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A Yogi on Writing (AYOW, the first in a series): The Muse, is she dead or alive?

Hey, Oortismos and Oortismas. Like any loser on a friday night, I'm turning to the web for solace.


I was talking to my wife at dinner tonight - salmon poached in a nice dill sauce, rice and string beans, steamed - and I was telling her about writing and the trials and tribulations of writing my novel and she suggested bringing my thoughts to someplace more receptive, like a group of writers. Thus, I come here.

I'd like to do this regularly, in addition to the occasional posted story. Just my thoughts I'd like to share with y'all. And I'd love to hear your thoughts, rebuttals, and comments in general. I called it AYOW because I'm a yoga teacher in my daily life and I write science fiction.

I was thinking tonight about writing as an exercise. For me it's about getting a muscle in shape and using it regularly, keeping it toned and moving it regularly. I do not believe in the muse, per se. I think writing is like any other intensive endeavor: 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration.

So, what do you all think? The muse, does it exist? Or is writing, like any venture, just opportunity showing up in workpants?

Let me know.

my muse

I have to admit, I believe in the muse. Why not? If I didn't, I would have to blaim those intense, sudden bouts of inspiration at 4 a.m. on something else entirely (maybe last nights lazagna?). And that would be no fun.

I'm conviced it's Urania, and she has an eager goddess in training who winds up doing all the dirty work for her. I've suspected for a long time that she is trying very hard to prove herself to Urania, and somehow I'm the test. It's a struggle, but she might be gaining some ground. I have to fan her with praises ever so often just to keep her around.(but not too many praises, or she'll get a big head).

If I have to pray to anything imaginary or invisible, I'd rather pray to my muse than a god. She has gotten me through many a dull evening.


my muse...

I couldn't get much done without her. Her irregular visits are the reason I continue to batter my way through the persperation days. Because when she shows up with the next dose of alpha waves I remember that they are the ultimate drug and I keep on writing.

kelson.philo's picture

my muse calls soft, my muse

my muse calls soft, my muse she leaves, not really here, just up my sleeves...

I watch her work inside my brain, she sends the words, i send the pain...

they're like fairy folk or the viewed out the corner of your of those things that if you try and nail it to the wall, it loses it's beneficial aspects...

The trouble with Muses

They never go Dutch Treat. You will always end up paying for their dinners,
and they have expensive tastes. At the end of the evening, though, when
you're sharing a cup of tea,
they will whisper just the right thing in your ear.

Also, they rarely make breakfast in the morning.

every wall collapses, given enough time.

The muse exists, but...

The muse exists, but she needs an able host for her visits.
So in short, I agree. You need to be writing on a regular basis, even when there's no feeling of inspiration. And then, once in a while, when there's some actual inspiration, one is in sufficient shape to respond. So writing is definitely 98% perspiration. Music, I think, is the same way: You need skills/abilities/'chops' or else when the inspiration draws near you won't have enough skill to express it.

On the other hand, there definitely IS such a thing as inspiration. And when i omes i comes on strong, and you ind yourself surprised by what you wrote, and unable to describe exacly how this piece came forth from you.

Yes, it all boils down to

Yes, it all boils down to practice and keeping ones muscles in shape for the work. I practice and teach yoga and I am finding many different paralleles between the two. Regular practice helps keep you strong, muscle flexible and body clean, etc. Much the same with writing.

I didn't say there was no inspiration. On the contrary, I think I got most inspired once I moved to Maine. The story ideas seemed to flow out of me. More than I have time to write as of yet. So I keep them aall on file in the "Maybe some day..." folder on my computer.

- C R T
--------------------------------------------------------------- - music//yoga//blather///
"you know, once you've been to fucking detox, the prospect of lolling around talking shit about post-structuralism really loses its charm."
- m. stearns

The calm mind

A calm mind is a great place to write from...

True that, but...

True, that.

But then why I write best sometimes while listening to Venetian Snares I don't know. It is most definitely not calming music. I think it must tie up some part of my brain and make me focus better.

- C R T
--------------------------------------------------------------- - music//yoga//blather///and more on a blog no one reads!
"you know, once you've been to fucking detox, the prospect of lolling around talking shit about post

the Muse

I think it goes both ways, at least for me. Sometimes I can push something out (writing,music,research, whatever) just through pure perspiration. Other times I hit that zone, where my fingers dance, my ear gets gold, or the answer to a tough problem suddenly appears, randomly, while Im buying toothpaste at wal-mart. Its weird how that happens. So yes, Id say the muse exists, but as to what the muse is I am unqualified to speculate. -alpha