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Writing About the Writing Muse


Learn to let your writing grow organically they say, do not try to build it. Let it come from that molten space within you from where flows the magic of creation, do not analyze or rationalize in any way, put pen to paper, or in this case, put finger upon keyboard and let the dance begin. Let the rhythm decide the movements, not conscious thought. Let your heart and your senses guide you, don’t let your mind mess with it.

But what happens when that molten space closes upon itself like a crystal egg, shiny, tempting, but impenetrable? What happens then? What if each word that comes on to the screen or the paper has to be pulled out by force like a broken cork stuck in a wine bottle, with no guarantee that the cork will not be broken in the process, nor the bottle broken?

On days like this, what happens on such days?

On such days I am so jealous of writers that write with such seeming ease, like these lines from Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, pray, love”:

Time– when pursued like a bandit–will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping out the back door of the motel just as you’re banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you. At some point you have to stop because it won’t. You have to admit that you can’t catch it. At some point as Richard keeps telling me, you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you.

While I love the passage here for its literary merit, I think I can also draw a parallel to writing, or to the writing muse, if you will.

The more you chase after her, the more she shies away, hiding herself out of reach. When you give up, and are not even thinking about her, perhaps running at the gym, driving out of town or taking a shower, she would come to you, prodding, teasing, compelling, just when it is the most inconvenient.

I need to discipline this lady, make her visit me at least some of the time at my bidding, and not purely according to her sweet will. But I guess that is what writing practice is for. Time to haul ass and start writing.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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11 Comments

  • interesting post… it’s the frustration of no meaningful thoughts that are worthy to plant… to caress into a story.. usually try to walk away… it’s a struggle fo wills i suppose.. eventually the candle burns out.. rest comes to heavy eyes.. another days passes…

  • Jeques says:

    This article is timely for me. I’ve been struggling lately with my writing and its been long of empty pages. It’s not really that I am lost of thoughts, I’m just having a hard time to put them together. I, too, am struggling with finding time.

    But God knows how I’m dying to go back to the table and write.

    Thanks to this.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  • Force, no matter in what capacity, never works in a positive way.

    That you can recognize that, will be beneficial.

    Seems that all things good, come when we least expect them too.

    Cheers!

  • hh says:

    Hi Damyanti,
    Your comment on my blog prompted me to visit yours. And I’m glad I did.

    I completely relate to this article – we sometimes so desperately want to put our thoughts down, only to realize that they prefer to remain within us, unwritten.

    Sometimes I just write anyway. Putting down whatever I do think of, and keep it aside. Hoping that when I do come back to it another time it will open up the floodgates. Sometimes it works.

    Keep up the great writing!

  • Damyanti says:

    lbw, you might seriously like the book:)

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks, Turkish prawn, for both your suggestions:)

  • BTW, the posting problem that folks are having might be because a new window has to open to type your comment. Their browser might be blocking it.

    Turkish Prawn
    http://foxandmaus.wordpress.com/

  • Hi Damyanti,

    I had a similar situation some time ago. I had the time and the inclination but not the muse. It was really driving me batty.

    So, I did something that you might want to try. I wrote about not being able to write. Talking about frustration seems to come easily and it felt good just to get the waters flowing again.

    My output was in the form of a open verse poem but I’d suggest any format that works for you.

    Give it a try is you have the time.

    Turkish Prawn
    http://foxandmaus.wordpress.com/

  • lbw says:

    That’s the next book I’m going to read ..ie. eat, pray, love!

  • Damyanti says:

    Hi Rick (http://rickmobbs.wordpress.com)

    I am sorry you are unable to post comments, I am getting the same complaint from other bloggers on my e-mail.

    As you can see, I can comment on the blog, and have no idea whether this is a problem with blogger.

    I have written to blogger, hope to sort out the problem soon!

    In the meanwhile, feel free to leave your comments at damyantiwrites.wordpress.com

  • Damyanti says:

    test

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