Face it. Training a muse is like training a cat to play the violin, and doing so without any experience and only being available to train it part-time.
Or is it?
If you'd have asked me yesterday why I've written so many posts recently about Miss Muse I'd have stammered a bit before answering. Thinking about it now, many reasons jump to mind, but they're the obvious reasons. They make for good stories, funny moments and provide a means to a (hopefully) insightful post about creativity and inspiration. I think the real reason lies much deeper.
I've recently noticed I have an interesting tendency. I've gone back and read things that I've written in chronological order--everywhere. I'm not just talking blog posts or chapters from my novel. Those are the obvious places to look. I found that this tendency bleeds into emails at work and home, even the little notes I jot down when I get ideas for something new to write.
The tendency? To continue on a theme for an extended period of time.
It doesn't matter what this theme is. It doesn't matter where this theme comes from either. Once it gets lodged in my brain it stays there. Percolating. Simmering. Oozing out in things I say and words I write.
This manifests itself in odd ways. The most common manifestation is that I use the same words over and over and over. Everywhere. Odd words that I rarely use. Or words I'm suddenly using in different ways, invoking their non-primary definitions. Lately it's been words like linger and ponder.
So, on what have I been pondering and lingering lately? Creativity and inspiration. Hands down, without a doubt. I'm into the climax of my book. Sweat beads from my brow as I try to craft the perfect ending to my tale. It's not easy. It makes me a little nervous. I'm groping for that inspiration, that creative flash of revelation that's going to make the ending perfect.
From the depths of my subconscious I'm longing to capture Miss Muse, hold her hostage until I complete this huge undertaking to which I've committed myself. But such drastic measures aren't really necessary. She doesn't want me trap her. She doesn't even want me to entice her. She wants me to invite her.
Therefore, I must train myself, not my muse. I must find the pattern of her visits, when she likes to stop by, when she's willing to interrupt--and most importantly--when I'm most apt to listen. I must train myself to prepare for those visits of hers and to take advantage of them.
Facebook bores her. Bring it up and she's gone. Catching up on emails? Same thing. No one wants to tarry where they don't feel welcome. Not even Miss Muse.
It always comes down to discipline, doesn't it? So no, this post isn't really about training our muses. It's about training ourselves. We are our own muses. So I hope I can train myself better than I can train a cat.
So tell me, folks. How do you train your muse?