O! For a Muse of Fire

Gratuitous pouting hottie photo.

Gratuitous pouting hottie photo.

I’m not sure who to hold responsible for my erratic inspiration – Erato, the Greek muse of love poetry, or Jensen Ackles, whose dimples have launched a thousand story ideas. Either way, I’d appreciate a little more consistency. And I’d be happy to make my complaint to Jensen in person.

In the meantime, I’m stuck with a constantly fluctuating level of interest in whatever I happen to be working on at the time. 15,000 words is a tricky spot, for instance – it’s around that point in every WIP that I get bored, feel like it’s a terrible manuscript with tedious characters and wouldn’t it be awesome to write any one of the other 137 embryonic story ideas I have at any one time?

There’s also an inverse relationship between my creativity and the level of activity in my real life. If work is quiet and there’s nothing too exciting on the social horizon, my word count explodes, as if I’m investing all that extra brain space into the story. On the other hand, if there’s a lot going on at work or at home my commitment to the fictional realm plummets, with zero after zero going into my word tracking spreadsheet. We’re currently in the middle of buying a house, work is frantic ahead of the end of the financial year, and oh, I’m 17 weeks pregnant. Guess how the current WIP is going? I’ll give you a clue – it makes a snail look like a Formula 1 car.

I would love to know how other authors do it, especially those writing full-time and on contract deadlines. Have they learned how to wrestle their muse to the ground and slap him until he begs for mercy? Other than “write something every day,” what are some good techniques to keep the inspiration flowing more like a garden hose than a leaking faucet? Jensen, Erato and I are all ears!


O! For a Muse of Fire — 13 Comments

  1. You have every reason to struggle with all that’s going on in your life. Once things have calmed down, I’m sure your muse will come alive. What a fun, honest post. Congrats on the pregnancy!!

  2. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope you’re feeling well and getting over the nausea and fatigue of the first trimester (It’s been 26 years exactly since I last gave birth–my daughter’s birthday is today–and I still remember distinctly.) It’s no wonder your WIP is moving at the pace of a glacier with all you’ve got going on in your life. Take the time to enjoy the pregnancy and take of yourself. Like Liz said, the writing will come. I don’t have any profound words of wisdom other than to trust yourself about the current WIP and don’t let doubt make you abandon it for some shiny new plot bunny. All the best!

  3. Congratulations on the pregnancy, Rebecca. Enjoy every moment. It feels like yesterday when I was pregnant with my daughter and today I’m a grandmother (a very young one :)).

    Whenever the muse/time deserts me, I write in 5 minute bursts. Nothing more than 5 minutes at a time. After the third time I’m in the middle of a sentence when the 5 minutes is up, frustration takes over and the muse usually (not always) returns. Hope that helps.

    • That’s great advice Ylette, I’ll have to try it. I do think there’s something daunting about sitting down and thinking, “right, I need 1000” words – maybe a five-minute limit would feel more manageable.

  4. Congratulations, Rebecca!

    I wish I knew the answer to that. My personal life always seems to explode right when I’m on a book deadline. I’m already overdue on my latest deadline so all I can do is take it one day at a time, deal with whatever can no longer be ignored, then power back on with the writing as soon as the emergencies are dealt with. Everything else (reading, TV, sleeping, friends) just has to take a back seat.

  5. Congrats on the house and the little one on the way! Yay! Oh, and thank you for the gratuitous photo of the pouting hottie. We can always use that. LOL. I also have that problem where when I get to a certain word count I begin to slack off. In my case, it’s usually more laziness than boredom. That’s where things start to get hard and it begins to feel like actual work. 😉

  6. OMG, I feel tired just listening to you! There was NO way in hell I could’ve written anything while I was pregnant; holding down a job was enough of a challenge!

    All I can do is send you a massive cyber hug and remind you that you can eat an elephant one bite at a time. Make lists, prioritize and don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s mostly all small stuff except for the pregnancy and the new house…:-)

    Just don’t burn out. Writing and working was hard enough for me and I came very close to it; it’s not pretty. Add a munchkin and the the tough factor goes through the roof. Just be kind to yourself ‘k?

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