The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#25


It's the first IWSG of the new year. You feel well rested. The "writerly brain" is fresh and ready to go. YAY. The shiny new idea beckons. You prepare to write up a storm…






Where's the muse? Still on vacation? Lazy so-and-so… and here you had such good intentions to start off on the right footing… *sighs*


I'd like to share this quote with you (my "extra" comments are in brackets)

"I start all my books on January eighth. (ooooh, that's today) Can you imagine January seventh? (that was yesterday) It’s hell. (wish I could have been a fly on the wall…) Every year on January seventh, I prepare my physical space. I clean up everything from my other books. I just leave my dictionaries, and my first editions, and the research materials for the new one. And then on January eighth I walk seventeen steps from the kitchen to the little pool house that is my office. (how idyllic… beats my cramped space) It’s like a journey to another world. (I can imagine…) It’s winter, it’s raining usually. (that beats starting off a new story in 90%F weather conditions…) I go with my umbrella and the dog following me. From those seventeen steps on, I am in another world and I am another person. I go there scared. And excited. And disappointed — because I have a sort of idea that isn’t really an idea. (Oh, you too? Thought I was the only one…) The first two, three, four weeks are wasted. (Now I really don't feel so bad) I just show up in front of the computer. (Gets better and better) Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up." – Isabel Allende.

So if the muse is still MIA, forget about her. That's the message, isn't it? Where is she anyway? Gone to Muse Island… you know that place where all the muses hang out? Similar to Lost Sock Island which is where the lost socks get to… and the reason for your collection of odd, mismatched socks…

Just show up with an attitude of BICHOK (butt in chair hands on keyboard) and take it from there…

After all, the author says that eventually your muse WILL show up. I think the muse is into mind games. But you need to put your foot down. Show her who's boss. I'm sure you can beat her at this. I know I can. I'm gonna try anyway…

* muttering under breath: show up, show up, show up*

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group! is a platform for all writers where we get a chance to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. The group posts the first Wednesday of every month. You are encouraged to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Don't forget to check out the Facebook IWSG. We are beginning a new feature this Saturday, titled "News & Promo Saturday". Members will have the opportunity to post one promotional piece and share some "writerly news" with the group.


  1. Diane Burton on January 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Nothing beats BICHOK. If you don't show up, neither will the Muse. Best wishes for a great new year.

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    That's right – to heck with her! Write something anyway.

  3. Nicki Elson on January 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Michelle! THAT is an awesome quote. Now I just need a pool house, hehe. 

  4. Charity Bradford on January 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    LOVE this!! Great quote and perfect for what I've been trying to phych myself out to do. Just sit and write. Perfection can come later, just get the words on the page. 

    Show up. *Deep Breath*

    That's what I'm going to do after one hour of reading IWSG posts. 😀 I'm ready!

    Good luck to you as well. Maybe that Muse of your's will bring a few socks back with her when she does decide to show up. 

  5. S. Katherine Anthony on January 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    lol The muse is into mind games! She probably makes a game playbook while chilling in her Muse Island. 

    This was awesome, of course your extra comments make it even cooler. Glad I'm not the only one with your thoughts 😛 And now…I suppose I must show up too. Best of luck to us showing our muses who's boss!

    • Michelle Wallace on January 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      Diane – the writer has to lead the way… the muse WILL follow…

      Alex – that's my thoughts, exactly!

      Nicki – a pool house could prove to be a major distraction… especially now that we're having such hot weather…

      Charity – as long as she shows up, I'll be very happy… if she brings some of the missing socks, that would be a bonus 🙂

      S.Katherine – we could start a Writer's Unite Against Muses movement… 🙂

  6. Shelly on January 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Loved your post, Michelle.

    Hugs and chocolate!


  7. Julie Flanders on January 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    LOL I love BICHOK. My muse has been on vacation for what feels like forever so I definitely need to follow this advice.

