According to the Oxford dictionary the definition of muse is
‘A person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist’
A while ago I came across a writing prompt simply titled The Muse.
In the past when I have thought of a muse I have imagined a serene, elegant lady draped in a slender 1920s dress who glided into a room inspiring an artist to sketch, draw and paint. She would be gentle and encourage the artist out of his doubts and inevitable artistic slumps. When I think of my muse, the source of my ideas, I see Elsie.
Serene, gentle and elegant, she is not and forget about encouragement. She is more likely to tell you “you will make it rubbish anyway” than utter sympathy. As a tiny fairy she is hard to pin down. Flitting here and there, she visits and shares ideas when she chooses and no more. Dr Marten boots are often stamped in frustration if she thinks she is being ignored usually because it isn’t time for me to stop and write.
As a night owl, she insists on waking you up at 3am with a bagful of ideas that make your head spin. If you don’t act quickly enough or act enthused she will hold her inspiration and perfectly formed words close to her chest and fly off in a huff for days. No matter how much you beg her to return to relieve the frustration of writer’s block she refuses to come. in her eyes, writer’s cramp, illness or exhaustion are not good enough excuses to not write.
As you can tell, her temperament is extreme but luckily, her hair changes depending on her mood. You smile if she is adorning pink tresses for romance is in the air or if there are shades of rainbow, exciting things are ahead. It is time to hide under the duvet if her hair is raven black. The ideas she will deliver will inevitably be full of doom or sorrow.
Why do I keep her and not search for my 1920s muse? Because as bristly as she is, she is funny and has moments when her childish, fun streak peeks through but most of all, I love her and the worlds she creates in my mind.
So when she arrives: I listen, try to take notes and hope when I read them later I can understand the blurry, tired scrawl because, as you will have guessed, she will never repeat an idea or perfect paragraph twice.
I would love to hear about your muse, if you have one in the comments. How do you control them or like my Elsie, do they control you?
A special thanks to Debra McFarlane for bringing Elsie to life and encouraging me to write. If you would like to see more of Debra’s work she can be found at:
And she has just launched her page on Patreon