Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Come on Muse, Give me a Break

Guest post by Nancy Stewart

What is it about muses? I know they take their work seriously, and yet conjuring up mine can be quite a chore at times.

I almost always search for her at the computer. She’s usually there, but not today.  Sometimes she hides in my Favorites List.  But not today.  How about the Homepage?  Nope.  One more try my lists of guest posts.  Occasionally, she will transform herself into a bright new post from an old one.  Today, no such luck.

Not one to give up, I go to the gym.  Strangely enough, she hangs out there.  And usually her gym ideas are good ones, full of life and vigor.  She particularly likes the elliptical.  Actually, so do I.  But after 25 minutes of trying to coax her to visit, I give up and move to other machines where I’ve never seen her ply her magic. One lives in hope.

On the way home, I stop by the bookstore and congratulate myself on a stroke of genius.  She can’t not be there. It’s a muse kind of place, after all.  She’s not there.  Not even in the kids’ books section.  She’s always in the kids’ books section.  ‘Getting great ideas,’ I tell her, but she rejects that notion.
Ah, well.  I give up.  I’ve learned there’s no future in sleuthing after a muse that does not want to be detected.  So home I go.

I consider the computer a lost cause, so I opt for a glass of iced tea and a comfy chair.  And then, like a tiny bee buzzing in my brain, she’s here.  She speaks of Bella and Britt and dolphins, of a middle grade novel set in Africa, of a chapter book series.

My muse is such a tease.  But when she gets down to business, there’s no stopping her!  Today, I’m only happy she visited, threw out a couple of notions then left me to ruminate. 

What is it about muses?  I still haven’t figured out that answer.  But though they are fey and capricious creatures, this author is grateful to have one.

If you haven’t met yours, don’t worry!  Give her the time and opportunity to make an appearance.  Carry that little notebook.  You know.  The one that everyone says to take with you?  It’s crucial for dealing for a mischievous muse emergence.  Read lots of books, particularly the genre you’re most interested in writing.  It’s amazing how she can virtually pop off the page to infuse you with a brilliant idea.

Above all, while you wait for her, keep writing.  I’ve found that most muses appear when one writes and writes and doesn’t give up.  Taskmasters they may be, these little creatures know their stuff.  You’ll be delighted when yours finds you.

How much do you rely on your muse? Do you have any tricks to make her appear -- or to be productive without her? Share your experiences in the comments!

Nancy Stewart is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children:  One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer (International Classics Gold Book Award), Bella Saves the Beach and Mystery at Manatee Key. Her book, Katrina and Winter:  Partners in Courage, is the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins and her life changing relationship with Winter, the dolphin.   Pelican and Nancy were featured in the PBS Tampa special, GulfWatch.  A frequent speaker and presenter at writing conferences and schools throughout the United States, Nancy is also the U.S. chairwoman of a charity in Lamu, Kenya that assists girls furthering their education through high school.


  1. Thanks for the great post, Nancy! My my muse is quite elusive, but I just write whatever comes into my head even if it's absolute drivel! Eventually my muse decides to save me from the uninspired words!

  2. Ah, yes, Kirsti. I know that method well myself. We have to be always on our game to get these ladies to work for us! Thanks for the reply!


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