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The muse is a fickle thing; some writers believe that this is what gives them their creativity, and the writer is merely a mouthpiece. The muse has been known to pelt the writer with tomatoes and other things, or to nag them until they finally do what the muse tells them to do. All writers know about the muse, and many complain about this fickle beast. Writer's block is often attributed to the muse.
The muse is useful because it provides the writer an out. It alleviates the stress of being the one solely responsible for creative outcomes. The muse allows a writer a tangible idea to blame for shortcomings in creativity. Can't seem to put together two words? The muse must be playing games with the writer! All the ideas the writer has ever had suddenly missing? Where did the muse disappear to this time?
However, the muse can also be a very helpful entity. While, at times, it can seem like the writer and the muse are on two totally different pages at others the muse will prove to be a very willing assistant. Not only does the muse provide a scapegoat but it also brings new ideas, sometimes when they are least expected.
The name "muse" comes from the Greek Muses, the nine goddesses of art and creativity.
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