Okay, I admit it. Writers are quirky people. We have an emotional attachment to the tools of our craft that would raise the eyebrows of most psychologists. We require a specific place to write, or a certain pen to write with, perhaps on a particular color paper. Maybe we have to write our poetry during certain hours, or we can only produce decent stories on our own laptop, and only in the familiar program we've come to love and trust. Anything unusual or unexpected distracts us and makes it impossible to do our job.
Among our own kind, we talk openly of disappearing hours and characters who speak to us or hijack our plots. We live for the times a story writes itself. Some of us, who obviously don't have enough to do, invent an entity to personify our imaginations—a Muse.
Why does any writer feel the need to indulge in fantasy in order to be creative? Are we so unsure of our ability to weave words that we have to ascribe at least part of our talent to someone else?
Silly, right? Well, maybe. Since we credit our Muse with inspiring our work and blame her—or him—when our personal well of creativity runs dry, they're handy to have around. Try blaming your significant other for your inability to string three coherent sentences together and see what happens.
Who wouldn't want someone to blame when imagination overpowers caution and causes us to write something that would embarrass any sensible, grown-up person? Or someone to curse with impunity when a story idea turns to dust after the second paragraph? If a writer can't create someone like that, who can?
Mentally and emotionally, a Muse is a writer's creative partner. Or, maybe they’re just the imaginary friend we never outgrew.
copyright © 2014
N.K. Wagner is the publisher and executive editor of Page & Spine.