Anna Questerly

Anna Questerly
Bookseller and bibliophile turned author, Anna Questerly writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart kids and young hearts. For adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Managing Your Muse

Is there a book inside of you? Does it tickle your consciousness occasionally, or pound on the inside of your skull as you try to go to sleep? That, my friend, is your muse trying to get your attention.

Classical mythology gave us the muses: Calliope, Mneme, Erato to name a few. These goddesses of the arts, these ancient thought-provokers, are as fickle and capricious as the rest of the Parthenon. That time-worn advice still holds, “Beware of gods bearing gifts.”

Muses are notorious for hounding writers with their many fabulous ideas and then, once we actually attempt to capture those ideas in writing, our muse vanishes just when we need her most. Our poor, half-written story then languishes in a drawer or on our hard drive, never to see the golden light of a riveted reader’s lamp. Our dreams of becoming a writer dashed yet again. Our dented ego pulls the covers over her head and hides from the world while those mischievous goddesses giggle.

It doesn't have to be that way. Whether it’s a children’s story, a fantastical wonderland, an erotic love story, or a stunning murder mystery, let me show you how to manage your muse and get that story out of your head and onto the page.

After many years of living and working in corporate America, being subjected to required reading (Remember Who Moved My Cheese?), technology workshops, training classes, team-building exercises, corporate retreats, along with the myriad of management books we read on our own, we now own the skills, not only to run a business, but to make our dreams of authorship come true.

Rejoice! Those boring meetings were not all for naught. We can use these well-earned skills to create characters, plots, settings, and conflict. By applying this knowledge along with our imaginations, we have all we need to write a novel. I know; I've done it and I’m still doing it and, trust me, although it’s one of the most demanding undertakings I've ever attempted, it’s also been a magical journey and one of my most rewarding accomplishments to date.

Over the following weeks, I’ll be posting new ways to modify those boring old business skills to harness our creativity so we can bring those amazing story ideas, dancing around the edges of our minds, onto the page.

My muse came up with this idea while I listened to a pod-cast by Roy Peter Clark author of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer produced by the Poynter Institute’s School for Journalism. Actually, I found many gems in this podcast and I highly recommend it. (It’s free in iTunes University). One of his suggestions was to write a Mission Statement for your work.

Don’t groan; again I say, “Rejoice!”

While many managers and business leaders have struggled and moaned about writing mission statements for boring jobs, writing one for your own novel is an exercise in pure fun. I’ll go into more detail on mission statements, and even give you an example, in one of the upcoming posts to this blog, but for now I just wanted to share how the concept for this series came to be and give credit to Roy Peter Clark for his role in its origin.

The idea for this blog series came when I realized, it’s not only mission statements we can pilfer from our corporate training. Think about all you've be forced to learn over the years and let me share some strategies on how you can use skills like PowerPoint and spreadsheets, flow charts and schedules, team building and goal setting, and much more, to manage your muse and write the book you've always dreamed of writing.

I’ll say it one more time, “Rejoice!”  Dance around the room with your muse because the two of you are going to finally learn to work together! What a team; imagine the worlds the pair of you can build; envision the knowledge you will both soon share with others; dream of the characters you and your muse will bring into the world.

Are you dancing yet?

As we go forward, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well (I don’t know about you, but many times I enjoy reading the comments more than the actual blogs), so please feel free to comment.


  1. I'm looking forward to your series. :-)

  2. Thanks, Laurel! I plan to post each Sunday. 😄

  3. Oh, how I know that playful muse!!! How I want sometimes to kiss and hug her until I smother her. Then there are times I just want to wrap my fingers around her neck and squeeze it...The best nick name I have for mine is Hide-and-Seek Queen (HASQ as in husky ;)) Looking forward to the next post and thanks so much for sharing <3

  4. Thanks, Camelia! I've never named my muse, but I'm going to now...I'll post it once find the right name