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Living With a Difficult Muse

By on Monday, May 9, 2011 in Writing Life | 1 comment

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Still consumed with meeting my 1500 words-per-day quota for my Novel in Six Months Class with Lori Wilde at SavvyAuthors, I thought I would share more of my overwhelming frustrations as I continue to learn how to do this!

I wrote over 8,000 words last week, all in a state of pure terror.  Every morning, I wonder where six more pages of writing is going to come from.  Where does it come from?  Did you ever wonder?

My muse is ornery, difficult, and uncooperative.  Stubborn, too.  She makes my life hell!  What to do with her?  Is there any way to train a muse?

I wish I was the kind of writer who can follow a schedule.  For example, I say, I am going to sit here for four hours and at the end, I’m going to be done.  But no!  At the end of the time, yes, I do have something, but it sucks, and requires more hours of hairpulling and cursing and pacing all about the house to turn it into something resembling coherence.   This is very bad for anyone who has any other responsibilities other than writing.  It makes for a cranky, befrazzled person who feels like she can never get her work done.

I think there is a type of writer who is so gifted so as to be a natural plotter–who can envision the most unique twists and turns, who can create sensational high concept ideas.  A person like this has a highly creative mind and the vision to carry their ideas out.  There is also a writer who makes outlines and sticks to them.  Why couldn’t I have a muse who works like that?  

I am not a natural plotter.  I am the wost panster-plotter ever!  I sit for hours trying to envision, write down, map, plot out, storyboard what on earth is going to happen next to my poor, tortured characters.  Even if I get some semblance of a shoddy outline down, alas, my muse changes drections on me, and it’s back to the drawing board again.

I have no problem with sitting here for hours.  I’ve got that part down!  But now I have to learn the habits of somone who simply cannot afford to take time for tangents and detours and endless redoings.   I’ve got to learn to move.

Having a background in science,  I reflect often on the differences between a life that depends on creative ideas and one that works with “facts.”  There are more similarities than one would at first imagine, and I’m not really saying the two are mutually exclusive, (and science does require creativity and who said science is made of “facts” anyway?) but all that makes for a different blog post.  The biggest difference I can see is that in a writer’s life, your brain has to generate the raw material that makes for the rest of your day.  It’s your imagination that creates what you work on all day.

Sometimes, I wonder if stories are just born to be told in a certain way.  Have you ever had this experience–you are rewriting or re-envisioning a scene.  Maybe you forgot that you’ve done it before.  Have you ever compared the new scene with the old one?  I find that at times the word choices are almost identical.  this always scares me in a creepy way.  Again I wonder, where exactly do these ideas come from?  

I’m hoping this all becomes easier.  That if I just keep at it, I will learn.  The great joys of writing are always balanced by difficulties, just like everything else on this planet.

In the meantime, anybody want to trade muses?