Thursday, August 30, 2012
The Muse--Is it Real? by Kristie Cook
Muse—Is It a Real Thing?
My most recent book, Power, the fourth book in the Soul Savers Series, just
released last week, and while I’m celebrating, I’ve also been whispering under my
breath, “Thank God I did it,” accompanied by a huge sigh of relief. In most ways, this
was the hardest book I’ve ever written, and there were many times I wasn’t sure I’d
ever get it done.
This book had more planning, preparation and outlining than any of the previous
ones and still I hit block after block. Sometimes I felt like my muse had left me for
good, proving that those other books were a fluke and I was a fraud. I know I’m not
the only writer who has gone through this, and knowing this helped me to keep
going. And, somehow I got it done. Whew.
So what does this say in the age-old debate of whether there’s really such a thing as
The Muse? Was it me, myself and I simply pushing through writer’s block to meet a
deadline? Or was some otherworldly entity inspiring me at the right times, allowing
me to continue? Well, I write about otherworldly beings, so I kind of like that second
But as much as I like it, is The Muse still just fantasy? Something creative people
have made up to provide excuses? “Can’t paint today. The Muse hasn’t struck.” “I
don’t feel The Muse, so I can’t write right now.” “Cancel my plans! I have to compose
while The Muse is hot!” We’re told by the masters to paint, make music, write
anyway, that we can’t wait on inspiration or we’ll never complete anything. And
there is truth to this.
I’ve found that every time I experience writer’s block, it’s because there’s something
wrong with the story. I’ve taken it in the wrong direction, I’ve forced a character to
do or say something that they’d never say or do regardless of motivation, or there’s
something else I don’t understand. Once I step back and realize the problem, I can
This happened a lot while writing Power. When I really felt at my wit’s end, in near
hysterics because I hated the book, thought I’d never meet deadline and my career
was destroyed, a random discussion with my publisher about the title brought on an
aha moment. A huge, ginormous, earth-shattering AHA!
I’d been writing and revising around the wrong theme—although it was written and
even revised more than once, I didn’t really understand what the story was about.
I’d been trying to make it fit around one idea (courage) when the story was really
about the main character coming into her own power. Once I figured this out, I was
able to revise the story with love and passion and take it to the next level.
So yeah, I’d written anyway when I didn’t feel inspired. And the story was good. But
it wasn’t great. And because of this, I have to say I believe in The Muse.
See, I had a thorough enough outline that I could still write a book, even if it wasn’t
very good. And, in fact, anybody could have written a book from that outline. Would
it have been the same story? Not even close. What we authors bring to each story
is what makes each one unique. Those ideas of brilliant inspiration take our stories
on unexpected twists and turns that surprise even us, the authors, as we’re writing.
That inspiration allows us to look at things from a different perspective and “work
through” writer’s block. Where do those ideas come from?
They come from The Muse. Maybe The Muse isn’t quite an otherworldly being, but it
does exist, and some people have more than one muse and even name them. Maybe
for some of us, The Muse feels like a completely separate entity from ourselves,
and for others, we believe it’s a part of us that only comes out when it feels like,
suddenly inspiring us to be creative. Just like the ideas a muse inspires, each one
is unique, spawning new stories, pictures, sculptures, songs, etc. for us to enjoy
throughout the ages.
What do you think? Do you believe in The Muse? Or do you think it’s a myth?
Kristie Cook is the author of the best-selling, award-winning Soul Savers Series,
including Promise, Purpose, Devotion and Power, as well as Genesis: A Soul Savers
Novella. She and her business partner own her publishing company, Ang’dora
Productions, in which she wears many hats besides “author.” Kristie lives in Southwest
Florida and besides all of her roles as indie author and business owner, she’s a wife,
mom to three humans and two fur-babies, aunt, daughter, friend, reader, motorcycle
rider and foodie. She can be found at www.KristieCook.com and on Facebook (http://
AP SAYS: Thanks for stopping by Kristie!
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