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!