Tag Archives: talisman

Invoking the Muse

Everybody is going to write a great novel one day.  Just ask them.  The only thing they are waiting for is some sort of inspiration.

They are waiting for their Muse.

Bret Anthony Johnson said that “I believe that the act of writing is itself the muse.”  I think there is merit to that idea.  Don’t wait for inspiration, just go write something, and maybe that will bring on some inspiration.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to try and call the elusive Muse out of hiding.  Just as we might use writing talismans to remind ourselves that it is writing time, we might also have certain rituals to invoke the Muse.

According to what I have read:

  • Friedrich Von Schiller used to keep rotten apples in his desk, then he would inhale deeply and start writing.
  • Edgar Allan Poe wrote with a cat on his shoulders.
  • Willa Cather read the Bible before writing.  (Which is probably preferable to reading from the French civil code every morning, which is apparently what Stendhal did while writing The Charterhouse of Parma.)

    (Source : A Writer’s Book of DaysJudy Reeves)

I don’t have any ritual per se.  I find that taking my pen in hand, and opening a clean page on a quality notebook, are usually enough to let me know it is go-time. 

Do you have any rituals?

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Ponderings


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Do you have a writing talisman? 

I do.  A few actually.

The first is my hat.  I actually have two hats, depending on what sort of writing I am planning to do.  Leather Hat
When I am doing some relaxed, contemplative writing, often in the back garden, I put on my leather hat.  I pull the brim down low, and I sit and think about things, occasionally putting pen to paper with a profound thought, or reasonable facsimile. 

On the other hand, when I am hard on work on a deadline, I like to wear….

n523833222_1569379_7406 The Mean Green Writing Machine.

It’s a green plastic helmet I have decorated with writing stickers and slogans.  It reminds me that I am hard at work.  Also it scared people away, so I get less interruptions. 🙂

Talismans help me get into the mood, and keep me focused.  Like SilverShark, my pet rock.  Silver shark is a small silver rock decorated to look like a shark.  He sits on my desk and stares at me, with his cold, dead eyes.  And he judges me.  He judges me, and stares in silence until I crack and write something.


Uh… where was I?

Oh, yes.

Do you have any talismans?

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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in Ponderings


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