    I so love the line about being in another world and another person. That's what I love so much about writing and this inspires me to remember that. Thanks for sharing this, it's what I needed to read!

  8. Pat Hatt on January 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Luckily mine does seem always there, so far at least

  9. Mina B. on January 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    That muse!  Tell her get her scrawny butt back to work!  I've so been there—but mostly when my muse is going squirrelly.  Let me tell you when that happens it’s not a good thing!

    I like the system you mentioned.  I was just in the process of doing that this week.  Great minds!  🙂


  10. J.L. Campbell on January 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Hey, Michelle, 

    Love that author's attitude. It's one I follow as well. If I waited for Miss Muse, I'd get zilch done. Some days the writing flows, other days are so-so, but I get things done if I'm on a particular project and it's a must-do. Didn't add the Saturday news and promo info to my post. I'm stealing yours and dropping it on my blog. Thanks. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on January 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Shelly – thank you!

      Julie F – BICHOK all the way!

      Pat Hatt – I think your muse is terrified of you… you've "rhymed her into submission"! LOL

      Mina B – Great minds… yes, show up, show up, show up… a good mantra!

      Joy – I've realised that it's a great attitude to adopt. No problem. 🙂

  11. Cindy W. on January 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    That is a really good quote. I always feel better to know that other writers go through the same problems, including absentee muses.

  12. Robin on January 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Excellent reminder that simply showing up to write is the key to getting it done.

  13. Holli on January 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Good luck! I think all writers struggle with the same issues from time to time. Insecure Writers unite!

  14. Crystal Collier on January 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    *grins* I loved that quote. Here's to trapping our muses and taking over the universe, eh? (Oh wait, was that just my private agenda? Hm. Maybe a new assignment for you. Ooooh!!! I've got it! CHEESE RUN!) 

  15. Madeline Mora-Summonte on January 8, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Love the idea of a Muse Island! Showing up at the keyboard or the page is so important. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on January 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Cindy – yes, writers share the same problems…

      Robin – I've come to realise it's as simple as that.

      Holli – we're all in it together… a comforting thought…

      Crystal – I do love your private agendas – never a dull moment with you… enjoy the cheese run (you always do!) *waves*

      Madeline – and now I need to heed my own advice——- 🙂

  16. Sydney Aaliyah Michelle on January 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I love the internal dialogue you have with yourself.  Great information – I need to tell myself that about editing. Show up, show up, show up.  


  17. Mary Pax on January 8, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Back before I had a million projects in my head, I used to take a piece of art and just free write whatever came into my head. From that came my first series [still unpublished], since then the ideas keep coming. I wish my muse would give me a break.

  18. L. Diane Wolfe on January 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

    That's how I write. I just sit my butt down and begin, whether I feel like it or not. If the muse shows, great. If not, I can manage without her.

  19. Patricia Lynne on January 9, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Muses can be evil, but you just have to coax them out with cookies or a really interesting story idea. Or just hope and pray your muse shows up. I'm really not sure how to get my muse to cooperate with me.

  20. Carol Kilgore on January 9, 2014 at 12:13 am

    This is great. Thanks for sharing … it's good to know I'm not the only one with muse problems and without a pool house 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on January 9, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Sydney – it's a great internal mantra… show up, show up, show up!

      Mary Pax – free-writing also works for me… a photo or phrase can have me going off at a literary tangent… I actually LOVE it!

      Diane – well, I'm following suit! Butt In Chair… I'm forcing it to stay there…

      Patricia – I'm resorting to heavy-handed tactics… putting my foot down!

      Carol – who needs a pool house when you can have a charming Tiki Hut? 🙂

  21. Trisha on January 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

    I loved that quote 🙂

    I am not worried so much about my muse this year, but then I guess I still need her to get my revision stuff done. 😛 And I do have some cobwebby unfinished novels to knock off during June & November…

  22. Lexa Cain on January 9, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I guess the point of that is just writing and hoping it comes out good eventually, but I can't get past the starting on the same date every year. That's very peculiar. What if some projects take longer than others? I'm perplexed. (Another reason to add to my "why I can't write" list.) lol

  23. krystal jane on January 9, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Definitely, definitely! I read a lot from writer's that we shouldn't wait for inspiration to come. We set the time and tell it to be there when we show up. ^_^ And it will. It can't help itself. 

