m having a lot of fun. 🙂 I perhaps should try ignoring my muse once in awhile, letter her simmer in a bathtub…

    Cheri, you’ve got your muse’s number! I’m glad that she chases after you. If mine were inclined to chase after me, it would be probably to run over me in a tank….

  • Cara O'Neill says:

    So let me understand this. Your muse is in your rear end. Well, when I think about it, it makes sense because I’m sure some might say writers are asses… ; ) Honestly, I loved this piece and I’m glad to be introduced to your writing — it’s great! It just “felt” good. Thank you!

  • Laura Bickle says:

    Thanks so much, Cara! I’m, glad that you enjoyed! 🙂

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