writing quotes

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Isabel Allende

This week’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom come from Chilean-American writer, Isabel Allende. I first heard of Isabel Allende when she was a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I think she’s a smart, interesting and feisty lady.

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” – Isabel Allende 

I love this quote because it rings so true in the writing process. I find if I regularly show up at my desk, ready to write, I’m rewarded for my effort. The more I write, the more I feel inspired.

I’ve often heard references to “the muse” in the entertainment world and in the literary world.  The very concept of the muse is mythical and romanticized–the idea itself characteristic of the imaginativeness of writing. It’s interesting if you look at the origin of the word “muse.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines muse as “any of the nine sister goddesses of learning and the arts in Greek myth” or “a source of inspiration.” (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, pg. 476) The concept of a muse has traditionally been associated with women, with the arts and with inspiration.

On the contrary, Stephen King conjured up an image of a male muse who sits in the basement, smoking cigars in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (King, pg. 144-145). I have to say I like this image and feel that maybe we create a muse that’s familiar to us. My muse is like other muses: elusive, always hiding and spontaneous: popping up when I least expect it. I think of it as a mischievous woodland sprite, peeking out of the trees in a forest.

I think it’s a good idea to give a name and personality to your muse. I think it takes away some of the intimidation we feel when we write and some of the power we feel our muse has.

Who or what is your muse?


“muse.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster Inc., 2004. Print.

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 2000. Print.

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