    Love that quote. 

  24. tammy theriault on January 9, 2014 at 7:46 am

    look…just let ME be your muse. just imagine me about to finish my MS before you and get a book deal… that will make anyone book it…hahaha…play on words 🙂

  25. M. J. Joachim on January 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    A very inspiring post, with a strong message to persevere! Yes you can! Now just go ahead and do it!

  26. Michelle Wallace on January 9, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Trisha – and what's become of your 52 Chrysalis pieces… do they form a part of your unfinished novels? 🙂

    Lexa – I suppose each writer has his/her idiosyncracies… that's what makes each writerly journey so unique… though it is peculiar… but aren't writers a peculiar bunch, anyway?

    Krystal – I can see who's boss at your camp!

    Tammy – you are a sweety pie, and I'd LOVE for you to be my muse. Heck, you're so much fun, I'd want to write non-stop! 🙂

    M.J – thanks, I'm going to do just that!

  27. shell flower on January 10, 2014 at 12:07 am

    I'm lovin' the BICHOK idea, and it sounds like a curse word, so that adds some fun! That quote is awesome. It reminds me of something Tom Robbins said that is similar. He writes in his office at the same time every day and "his muse knows where to find him."

  28. Julie K Pick on January 10, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I will have to remember BICHOK! Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who's off to a slow start this year. Very clever Michelle!

  29. Gary on January 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Nice one, MIchelle.  Of course, I never wait for inspiration.  I'm lucky that Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar takes over for me.  

    "BICHOK", I had that once.  Thankfully, the ointment worked! 🙂

    Thank you for being part of "I Was Seeking Gary."  I'm flattered like you wouldn't believe.


  30. Tonja on January 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I agree.  I think if you start writing, the Muse will come.  The thing is writing is her favorite thing to do, so there's no way she's going to stay in hiding for long.

    Alternately, doing some high tech activity like studying for a SQL Server or networking exam is usually enough to scare the muse out of hiding too.

  31. Nancy LaRonda Johnson on January 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    To me, a muse is something that, whenever he/she wants to, sits, and often falls asleep, on the artery that feeds the creative mind. I don't work with a muse. I work with my emotions, my drive to write and my belief that God has things he wants me to write about. God allows me to work what he wants me to write about – things that are true to my heart – into what truly interests my human mind. How great is that?

  32. Nana Prah on January 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Nodding my head in agreement. BICHOK!

  33. Michelle Wallace on January 12, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Shell Flower – it's like a creative licence to curse. LOL

    Julie – you'll find your rhythm soon, I know you will!

    Gary – I haven't encountered that ailment yet, but if the ointment worked, then good for you… however, you can spare me the details! LOL

    Tonja – ha, sounds like you're talking from experience!

    Nancy – yes, you're spot on, there is a Masterplan that even the muse has to adhere to… ultimately, God is in control!

    Nana – and I see you're in agreement! It's as simple as that.

  34. Leanne Ross on January 14, 2014 at 1:44 am

    I love the story you shared…so true. Why does the muse take off when we need them most?

    Plus, I always get something done with I finally put my butt in the chair. It is getting to that chair that is the hard part.

    Leanne ( )

    • Michelle Wallace on January 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      But you got there… am I correct? That's most important. And I'm dragging my butt to the chair too…   🙂

  35. Jen on January 16, 2014 at 1:07 am

    This is fantastic! Ah, my wandering muse. He stops by, drops off a new idea, and then disappears. I hear tell he's in the French Riviera right now. Jerk. Why doesn't he take me! Perhaps you're right. Muses are into mind games. So if I show up, he's bound to, right? Right?

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