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Recovering a Lost Muse

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Muqtada, May 29, 2013.

  1. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

    I lost my muse and I can't seem to write without recovering her! To clarify, let me give you a little backstory.

    I had a dream a week ago about a girl I used to know years and years back, someone I haven't spoken to since 2009. The dream started with our real-life history (which was just talking a few times) and then veered off into an improbable future of childhood adventure and naivety where she became an entirely fictional character. I awoke with the strangest feeling of sadness and guilt. After thinking about the dream for a significant part of the day I realized that with a few tweaks it would make [in my opinion] a very interesting short story. Every time I remembered her face it invoked the same strong feelings as the dream--very strong inspiration. Unfortunately I had just started a new job and was bringing some work home with me and didn't have time to write.

    I finally got that time tonight but when I sat down this evening to write I realized I couldn't quite remember the feelings, couldn't quite remember the dream. That's no problem, I remember it all every time I think of her face... except I can't remember what she looks like. I checked Facebook and all the usual social networking suspects and she appears to have no visible online presence. I have absolutely no pictures of her. Without going into great detail, her physical appearance is actually extremely important to the story. Now I'm sitting here, ready to write an interesting story with an unexpected lesson and my mind is completely blank. Try as I might, I'm unable to get past the first paragraph.

    What do you do when you've lost your muse before you've even started?
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    Write anyway..write anything, even if it doesn't feel right. Often, just the simple act of making words appear opens up the mind to creativity.

    "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club" - Jack London

    "Inspiration exists but it has to find you working." - Pablo Picasso
  3. advait98

    advait98 Sage

    Uh-huh, been there, Muqtada, been there.
    Except in my case, the story was hogwash. Oh well...

    As T.Allen.Smith said, write, write this story as you thought it.

    I know you said you have no muse, your mind is blank, but a few words can rekindle that feeling.
    Lie down a few moments, and when you have thought of absolutely nothing (literally, think of nothing), get back to that desk, and pour those words out.

    Words are a dream in themselves. When you read, you get transported to another world. When you write, you get transported to your own world. Write those words, get lost in the moment, no matter how hard it is, write, write, hit yourself on the head, write, and you never know, you might have been lost in your head long enough for that muse to have come back.
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Here's a post I wrote a while back about my my opinions on the muse.


    As for your specific problem now. I don't remember my dreams very much but when I do, they're very vivid and they usually contain a narrative of some sort. I find it super hard to recall the emotions of that dream once time has past. So after a vivid dream, I rush to the computer and just start typing every impression I can remember. It's usually enough for me to recall the emotions of that dream.

    But here's the thing I learned. Dreams are a lot like your ideas. When you write them out, they're very rarely exactly like they were in your mind. Dreams contain a certain personal emotional baggage that's very hard to convey on the page, because IMHO, it's a summation of a lot of random subconscious stuff that's bouncing around in your head. This stuff comes together for that dream and then disperses. The pieces are still floating around, but they're not assembled in the form of that dream. Best thing you can do is just write regardless of your muse. Maybe you'll find it while writing, maybe not. Just get as many of the pieces that you remember onto the table and if you're lucky maybe you can assemble that dream again. The muse...? Frak the Muse.
  5. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

    Funny thing happened years ago in my pre-writer phase. I knew that one day I would be a writer but hadn't quite got there in my mid-twenties...when this story occurred.

    I woke one night from the most vivid dream which had told a bizarre but fascinating and coherent story. It was perfectly crystallised in my mind and I thought: this story's going to make me a million dollars!

    It was 2.30 in the morning but I flew out of bed, sat down at my table and suddenly realised I only had two cigarettes left. These days, I'm a non-smoker, but back then I could no more write without a ciggy burning in the ashtray than fly through the air.

    So, I jumped into the car and drove five ks to the nearest all-night petrol station. Bought the fags then drove home...and could no longer remember a thing except a few flashes of weird imagery and sense of terrible loss.

    The moral to my story?

    Don't smoke.

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