How listening to the Muse can be hazardous to your mental health.

A couple of days ago, I had a very restless night’s sleep, and I am convinced this was due to my muse was working overtime. When I woke up, I knew that I had to cut the most of the first three chapters of my Steampunk novel, because they are really just backstory. My muse didn’t just want me to kill my darlings, he wanted to go on a killing spree.

My daughter frets that I am suffering from some sort of multiple personality disorder when I start raging against my muse like he is a real person. She doesn’t understand that he is a metaphor for that part of me that – while attempting to make my writing better – also makes for a lot of extra work. This time, he nearly went too far, except for the fact he is making a lot of sense. The start of my novel is just scene setting, with only minimal action. This would lovely if I was writing a big ‘L’ Literature novel, but is inexcusable in a YA novel, where the adventure should start on the first page. It isn’t that young adults don’t enjoy some scene setting, but I realize I was being self indulgent using 30,000 words that might be better spent pushing the plot along.


My muse can be a harsh taskmaster.

You ignore your muse to your own peril. If you stop listening to what drives you to write, it might dry up and cease working at all. And that would be a real nightmare.



Filed under Editing, Personal experience, Steampunk Work-in-Progress, writing

2 responses to “How listening to the Muse can be hazardous to your mental health.

  1. My muse is downright vicious, sometimes. Other times she has that evil glint. Just when I think I’ve got everything tidy, she throws me an entirely new character – or suddenly kills one that I liked.

    Those are the characters that ALWAYS save my book – or suddenly line me up with a spectacular ending, or just get me right out of a hole I’d spent weeks digging.

    It. Is. Astonishing.

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