and let the goddess hold your pen
I’ve often felt like I have no idea where my writing comes from.
One day last year, the spiritual part of me realized that my love of writing comes from another place.
You may be thinking:
Yes. I mean it.
I had never taken such stuff seriously until I came across the bestselling author Steven Pressfield.
His famous book, The War of Art, is a kick in the butt for all creators.
Pressfield identifies our worst enemy:
Meaning, fear, self-doubt, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, self-sabotage.
You name it.
Resistance stops us from doing what we love and making our dreams come true.
I, for instance, suffer from imposter syndrome and perfectionism.
By reading The War of Art, I learned to fight for my art— to fight for myself by saying a prayer.
You are a channel for the Muse
You may be familiar with the idea of the “Muse”.
Pressfield describes it as ‘a mysterious force beyond the material plane’.
I love viewing oneself as a channel for the Muse.
Before Pressfield starts writing in the morning, he says a prayer to the Muse. He was taught this ritual by his mentor, Paul Rink.
You may be familiar with Homer’s Odyssey.
For me, this classic represents a deep desire to ‘get home’.
The Prayer to the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey
The Prayer to the Muse is the Invocation of the Muse. It’s from the very beginning of Homer’s Odyssey (the T.E. Lawrence translation).
I’d never heard of the prayer before but it struck a chord in my mind.
Here’s the Prayer to the Muse I say to myself almost every evening before I sit down to work for my side hustle from 7 pm to 10 pm:
O divine Poesy!
Goddess, daughter of Zeus,
Sustain for me this song of the various-minded man,
who, after he had plundered the innermost citadel
of hallowed Troy, was made to stray grievously
about the coasts of men,
the sport of their customs, good and bad,
while his heart, through all the seafaring,
ached with an agony to redeem himself
and bring his company safe home.
Vain hope! For them! For his fellows he strove in vain.
By their own witlessness, they were cast aside.
To destroy for meat the oxen of the most exalted Sun,
wherefore the sun god blotted out the day of their return.
Make this tale live for us in all its many bearings, O Muse!
You can also create your own prayer or mantra about the Muse inside you.
Even Bob Dylan sings about Muses
In Bob Dylan’s song ‘Mother of Muses’, he declares:
I’m falling in love with Calliope
She doesn’t belong to anybody — why not give her to me?
She’s speaking to me, speaking with her eyes
For me, it makes sense.
It’s like faith or love.
You may not be able to describe her in earthly words, but you know she is there.
Music, as well as art, transcend the labels and boundaries we place on the human experience.
Just, let the goddess hold your pen.
Wrapping it up: Release the Muse inside you
Although I hadn’t heard the Prayer to the Muse, I was familiar with the ‘Prayer before Study’ by St. Thomas Aquinas, which I’d heard could do wonders for nervous writers.
In the spirit of mounds of appreciation for the inspiration, speaking a prayer before I start working in the evening for my side hustle helps me to relax and get in a flow state.
As creators, we often face serious struggles that come with our craft.
Our worst enemy is resistance — meaning self-doubt, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, self-sabotage — that holds us back from doing our creative work.
If you think you have been put on this Earth to write, give the Prayer of the Muse a try to release the Muse inside you.
Don’t waste your superpowers or God-given talents.
The world needs them right now more than ever.
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