Writing Exercise: A Letter to Your Muse

I started TA work on Tuesday for an Honors Intro to Creative Writing course with Dr Laura Hamblin. In the two class periods that have taken place so far, I already have about five items I want to port over as blog entries. We’ll start with this exercise, where you will write a letter to your muse.

Muse letter exercise.

A Letter to Your Muse

Bare-bones description: In this exercise, you will write a letter where you ask for your muse’s help and make commitments on what you will do to earn your muse’s favor.

What this exercise accomplishes: The goal of this exercise is to help writers identify what makes them feel creatively in-tune, approach their creative resources proactively, and to accomplish these goals in a creative framework.

Exercise Details

You will be following in the tradition of these epic writers as you write a letter to your own muse. However, rather than choosing one of the nine muses from Greek mythology, you will choose something or someone in your life that makes you feel creatively ignited. This can be anything from a specific album to a place you like to write to a favorite artist or an element of your own life. Some of my favorite examples from students include “the Spirit of Adventure,” ” Honest Souls,” and “the Shower.”

Beyond thanking your muse and asking for its help, you will use this letter to tell your muse what you’re going to do to earn the creative assistance you seek. List at list three things you will do in the coming weeks to earn the favor of your muse. This can be as simple as using the muse appropriate (e.g., turning on the album before you write if your muse is an album), as mundane as actually taking the time to write on a regular basis, or as complex as traveling to a foreign country. Take your pick, but list at least three things that are your responsibility.

Use this letter as an opportunity for creative expression.. Write in the voice you enjoy writing in. Enjoy!

(A full lesson on this topic is coming soon.)

The rules of the assignment:

If  were grading you, these would be the criterion that determined your point total.

Point total: 10

  • Structure this content as a letter, including a salutation and sign-off. (1)
  • Identify something in your life that is a “muse,” and address that muse by name. (1)
  • Express gratitude for your muse, specifying ways in which that muse helps open up your creative mind. (2)
  • Call on your muse to help you accomplish your current or upcoming creative tasks. Be specific about what these tasks are! (2)
  • Specify a minimum of three (3) things you will do to earn your muse’s favor.  (3)
  • Approach this assignment as an opportunity or creative expression. (1)
  • Keep within the general suggested length, and use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. (1)

Suggested length: 250 to 500 words

Suggested exercise duration: 15 to 45 minutes

Example content: Dear Pain (my letter to my muse)

This exercise was shamelessly stolen from Dr Laura Hamblin; while I’ve done a bit of fine-tuning and made a few additions, I deserve no credit for the core idea. You can find out more about Dr Laura Hamblin on her spotlight page. (Link coming soon.)

You’re more than welcome to post your letter in the comments section of this page. If you have a blog where you would prefer to post your response content, post that in a comment along with a brief description of the site we’ll be visiting. Interesting in staying tuned for future exercises, activities, and lessons? Be sure to sign up for the CWC (details below).

Write on,

Rob D Young