To let you know a little bit about 25-year-old me, I suck at writing – not so much the grammar or the clever way I string words into an aesthetically pleasing sentence but in my originality and imagination. As a child, I had not a care in the world. I believed in anything that anyone told me (not because I was naive but because I am a believer) and I came up with at least 1,000 story ideas every day.
Now I have 271 projects sitting on my desk, simply waiting to be completed and I don’t have the heart or the imagination to finish them. These are childhood stories that I never did sit down to complete and now I almost feel as if they are better left in the dust of my filing cabinet. They are tales that I poured my heart and soul into as a child and I feel now as if I have no heart or soul left to give to them.
I recently had one of the greatest writing experiences of my life, however. I had the opportunity to listen to a talk presented by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. During this talk, Elizabeth discussed the muse at great length. She even discussed how while writing Eat, Pray, Love she was having feelings of despair believing it would be the “worst book in the world.” She said, during this time, that she looked into an empty corner of her office and addressed her muse directly.
She informed her muse that, if the work was terrible, she was not the only one to blame. She said that she was working as hard as she could every day, waking up at the same time and forcing herself to write. She guilted the muse into being there for her by saying aloud “I would please like the record to reflect today that I showed up for my part of the job.” If you are interested in the entirety of the talk (about 20 minutes), you can see it here.
Well, these last few years, I have forgotten myself. I have failed to show up for my part of the job for years and my muse has been the one to give up on me.
From this day forward, I make this commitment. I will show up to write every day if my muse will promise to forgive me and give me another chance.
– Paul Scott