Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: The Muse

Still More Conversation About “What Should I Write?” . . .


This Blog Conversation began on June 13th; and, continued on June 18th and June 20th… What should I write

If you check out those posts, you’ll see us moving from the Muse through Meditation into Spontaneous Ideas

And, the post on the 20th had four links to other folks’ considerations of “What Should I Write?”.

Our discussion is continuing today because a writer from the U.K. left this comment on the last post in the series:

“I don’t believe in a muse. All my writing is triggered by a place, an incident, an injustice, a person , a memory or a feeling. I’d need a cartload of different muses for all that!”

That comment is quite similar to one of the other comments in our conversation:

“My best ideas don’t come when I sit down to write, rather at spontaneous and sometimes inopportune moments. Hence, I have a notebook in every room, my car, and my purse. :-) “

I don’t know if the Muse delivers the ideas in that last comment; or, if there’s a well-hidden Muse involved in the process of the U.K. writer…

When I access the etymology of Muse, I find these indicators about the word’s history of meaning:

…from Old French Muse and directly from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa, “the Muse,” also “music, song,” from PIE root *men- (1) “to think“.

And, when I go back to the post that began this conversation, I find this quote:

“‘A muse?’ you ask. ‘You mean some kind of invisible spirit that dumps creative inspiration into my mind?’

“’Exactly,’ I answer. ‘A genius. A daimon. An independent force in your psyche that directs your creativity, and to which you deliberately hand over ultimate responsibility for your work.’”

My dictionary says “genius” can mean “the prevailing character or spirit of something” and that “daimon” means “an inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force”…

Naturally, every writer must define the source of their inspirations to write in the way that best helps them obtain those inspirations…

Yet, personally, I’d recommend writers inventory their minds on a somewhat regular basis, even the levels of mind they rarely think about; and, possibly, consider areas of cognition they’ve never consciously explored—all in the effort to maximize the odds that they’ll receive the Very Best Ideas of What to Write

That last paragraph calls on writers to engage in what could be called Meta-Activities—activities that call on the mind’s ability to “turn itself inside-out” or “create variations of itself” or “look at itself in its own mirror”…

Here’s a quote from a learning site:

“Metacognition, or thinking about one’s thinking, is key to facilitating lasting learning experiences and developing lifelong learners.”

I shared that quote because it seems, to me, very important for writers to be continually learning; or, their idea-pool may dry up… { and, to me, reading good fiction is also a learning experience… }

And, considering metacognition as an educational tool, there’s this quote from a different learning site:

“Metacognition is an awareness of one’s own learning. It entails understanding the goals of the learning process, figuring out the best strategies for learning, and assessing whether the learning goals are being met. A metacognitive student sees him or herself as an agent in the learning process and realizes that learning is an active, strategic activity.”

And, another quote from that site:

Metacognition can include any of the following elements:
* Understanding what one already knows about a topic
* Figuring out what one wants to know about a topic
* Realizing what one has learned in the course of a lesson
* Monitoring one’s understanding during the course of an activity
* Choosing which learning strategies to employ and when
* Evaluating whether a particular learning strategy was successful in a given circumstance

And, if I only focus on the last element in that quote and consider the words “learning strategy“, I must admit that it evokes what I’ve gone through in all my writing projects; plus, every writing project has demanded a somewhat different learning strategy…

Here’s a question that may, hopefully, spur a reader to contribute a comment to this conversation:

Are learning strategies and metacognition and spontaneous ideas and meditation and communing with a Muse all part of the fabric of the landscape of our writing journeys…?

It only takes one comment to continue this discussion; or, to suggest another topic in the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing. :-)
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A Blast from The Past, To Calm This Writer’s Mind, by Blowing It to The Musical Max :-)


BONUS POST :

I have this strict schedule—Monday thru Friday—Five Posts a week

The last post was about Scrivener—best writing software I’ve ever used—made me stay up so late it was early, for three days in a row.

