Ultimatum from the Muse


I’ve returned from my visit to my parents to find my muse practicing with her staff in the driveway. I see that she’s swapped her doeskin for some sci-fi gear that only a muse can pull off … barely. She gives me the weasel eye and impales a fence post with a shot of blue light at forty yards. Show off.

There’s a difference between writing and editing. Creative writing strikes me as right brain, the realm of poetry, music, art, and imagination. It’s intuitive and fluid. The other side, the left brain editor in chief, is practical and logical. It’s the domain of concrete language, organization, detail, and processes.

For the past eight months, I’ve been the nerd with the black-framed glasses, chewing on a pencil as I hunch over my books, one by one crossing off adverbs, fixing commas, and deleting dialog tags. My muse gave up on me in April and moved out.

She’s been lurking, though. I caught glimpses of her at the forest’s edge, keeping a keen eye out for a spark of fantasy while she communed with the green world and watched the night sky with the coyotes. When I heard the hoot of evening owls, I knew she was out there, waiting.

Apparently, she’s run out of patience.

“I’m back,” I state the obvious. “Want to come in?”

Not troubling to reply, she follows me up the rickety stairs to my writing room, her strange boots clomping up the steps. Today, she’s taller than I, a lithe flame-haired elf to my frumpy hobbit, and the small space forces her to duck. She sits across from me on a stone bench that suddenly appears along one wall, elbows on her knees, a wary spark in her green eyes. The magic staff rests against the wall, brimming with latent power. “Are you still a writer or do I go elsewhere?” she asks.

“Are you still brooding or do I need a new muse?” Two can play at that game.

She stretches out her long legs, arms crossed, her chin at a tilt. “You used to write ten hours a day. You were dedicated.”

“I’ve been busy. I had books to transition, babysitting for the Overlord, a patio to complete, my parents to visit.”

“All completed and the Overlord started preschool.”

“See. More time to write.”

“Write or blog?”

Ah, there’s what’s got her leggings in a knot. “Both,” I reply. “I have a lot of followers and more every day. I like reading their posts. They’re inspiring and talented.”

“I don’t doubt it.”

“And I should grow my blog, right? Social media is an important part of building a brand, of being an author.”

She narrows her eyes. “At least do me the courtesy of telling the truth.”

“Fine.” I roll my eyes like a teenager caught with the car keys. “I just enjoy it. Blogging is fun, and I’ve connected with some wonderful people that I count as friends.”

“Maybe you need a blogging muse.”

“No.” I scowl at her. “I’m a writer.”

“Are you? How many hours will you write a day?” She’s trying to pin me down and I’m squirming.

“Four.” I toss it out with a wince.

“Insufficient. You’re wasting my time.” She gets to her feet, sleek and swift as a panther, and snatches up her staff.

“Five,” I shout. “Minimum of five.”

“Barely adequate.” She faces me, her eyes catching a glint of fire from the stained-glass window. “It’s a start, but I want a commitment. I want your oath.”

“Really? An oath? You’re kidding, right?” I groan, but she’s unimpressed. “Do I have to kneel?”

“Whatever suits you. I want five hours a day, six days a week. Swear it.”

I inhale and blow out a sigh. To my core, I know this is good for me. I need the discipline and the balance. My blogging time will go down a bit, but not terribly. “I give you my oath that I will write five hours a day, six days a week including blog posts.”

She studies me, deciding on my amended version.

“Blog posts count as writing,” I say with whining authority.


I huff at her. “Fine.”

“Get to work.”

“Fine, I will.”

A smile quirks her lips. “It’s good to have you back.”

I return the smile, a small concession to her value. “I’m glad you stayed.”


Once again seeking balance.
Wrote all day yesterday and it felt wonderful.

181 thoughts on “Ultimatum from the Muse

  1. […] boots on my writing-room stairs. I haven’t seen her since September 2016 when she gave me an ultimatum about finishing up The Rose Shield series. It was that or she was going to […]


  2. OwnShadow says:

    It’s a great idea to imagine a muse so vividly. My muse only texts me these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha. This is the muse I was expecting when the other one showed up. She wasn’t quite as tough on me, but I think she got fed up over the summer. Tell your muse to get over to your place for a talk!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. waterdove says:

    Wow this is a great art piece.. who is the artist?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] long ago, my muse gave me an ultimatum (here) – Write or […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. parentinghindsights says:

    love this view on writing, as I embark on this journey I will always remember these insightful words.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Writing is very time consuming, as is blogging. For me, it’s constantly shifting priorities and a search for balance. *Sigh* The muse helps me to keep my eye on what I love to do. Happy Writing to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Christy B says:

    Indeed, it’s the creative side that I prefer in the brain but the editing side is a necessity.. I’ll play with words a bit longer tonight 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love this. My muse is now younger than me. It seems she doesn’t age but we have come to understand each other and she allows for certain concessions. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. JoAnna says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. But I hope your muse doesn’t talk to mine. Uh oh. I better get out of here!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. inesephoto says:

    She keeps you in line 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sean P Carlin says:

    In the whirl and rush of editing and blogging, it’s easy to forget that there’s a joy in just writing — in indulging that right hemisphere of the brain. Sometimes it’s hard at first when you’ve been away from it for a while — sort of like working out again after a break of even just a few weeks — but it feels great to exercise those muscles again! Can’t wait to see what you produce, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. confabler says:

    She is badass💀Would you mind introducing us? I think we’ll be good friends
    Six hours a day! I spend just six hours a week, total.
    And I wanted to say your Sunday blog idea is very good and generous. I’ll get to meet new writers handpicked by you:-):-):-):-):-).:-)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Ali Isaac says:

    She is a SLAVE-DRIVER!!! Has she got a sister? I’ve never had a muse, and I think I could really do with one.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. So much imagery in your words! I could picture your muse clearly – must take a leave out of your book 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I have to say that I love your tough, attention demanding Muse. I wouldn’t want to make her mad, either. I’m glad she is letting you blog 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Oh, you’re singing the same song – or at least your muse is – as me, Diana. For a long time I didn’t know who I wanted to win in the battle for brain time. I could have done with a plain-speaking muse myself!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. This is brilliant. I love it! Your muse is spectacular. This writing/blogging thing is incredibly difficult to balance. Glad you are back using that right side of your brain and that your muse is so…forgiving? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. This really amused me Diana. I hate editing – my left brain isn’t inclined to be working – it hates being organised – and my right brain, and my dearest muse are well and truly pissed off!

    Liked by 2 people

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