A Muse By Any Other Name


1. Greek Mythology Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.

2. muse

a. A guiding spirit.

b. A source of inspiration.

3. muse A poet.



I was taught in writing school never to begin a piece with a dictionary definition as it lacked originality and imagination. I’m violating this rule today for the sake of clarity. I think it’s important that we all understand up front what my topic is because I hope to take that topic and stand it on its metaphorical head. (You can let me know in your comments if I succeed or not. I know a dangerous request, because who wants to tell someone they’ve failed. I suggest you don’t. Just take the opportunity to express your viewpoint. I love a good discussion.) At any rate, I intend to discuss the concept of a writer’s muse.

In theory a muse is a non-corporeal being who inspires the writer. He, she, or it is the well-spring of the author’s ideas, and if the muse flees, dies, disappears, etc. the well dries up and the flow of ideas stops. Most writers call this writer’s block, and for them it might be. For me writer’s block is having too many choices. When I can’t write, it’s because I can’t make up my mind which of my many ideas I wish to write about. Does this mean that my muse loves me so much he, she, or it is drowning me in a flood of mental generosity? Maybe. But I don’t think so. Thus far, I’ve managed to keep writing despite a plethora of story concepts that keep yammering for attention. (Yes an author’s head really is a noisy place—and very distracting as you can tell from the number of times I interrupt myself.)

So, if the in-ability to produce written material isn’t the result of either a stingy or overly generous muse, what is it, and why blame it on the unsuspecting (and I’ll maintain non-existent) muse. The answer lies in what the muse represents. A muse isn’t a being; it’s a metaphor for inspiration (see definition b. above).  However, a muse is much more interesting to talk about than an inspiration. Most people can’t wrap their minds around inspiration as more than an idea, but they can easily conceive of imaginary or non-corporeal beings.

I, on the other hand (not being ‘most people’), prefer the concept of inspiration—that spark of genius that is internal to myself. (Yes, I’m a bit greedy. I want all the credit for my own ideas.) Perhaps it is this greed on my part that allows me to be inspired by just about anything. Stories, tales, yarns, fables—you name it—are everywhere. Writer’s block is real, but not because the well dried up or even because the donkey has too many haystacks to choose from [Kudos to anyone who can tell me the source of the donkey reference].  No the source of writer’s block and inspiration are the same. That source is the author. The genius lies within each individual writer. What then is the purpose of a muse? The purpose of a muse is to provide a focal point for that genius allowing an author to realize the inspiration that lived in the writer’s mind all along.

New Topic: I discovered a long time ago that I love reading and writing stories a whole lot more than reading and writing about them. So allow me to introduce you to one of my favorites. One Moment’s Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1 is my first western historical romance and a book of my heart (or genius, if you believe what I wrote about muses and inspiration.) Edith and Dutch’s story is available now at http://www.amazon.com/author/RueAllyn. If you want a little more information about One Moment’s Pleasure I’ve included a blurb below, or you can visit my website, http://RueAllyn.com.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today. Your comments are my greatest reward, so please share your thoughts with me.


One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister.  Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.


Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures.  Learn more about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com


FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rue-Allyn/220219031338619

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/RueAllyn

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/Rue-Allyn

Blog:  http://rueallynauthorblog.com/