Finding your muse (Repost)

Excerpt from Duma Key by Stephen King:

How to Draw a Picture (Part 5)

Don’t be afraid to experiment; find your muse and let her lead you. As her talent grew stronger, Elizabeth’s muse became Noveen, the marvelous talking doll. Or so she thought. And by the time she discovered here mistake — by the time Noveen’s voice changed — it was too late. But at first it must have been wonderful. Finding one’s muse always is.

Must your muse be a person? Well, it certainly can be, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your muse can be the questions you need answered or pain you want to make sense of. It can be the parts of your life you’ve just glanced over but never really delved into. Your children’s future can be your muse; your own peace of mind.

In short, your muse is what inspires you to create when you’re not feeling particularly creative; to work when you’d rather sleep, to promote yourself when you’d rather just find a quiet place to hide away from the world.

So, what drives me to create? Different things in different circumstances. But if I’m being honest (and I usually am), what drives me is the something my dad told me over and over as a child. Before I get into this, I need to tell you that my dad and I have a very good relationship now, and I don’t hold any ill will towards him. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. But I digress…

His philosophy was anything worth doing is worth doing well. Which I believe is a true and noble directive. His paraphrasing of that expression is what has caused me to struggle with overcoming some obstacles, the biggest of which was self doubt. I still struggle with that. I think we all do to a certain extent. So, what were my dad’s exact words? These:

“If you going to do something half-ass, don’t do it at all!”

Adults often make the mistake of assuming children think the way they do. When I heard that statement, my first thought was, “Okay. I won’t do it at all.” So things that were difficult for me I simply avoided. I convinced myself that I wasn’t really good at anything. But God knew better. I suppose I’m a bit of a later bloomer. I didn’t really know what I was good at creatively until my thirties. I spent a whole lot of years simply existing, not living. But somewhere along the line a passion for art in many forms was ignited. It’s scary, and difficult at times, but living is so much more fulfilling than existing, don’t you think?

So…find your muse yet?

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11 Responses to “Finding your muse (Repost)”

  1. mo October 6, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    Nice post! My muse is turning out to be my childhood memories.

    I liked that book a lot. Is Noveen that crazy little toy thing at the end? I remember a doll named Reba that the main guy would beat up. That was a crazy book.

  2. Michael October 6, 2010 at 6:40 am #

    Your story of finding creativity sounds eerily similar to mine…except I’m not quite 30 yet. 🙂

    I have found my muse to be something in me that strives to be me or different. I don’t mean different just to be different. I mean be different because that is who I am. For a long time I struggled with acceptance wanting to be the “cool guy”, that I didn’t take chances. I played it safe.

    A few months ago, I came to terms with it. To be honest it was when you ranted about writers saying they weren’t writers. It sparked something in me and I’m eternally grateful

  3. David @ Red Letter Believers October 6, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    My mother always reminded me not to quit — at anything. that tenacity has carried over to my adult life and I’m glad. It has helped me be (somewhat) successful! 🙂

  4. Sandra Heska King October 6, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    I would have driven your dad crazy. I’ve dabbled in all kinds of things, start all kinds of things and don’t finish. My kids are laughing at me because I started to tear down the wallpaper. “Started” being the key word. “Look, another one of Mom’s projects.” My sister says I’m a woman of many interests. I think that might fuel my muse.

  5. A Simple Country Girl October 6, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Having an active imagination, there are a lot of those “half” parental/grandparental statements firmly ingrained in my mind, including your father’s advice… half-baked (I picture gooey cakes), half-cocked (I picture a gun, loaded, but not cocked and definitely not ready to fire), half-@55ed (well, I picture one lonely bun in a pair of saggy underwear), etc.

    So, what cheery advice do I give my son? “Do the best you can with what you have while you are able.”

    In addition to that, I tell my self (you should meet her sometime-she is a rather weird though), anyway, I tell my self, “The good Lord gave you gifts, get off your duffer and use them for His glory, sister!” and “There is a five dollar fine for whinin’–here’s the jar.”

    To tell you the truth, I never gave much thought to some “writing things,” like a muse or writer’s block or leather-elbowed sweaters. I reckon if I have a pen and a napkin, I am set.

    Thanks for this re-post. I thought your muse had something to do with a Big Boy statue?


    • katdish October 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

      Thank you for your comment, Darlene. However, I must ask that you not mention the Big Boy statue again for another 24 months. That’s when the statues of limitations will run out…

      • A Simple Country Girl October 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

        “statues” or “statutes”

        am i slow
        and you are quick?

        either way,
        me thinks we are funny, especially you, but i like to stand close so some of it rubs onto my sleeve

        24 months? really? that’s like 2 years. golly.

        • katdish October 7, 2010 at 8:13 am #


  6. Helen October 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    My muse…. at times I doubt I have one. But I do a trigger that make me want to write: desire. I desire to amuse, encourage, comfort, and lift. Sometimes I desire just to put a piece of myself out there and be truly known. Not known as in famous, but as in understood.

  7. jasonS October 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    A late bloomer is better than a no-bloomer. 🙂

    There’s inspiration all around if our eyes are open. Love this post, Kat.

  8. Tony Alicea October 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Confession: I had to look up “muse” on

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