Feed the Muse: Get in the Game

get in the gameI started this blog with the intention of documenting my writing journey and to share what I’ve learned with other aspiring authors. I’ve filled it with many posts on writing advice (from others and lessons I’ve learned), excerpts and reviews of books I’ve read, promotions of other author’s work, quotes that inspire me, music that inspires me, and bloggers who inspire me.  I intend to keep posting in these categories, but there is something very important in the life of a writer that is lacking on this blog…experiences.

Sure I have them. Everyone does. I’ve shared a few on this blog, and other than what is contained in my journals, they often go undocumented, residing only in my mind until I have the occasion to recall them in my writing.

As Bradbury tells us in his book, Zen in the Art of Writing, it is through our life experiences and the senses we use to ingest them that we feed the muse. As writers, we inherently know that. We’re natural observers. We spend the majority of our day ingesting and then reflecting on life experiences. I’m an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive) personality type, borderline INFJ (judging), so the reflecting part comes naturally, but I  wonder, since the time I decided to become a writer if I’ve kept my muse on a strict diet, writing mostly about what pertains to my current WIP. I thought I was being disciplined, but maybe I was starving the muse.

As Bradbury tells us, feed where you want to feed. It may not relate to something that you want published today, but that doesn’t mean it won’t give birth to an idea for a story or a scene months, years, possibly even decades from now.  Plus, it will only improve your writing.

Bradbury tells us “by living well, by observing as you live, by reading well and observing as you read, you have fed Your Most Original Self. By training yourself in writing, by repetitious exercise, imitation, good example, you have made a clean, well-lighted place to keep the Muse. You have given her, him, it, or whatever, room to turn around in. And through training, you have relaxed yourself enough not to stare discourteously when inspiration comes into the room.”

So, I view these posts as part of my training to be a writer and will keep feeding the muse by writing about life experiences.

The Tolkien quote on the header of my blog captures the essence of how I feel about life. We are given one life, and although we don’t get to choose the time or circumstances that we are born into, we do have a choice about how we spend the time we have.

fieldLife is not meant to be a spectator sport (I must’ve read that somewhere). Don’t just sit on the sidelines of life as a silent observer. Get in the game. Feel the sand between your toes, marvel at a star-filled sky, listen to the tranquil melody of a bird, smell the sweet scent of a baby’s skin, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, taste a lover’s kiss. Taste life.  Go out there and breathe in the fresh air. Let it fill your lungs and revel in the joy that you are ALIVE. And when the final seconds tick off the clock, know that you left it all on the field.

I won’t promise to post every week, but I can promise you this. I will be out there experiencing life, making the most of the time that is given to me.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


9 thoughts on “Feed the Muse: Get in the Game”

  1. Great post, Melissa, and very timely. I’m having to think long and hard about what I’m doing with my blog and where I need to go with it. I love this phrase: “maybe I was starving the muse.” Spot on. We forget sometimes that we should/need to expand our boundaries every now and then, that the muse may need a richer diet than just our current WIP 🙂

    1. It didn’t occur to me that I was starving the muse until I read Bradbury’s book. He was such a prolific writer because he didn’t restrict the muse. He wrote what he wanted. He didn’t “stare discourteously when inspiration [came] into the room.” So much wisdom in that book!

  2. I can so relate to what you have to say. My first novel was written primarily out of life experiences and the experiences of others that I came to know. It is a true story that I fictionalized. This next WIP is totally different, and I fear that I have been starving the muse. I have become comfortably numb. I have nested into this married and semi-retired thing and I feel my muse growing stagnant. I was just speaking to my husband about how we should get out and sightsee more, live some real Florida experiences, visit places and meet interesting people. My muse is hungry.

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