Needed something to take me so high I could lay this body down in Peace

My Muse tapped me on my mind’s shoulder and whispered—“Remember those ladies, The Pointer Sisters?”

The Elegant Drive?

The Smooth Rush?

The Soaring Heart-Felt Execution?

Did the YouTube search, found a gift for You :-)


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Spaces, In Your Head, Heart, and Life, Can Be Your Saving Grace . . .


I can’t imagine being the kind of writer who feels they must have X-number of words written before they can attend to other things.

Although, it may function as a “fix” for certain people who are prone to avoiding engagement with the writing process.

Yet, I can only assume some writers are so fixated on word-count because they’re swept up by the lure of recognition—accolades from adoring fans and the multi-mega-million deal from the Big (“God”-like) Publishers

Some writers may even hold in scorn the person who feels day-to-day relationships must be honored and writing must be balanced with other creative activities—or, no “activity” at all

I’ve been receiving The Curator in my email for a few weeks now and find most of the articles extremely refreshing.

In their own words, they seek “…to encourage, promote, and uncover those artifacts of culture—those things which humans create—that inspire and embody truth, goodness, and beauty. We do this through considering and grappling with the zeitgeist.”

They often write about writing but I equally enjoy the other grapples with the zeitgeist—they give me a chance to come up for air periodically, in my quest to dive deeply enough into my mind to write the second book in my series

A few weeks ago, there was an article called Unstatement by George Anderson.

The only bio I could find for the man says, “George Anderson is a normal guy who writes things. He started with a novella about a talking can at some forgotten age and just wouldn’t quit.”

I can remember my attempts at being normal

Always would fail, utterly :-)

I have a feeling George isn’t really all that normal, either.

Consider these words of his from the article:

“I realized that I had become a jack of all trades (and the rest of the cliché)—a fool who enjoys sensual and creative stimulation but can’t bring himself to commit to any one discipline. But now, after recovering from that intense addiction to creative practice, I’ve begun to understand a larger definition of space—one that functions not only in art per se but in the creative process and in real life.”

I can relate

I recently pulled back from a complex project of readying myself to write the next book. Did it by allowing myself the space to re-read a certain Diary that immersed me in an interior State that lent me Release from a temporary Illusion—Not Being Ready.

I’ve even installed a groovy Solitaire program on my computer so I can relax away from any attempts to re-enter the Illusion

A few more words from George:

“I grew a lot as a writer, but then I started thinking about raising a family and being a breadwinner. My creative potential was still high, but my income potential looked like silence; so I scrambled to fill that silence. I started another degree, this one in graphic design. Rather than leaving the white space in my life alone, I tried to slather it with The Good Stuff. One and three-quarters semesters later, I dropped out, overworked and plagued with anxiety attacks. I had not yet learned the function of silence, of uncertainty.”

The Function of Uncertainty

The Embrace of Mystery

The Trust in the Muse

Sure, most writers need some sort of “scaffolding” to begin the act of creativity—some “direction”, some “form”, some “focal point”.

But, to echo a popular meme:

It doesn’t get good till you’re bleeding on the page.

How much should you bleed in each predetermined session of writing?

Sorry, just had to write an outrageous sentence—had to strike a contrast between Flow and Slavery

Just a bit more from George:

“…I realized that the creative process itself is an artwork, sheltering what we call art, nested within the larger artwork of life. This three-tiered fractal structure of art within art within art, of wheels within wheels, was collapsing around me. I was not balancing the outermost medium of creativity—my life itself, my mental and emotional health—with crucial white space. My head was crammed with obsession over what I wanted to accomplish and the corollary fear of failure.”

And, at the risk of keeping you from taking the link and reading George’s full article, I give you his stunning conclusion:

“Exhausted, suffering this for many nights in a row, I asked God with sincere and childish tears where He was. I heard only silence, and I cried some more.

“But a thought kept nagging: maybe this God is balancing his artwork with white space.”
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For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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