Friday, October 7, 2011

When Does Your Muse Visit?

Have you ever wakened in the middle of the night with an idea for a story swriling in your mind? Writers' minds must work on a 24 hour schedule as this is when inspiration sometimes hits. You have some choices if your muse suddenly wakes you up and whispers in your ear. You can bat her away like a pesky fly, roll over and sink into slumber once again. Or, you can get up and start writing. Another possibility is to keep a pad and pencil at your bedside and write down the idea, then roll over and go back to sleep.

Inspiration comes to us when we least expect it. Once, an entire fiction story flashed through my mind while I attended a symphony concert. I have no idea what the piece of music the orchestra played that night, but I do remember the story in detail. I wrote the bare bones as soon as I got home, then fleshed it out the next day. Why did the music inspire that particular story? I have no idea, but haven't you listened to a song or a concerto and had it bring something to mind? Did you act on it? I hope so.

While walking through an art museum, a painting or a sculpture might draw you in. As you study it, your muse might nudge you a bit. Look here, lady, there's a story lurking in that painting. Can you keep it in mind until you get home to write? ?Should you jot down notes while at the museum? Probably so.

Related to the idea in the middle of the night is to think about a dream as soon as you wake up in the morning. Use the dream for inspiration. Don't laugh. It happens! One of the best poems I've ever written came from a dream. I dreamed one night about old gypsy women riding on a speeding train while little girls played around them. The women were sewing. I'd recently heard a workshop speaker talk about the possibility our dreams give us in our writing. I sat down and started writing the poem, first two lines and then my fingers flew and the rest appeared almost like magic. I did run the poem through my crit group and did some revisons before  "Play, Gypsy Girl, Play" was published at LongStoryShort and again on The Wordsmith.

Your muse visits and touches her wand of inspiration in many ways. It's your job to listen to her, to pay attention to those little nudges she gives you. Dreams, music, deep sleep ideas, pictures and more--there's a story hiding. All you have to do is look.

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