Can the Muse leave?
Will I wake up one day and find her gone? Will I look at a blank screen or a blank page and have nothing more to say? Will inspiration vanish?
It’s possible, but only under one condition:
She will leave me if I don’t love her.
If I don’t do my work, if I ignore her, if I ignore the gifts God has given me, then eventually she will leave.
I’m not an expert on women, but I know that they don’t like to be taken for granted, abused, or ignored. She has things to tell me, but despite her power and wisdom,, she will not force herself upon me. She will wait until I am listening. She will wait until I am fully engaged and attentive.
Now, it’s possible that after months and years of ignoring her, I might wake up to the truth and begin doing my work again. If so, she might come back, but she will take a while. She will want to know that I am sincere. She might be hesitant and I will have to work for a while until I see her again. But why would I want that? Why would I want to start all over again?
This is why I work every day. This is why I pay attention every day. This is why I write every day. I don’t want to miss even one day with my Muse. This is not a fear-based decision. This is a commitment based on the knowledge that I am following God’s plan for my life.
Today is my day off. I have no obligation or contract to do any work. I could be watching a movie or taking a nap or reading comic books or playing an online game. But the truth is, I do have an obligation. I am obligated, by God, to love my Muse. I was created to do this. We all were.
I have a friend who teaches yoga. I don’t know the first thing about yoga, but I know she’s following her Muse.
I have another friend who is a retired teacher. When I was his student, he introduced me to the writings of Kurt Vonnegut and changed my life. He still teaches me things decades later. He’s following his Muse.
I have another friend who wants to work with autistic children. She’s in an extremely difficult situation of her own, but she keeps planning, doing what she can, and moving forward. She’s following her Muse.
I have a friend who loves teaching people how to invest wisely. He’s spent hours of his own time studying the market, creating a formula, and educating others on financial matters. He’s following his Muse.
The list could go on. Sadly, the list of people not following their Muse is even longer. But there’s nothing I can do about them, other than hope they have the good fortune to become miserable enough or aware enough (or both) and start their work.
There is one other possibility. The Muse may not leave, but she may pull you in a different direction. This is a topic for another time, but if you are doing your work, you will find your new path. James Altucher calls this reinventing ourselves. http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2013/12/the-ultimate-cheat-sheet-for-reinventing-yourself-2/ But until or unless that happens, keep doing what you’re doing.
As for me, I feel very fortunate. God has blessed me greatly. My books are waiting. My work is waiting. But my Muse is here and I’m listening. Your Muse is with you, too. Do your work. You will see him or her. Your Muse won’t leave. She can’t.