A muse refers to the nine Greek goddesses of inspiration in the arts and literature. It can also be used to refer to a real person who is a source of inspiration for someone. Or an ethereal entity that provides inspiration- a spirit, funneling in ideas from other dimensions or elsewhere.
This is an anti-muse rant, so be warned.
I personally don’t like to see people say “my muse is gone” when they’re not writing or “my muse gave me these characters” like someone is out there purposely pulling in these concepts from all over the world and tube-feeding it into your brain. Some people say that their muse is a separate entity, a person who is there with them while they write.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot be more alone than when I’m writing. I can’t be more mentally drunk and reliant on my own knowledge than when I’m knee-deep in words that need sorting out. There is no spirit feeding you ideas from another dimension, because all your ideas are grounded in common belief, reality or previously thought-up circumstances.
Nothing is new in writing. A muse is not your imaginary friend, a being to guide you and only you on your writing endeavors. If you can’t write, your muse isn’t stubborn it/he/she hasn’t left you. If you’re bombarded with ideas, your muse is not banging on your door, jamming concepts by the dozen into your mailbox, down your chimney and through every heating vent. That’s a little thing called your brain. And that just means it’s functioning.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had moments of inexplicable inspiration with surprisingly effective ideas, but you can’t tell me that idea came from nowhere. You can’t tell me there’s absolutely nothing in your own life that’s contributed to this so-called epiphany. You make your own ideas and you choose to use them.
One of the many things that irks me about writers, new or not, is the “whinge now, write later” policy that seems to be so rampant. If you spent less time grieving your comatose muse and more time coaxing it back to animated life, maybe you wouldn’t have anything to complain about. If you can’t write, don’t. Just don’t sit there whinging about the ethereal woman who left you, taking all apparent ability and skill from you. If your muse is a real person, the same policy applies, probably doubly so.
I’d like to end this rant by saying my muse isn’t stubborn, I’m just not writing.