I have dedicated myself to being a creative writer — endeavoring to perform consistently, and at the best of my evolving ability. I currently write poems, essays, and short stories — in that order of quantity output, enjoying each equally.
A recent comment on this blog got me to thinking about how I find my inspiration — how I evoke my ‘muse’. I’d like to share my ‘process’ with you here.
Whether you fully read this post or not — please do take a moment and describe the process you use to coax your muse, explain how you approach your writing – and leave it in the comments at the bottom of this post. Thank you very much in advance for doing so. It is appreciated.
Below is how I coax my muse. But first — a simple ode to those elusive, diaphanous entities of inspiration…
with the sane asleep,
this poet’s steeped
in conflicted inspiration.
I am filled with doubt,
words tossed about
the unyielding empty page.
I start, then stop,
to write, then not,
now clear, then caught
in merciless hesitation.
let’s be off with you!
I’ll start anew
when free of quandary’s cage.
rob kistner © 2007
COAXING MY MUSE – my process:
Before I begin to write a poem, I often have a word or phrase that has been gnawing at me — something that has been prodding me to investigate its poetic possibilities.
If not, and I am in the mood to write, I search my subconscious for a word or phrase. I often simply begin jotting down anything that comes to mind, unanalyzed, from my stream of consciousness. Sometimes I begin skimming something printed, anything, until a word or phrase grabs me.
When I have found something that intrigues me, I then speak this word or phrase out loud a number of times — not thinking what the word(s) ‘mean’ immediately. Instead, I just ‘hear’ the word or phrase, listening carefully to its sound.
I feel my mouth form around the word or phrase, paying close attention as it moves on my lips and tongue… how its resonance feels in my voice box. This is a very tactile involvement that I find inspiring.
I also use *Garage Band to make a quick recording of my voice saying the word or phrase with a variety of inflections that feel natural — to get a pure reactionary sense for the sound of the word or phrase.
I then examine the definitional, as well as any colloquial meaning(s) of the word or phrase — overlaying and blending all of this interaction and inquiry, to see where my muse then takes me.
I let the direction and shape of the poem unfold naturally. This includes the ‘form’ of the poem as it speaks to me. I find my voice most comfortably in free verse – but that is not always the case.
I seldom begin by deciding on a form – unless I have chosen to work with a prompt that has dictated the form.
I also have the occasional poem, which simply bubbles up, from my soul, reasonably intact. These are usually driven by the core message or spirit of the poem, and prompted by some profound personal experience.
That’s my process for evoking my poetic muse, and writing my poetry.
When I am working with a prompt, the process is the same. The difference being, the word or phrase, and sometimes even the form, is predetermined.
My process for writing prose or essays most often begins with a concept or topic that has grabbed my attention and won’t let go. I generally do not try to ‘prime’ my muse for this type of writing – unless it is short story fiction.
I approach short story fiction with a similar process as my poetry writing — but only with regard to finding my ‘prompt’, my topic and plot. I do not use the tactile ’sounding’ part of my poetry writing process.
I find prose and essays flow most effectively from my soul if I am naturally drawn, with some passion, to the subject matter. I have yet to tackle the novel, so I have nothing to offer with regard to that type of writing.
*NOTE: I often use Garage Band to crate complete ‘spoken word’ recording of my poetry.