Monday, June 13, 2011

An appointment with the Muse

Calliope - the Muse of Epic Poetry
on sitting down to write

I grapple daily with resistance, distraction and a wandering focus -- formidable obstacles that pull me away from getting it done. An artist friend recommended a book that addresses the struggle against creativity -- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The author of bestsellers like The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tides of War, Pressfield confesses to struggling with these enemies himself. He also shares some insights on how he conquered them to become a successful writer.

My favorite passage in the book is an anecdote about Maugham, one of my favorite writers.
Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. "I write only when inspiration strikes," he replied. "Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp."
I love this premise -- scheduling a time to write so it becomes a daily habit, an invitation to inspiration, like making an appointment for the muse to stop by. My goal is to make an appointment with her every day myself.

What are your secrets for inviting a visit from the Muse?

On Beyond Words & Pictures recently passed the milestone of 100 followers. To mark the occasion, I sent out a $10 Amazon gift card to Angela Scott, the 100th person to follow. Thank you to all my followers for reading and commenting.

For those who love art -- I recently wrote a review on a fascinating retrospective of paintings by California artist Charles Garabedian at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art -- in WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art.  Classical mythology is a recurring theme in Garabedian's work. It's clear he made the muse most welcome.


Barbara Watson said...

Congrats on the published piece in the magazine!!!

Making an appointment with one's muse is necessary, and I, too, love the quote. While I don't have a set appointment time each day, I do open my WIP each day and write....something. Some days it's more than others, but progress is key. Another thing I've found helpful (I read this somewhere but can't remember where) is when I do write, I don't glance back to anything I've written because then I'm reeled into revision. Moving forward is what I need now. Revision when it's done.

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

The spring painting is like far-out man, like trippy.

Whenever I invite the Muse over, she says, "I'm too busy. My cat needs pajamas." And my favorite, "We're just friends."

Unrequited Amused

iza Trapani said...

That's a great quote! Yes, bursts of inspiration are a treat, but it really does come down to doing the work. I find that the muse is never far from the woods, or the meadows or the sea... Taking long walks really clears my head and gets ideas flowing.

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats - that's awesome!!

I wish I could schedule a time. I try, but it's tough. Hopefully in the summer that will work better!

Julie Musil said...

Congratulations on your blogging milestone!

And I love that quote, too. I'm easily distracted by all things on line, and I really need to rid myself of that pesky habit. When I'm serious, I shut it all down.

I hope your muse came to visit :D