When the Muse Sings by Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “When the Muse Sings.” Enjoy!
In my last post I talked about setting creative goals for the year and working toward them by taking action steps, no matter how small, every day. Being consistent, diligent and dedicated are important but there’s another component of creativity that’s out of one’s control: the muse. At turns kind, capricious, generous and unruly, the muse is always welcome but not always available. Yes, it’s possible to meet word count when the muse is silent, but what of the magic that goes into the process?
Writing is tough, and much is produced through sheer discipline. When the muse sings, however, the work flows effortlessly. There’s a lightness and ease like the wind at one’s back. Hours pass in an instant and the joy of creation is yours for an entire morning, afternoon, or maybe even a whole week!
The muse cannot be forced or manipulated, only invited and encouraged. The muse needs space. Perhaps that’s the reason some writers get wonderful ideas when they go for a walk. Being outdoors, open to new sights and sounds while the body is in motion encourages the muse to whisper, sometimes even shout! On the other hand, the muse may also come to visit while you’re in the dentist’s chair, sitting in the car during rush hour, or standing in line at the grocery store. Visits from the muse aren’t always convenient, but can enliven and enrich those mundane moments by delivering the perfect line, image, or ending.
The muse shies away from fretfulness and worry. If you’re anxious about where your next idea’s coming from and your mind is on too many other things the muse might just find someplace else to go. It’s nothing personal, but desperation isn’t desirable nor attractive to the muse. Instead, patience, quiet confidence and — most of all — faith, are far more conducive to finding divine inspiration, or, better yet, having it find you!
Music (from the word “muse”!) can also be a powerful way to draw the muse closer. Often when I’m listening to some of my favorite music, my mind races with possibilities and I can’t wait to get back to my keyboard or sketchbook. Going out to a good movie, or looking through a magazine; sharing in the world of images and ideas of others refreshes me creatively, too. You never know when the muse might direct you toward a photo, concept, or an article that speaks to you, helping you see things in a brand new way that will move your work forward.
No matter what you do to invite the muse, I hope that s/he visits you often in the New Year, and that this will be your best writing year yet!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Georgia, Nevada McPherson lived in New Orleans for many years and now lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is a professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from L.S.U. She’s written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, one short screenplay, a short play, short stories and two graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons.
For more information about Nevada and her projects, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.