Muses at Your Doorstep

What if I told you that you could order your muse on Amazon and have it show up at your doorstep, all you needed to do is be home to sign for the delivery?

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Well, you can’t. Sorry.

But wait, you almost-can. I’ve been thinking some more about that Pablo Picasso quote with which I started my first post at MuseTraps: Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. I’ve recently been showing up at the library on a daily basis, sitting there for a few hours a day, doing some writing exercises (I’m hoping to review this wonderful free online course after I finish all fourteen days), reading some, essentially doing whatever, but… showing up. Showing up every day (with occasional days off if I feel like I really need them, but yeah). And the more I do this the more I agree with this Picasso quote.

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Pablo Picasso, Le Rêve (The Dream), 1932.

Last night a little analogy came to mind that might help me explain just how effective it is to insist on sitting to write, rather than sitting and waiting for the muse to land on you out of nowhere and then write it down.

You see, in a way, muses are like parcels that you order over the mail. Imagine this: you order something you’ve really been wanting to buy for a while now. It’s a signed-for delivery. So, you order it but… then you go out instead of waiting at home to receive it. The next day, the delivery person comes again, only to find that you’ve gone out again. Let’s say, hypothetically, that they can leave you a message and leave it at the nearest post office. But you? You don’t show up to collect it. Remember, you were desperately hoping to receive this mu… ummm parcel. Yet, you do not pick it up.

Muses are the same. Little parcels of creativity sent to you (especially if you summon them, but sometimes, like bills and brochures, just out of nowhere, uncalled for). If you don’t show up with your pen to collect them and sign for them, though, you’ll never see them on paper. They’ll never bud and bloom and become wonderful ideas. And when they’ll be vacating in some land of the lost muses or something; or running off with your neighbour who found them quite attractive, you’ll be wondering why on earth you can’t find them.

Simply put, we work better when… well, when we work – than when we don’t (like a 100% better, right?). As I mentioned on the first post – I spent the last few months mainly conceptualising my thesis. I thought it through to the extent that I can talk about it for an hour without blinking if you just ask – I can describe the structure and the ideas, the methodology and the main arguments… but how will I ever see all these on paper if I don’t put them on paper? How will I find the words by which to write them if I don’t write any words?

So what are you waiting for? What was I waiting for those past few months?? Order your muse, find a comfy chair and a comfy desk, do your thing, write and write and wait for it to arrive. True, it might take a while (you never know, maybe the muse-men are striking, maybe there’s traffic on Idea Road), but you’re much more likely to end up meeting your muse if you’re waiting and prepared for it.

Let me know in the comments if you agree with me on this one.

And go get it!

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Author: Avital Rom

I am a PhD student in the department of Chinese Studies at the University of Cambridge, and an amateur Celtic harp player. In my blog I aim to explore creative processes and how to untangle them (a completely selfish venture, but if it leads me somewhere I would love to share!)

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