Today is special to me, the birthday of Crown of Bones, book #1 in the Amassia series. To celebrate with you, I am giving away a signed copy of this YA Fantasy novel, along with some cool swag. So please, pop your name in the comments and be in it to win.
The thrill of releasing Crown of Bones to the world is nearly indescribable, but it also comes with a price—things given up, plans cancelled, invitations rejected, fingers bled to the bone, nights without sleep… All that, and more, at the behest of a relentless Muse.
Mind you, it’s not always this extreme, writing and publishing a work of fiction, and my Muse is not always so harsh, but for this book, it’s been dangerous ground, every step of the way. Not only was I venturing into unknown territory, being asked to re-write the books as a YA series but also, I was asked to change the point of view from third person past tense to first person present.
I found very quickly that it was more than a mechanical exercise as I had to reach for a depth of emotional honesty that astonished me. For one, there is no hiding behind discourse in YA, and no playing it safe in the first person present! But my Muse rose to the challenge, demanding I do the same.
What is this Muse I am speaking of?
Stephen King says the muses are ghosts that sometimes haunts you. I am certain for him that is true! Frida Kahlo claimed she was her own muse. The subject she knew best. The subject she wanted to know better. Certainly, the muse is a piece of our own soul, let, at times, out in the woods.
Everyone’s muse comes in different forms but without exception, their goal (our goal) is creative expression. And I do believe we all have it, this creative spark within, though at first it can be hard to find.
In the meanwhile, thankfully, we can learn the craft of writing, the skills to articulate our stories, remaining open and listening for those whispers from the Muse. Just remember, there can be a natural reluctance to go to the edge of the clearing where the Muse resides. It’s risky business, always, when we don’t know what lies out there in the darkness – emotional vulnerability, a truth ignored, a piece of our own hearts we have shunned.
For Crown of Bones, my Muse’s circle lay at the bottom of the sea. Trust, I am a strong swimmer and have logged hundreds of dive hours beneath the waves, but still going there carried additional risks, drowning not the least of them.
And I promise, a Muse awakened will not be ignored. She may be relentless, but she is the touchstones that make magic happen. And I know you, readers, writers and creators, want to feel that magic too.
So to that end, here are some tips on how to awaken the Muse (at your own risk) and answer the call. Just know that once awakened, you can never go back…
Read. Read. Read.
First up, read! I mean, read for pleasure, joy and entertainment. Read inside and outside your favorite genre. Joss Whedon calls this ‘filling the tanks.’ The more you read, the more you engage with story, the more your own Muse awakens.
Check the Self-talk
It’s easy to be critical of the fragile new beginnings of a creative venture be it a story told through words, film, paints, sculpture, performance or music. Critiquing early on can crush the creative spark, and the sad thing is, negative self-talk can be a habit.
Fortunately, habits are possible to change, once we recognise them. So, listen out for words that harm and deflate, asking if you would say such a thing to a five-year-old showing you their first attempt at a rainbow or the letters ABC. Support the spark! Fan the flames and treat your own self with love and respect. It can change everything!
The Muses of Ancient Greece were closely associated with music and dance. You might find the right sounds in the background encourages creativity, relaxation and joy. So might quiet meditation, a fragrant cup of tea, even putting on a favorite top or sweater can help you enter the muse’s circle. Engage and appreciate the five senses.
This may not sound like wild fun, but it is actually pure gold. When you take your creativity seriously, so will your Muse. That means heading to the clearing in the woods every day, no exceptions. By treating your craft like a job, setting out a specific amount of time to unplug from distractions while you write, sketch, read or daydream, you will keep the creative juice flowing.
I hope these hints will open up the path that leads to your own clearing in the woods, or under the sea. Play with it, and have a wonderful start to this New Year.
Giveaway reminder: Pop into the comments and be entered to win a signed copy of Crown of Bones along with some awesome swag.
Bright Blessings for 2021!
Xx Kim (aka A. K. Wilder)