It’s frightening for a writer. Not real silence, of course, but the eerie quiet inside your head, the mysterious absence of words. You think and think and think, but it’s like turning on a light switch when the lightbulb is blown. Nothing happens, no matter how hard you try.
It makes you feel… powerless. Sure, it’s your mind, your thoughts, your words, but you’re not completely in charge of them. There’s a certain magic to writing, almost like Tinkerbell sprinkling lost boys with pixie dust and enabling them to fly.
No amount of happy thoughts will help you fly without the pixie dust. You need that extra bit of magic, that spark that makes your words take flight.
Where does that magic come from? One place: your muse.
Are the Words Really Yours?
Consider the following:
- You can’t always write when you want to
- Good ideas for posts just pop into your head
- You can’t control when they pop into your head
- When you’re in the flow, it feels almost magical
- Afterwards, it seems like someone else wrote it
Put all of those clues together, and you might begin to think that there’s a pixie on your shoulder, whispering words in your ear and filling your head with brilliant ideas. And you wouldn’t be alone. Many famous writers describe their best writing as coming from somewhere else, and they invented the idea of a muse centuries ago.
Scientifically, of course, it’s ludicrous. You can probably reduce it to the priming of certain neurons, the degree of interconnectivity between brain modules, and neurotransmitters that facilitate creativity.
But understanding how creativity works isn’t the same as making it work. From a practical standpoint, pretending you have a pixie on your shoulder and learning how to master him (or her) is probably more effective, even though it is fanciful.
All Bloggers Have Muses
For most of us, the term “muse” conjures visions of ancient poets that looked to goddesses like Aphrodite for inspiration. Or it might remind you of the lovestruck writer who finally makes something of himself to impress the woman of his dreams.
While both are true, I suppose, they’re not very helpful to bloggers. For one, the traditional view is sexist—not all writers are men—and two, it’s a romantic interpretation that’s hard to connect with when sitting alone in front of a computer screen.
The better interpretation is that your muse is that little voice inside your head, the originator of your best ideas, and your constant writing companion. It’s a part of yourself that “turns on” when you’re in your most creative moment, allowing you to write that special post that gets you to the homepage of Digg or elicits hundreds of comments from your readers.
You muse is also a troublesome little creature. It wanders off when you sit down to write a post, directs your attention to subjects that have nothing to do with your readership, and thinks it’s funny to give you ideas that are both offensive and embarrassing.
It’s also a creature that you can master, and if you’re serious about blogging, it’s essential that you learn how.
The Importance of Mastering Your Muse
Successful bloggers know that you can’t just write when you feel like it. You’re expected to pump out post after post of insightful content, continually winning the attention of both your readers and other bloggers that would link to you.
To be able to keep up the pace and produce consistently high quality content, you have to learn to manage your creative process. You have to master your muse. Otherwise, you’ll break under the weight of everyone’s expectations and stop blogging. It might have already happened to you.
Similarly, the benefits of mastering your muse are powerful. You’ll be able to write consistently insightful and remarkable content, do it at a moment’s notice, and create results for your blog that you can only describe as magic.
If that’s something you’re interested in (and who wouldn’t be?), then I’d like to show you how. I’ve by no means achieved absolute mastery of my muse, but I write 1,000-2,000 words every day, without fail, and learned to channel my muse’s whisperings into writing of sufficient quality to appear on Copyblogger.
So, keep an eye on the upcoming posts. I’ll probably do about one per week for the next couple weeks. Don’t ask me how many or what they’ll be about, because while my muse probably knows, the little fiend thinks it’s funny to keep us all in suspense.
But he promises they’ll be good.
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Be sure to check out Jon’s blog, On Moneymaking.