There is a tiny voice inside every artist that tells us what to do with our works. “Change that line. This isn’t in character. This scene doesn’t belong here.” The more we create, the more we listen to that voice, the stronger it becomes. The easier it is to hear.

I first became aware of it when I started obsessively drawing one particular actor over and over. I started out spending two hours on a piece. By the tenth or eleventh portrait, I was spending two days. Long days. Hours spent hunched over the Bristol paper with pencils of all different graphite densities. Toward the end of the later pieces, I started to feel something new. “A few changes here and there and then… It’s done.” I had never experienced art that actually felt finished before. I knew there were parts of the piece that weren’t perfect, things that I could fix. But my muse was satisfied. It was giving me permission to move on.

With writing, I’ve started experiencing the same thing. Finding the particular moment in the story to start a piece, knowing when to introduce characters, figuring out the best order for the scenes and which to tell or leave out. It doesn’t all happen in the first draft. The editing process is still long and hard. But the more I listen to that inner voice, the better the pieces end up. I’ve learned to trust it.

When I speak of my muse now, I’m talking about my writer’s intuition. It didn’t suddenly appear one day. I educated it through a lifetime of stories. Learning from my successes and mistakes and those of others as well  (sometimes the mistakes are even more enlightening). Watching as other artists broke the rules in a way that somehow worked. And always practicing, integrating the craft skills that are leaned through the curious phenomenon of osmosis.

Read and write. Read and write. As much as you can. And then, learn to trust, to listen to that tiny voice inside yourself that tells you when a piece is ready to edit, to share with your beta readers, and finally, to send out into the world.


When you write, you’re never alone. Your characters are with you, your worlds. And if you’re lucky, so is your muse.

I see my muse as that inner voice that tells me to add a paragraph break in a spot where I don’t think it’s necessary, but provides perfect pacing when I’m reading the piece through. I show her respect when I make the changes that just feel right and follow the scenes that play out in my mind. The more I trust my muse, the more she wants to play. The work I’ve done up to this point (and there has been a lot of it) has heightened my ability to communicate with her, taught me the skills I need to let go and let the words come. I feel my muse with me when I write.

It’s when the work is finished that the loneliness can set in. My muse has moved on by the end of a piece, whether I want to or not. I think that’s part of why I seek to be published.

I love my characters, good or bad. I want to share them with others. Putting them on the page is a good first step, but when they make their way into other peoples’ hearts and minds, they become that much more real. Now they exist in you. I look forward to being able to talk to people about the characters that I’ve spent so much time with, to hear the readers’ thoughts and maybe get a fresh perspective on characters that I still have more to learn from.

Writing bridges the gap between the community in my mind and the one in the world I live in, bringing the characters, the worlds I create, that much closer to me and (hopefully) my readers as well.