Tag Archives: inspiration

Fighting the Muse

I’m fighting with my Muse.

The Muses dancing with Apollo, by Baldassare Peruzzi (source: Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve been fighting with her for several weeks now. There is project due at the end of January and as hard as I try to be disciplined about it I just can’t seem to make any progress. This usually happens when I’m writing on a theme and can’t come up with a marketable idea. That was the last one of these projects – great ideas – all of them completely wrong for the publisher.

This time, the idea isn’t the problem. The idea is sound. I have the characters, the plot, everything. I have notes and outlines – what I don’t have is words. I started writing last month, wrote the beginning, realized that I needed to make the plot move faster in the first few pages, figured out what was wrong and then just stalled.

Nothing… for days… weeks…

So today I decided to play with Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die application. I’m not really a competitive person but every now and again something comes along that amuses me and make me not want to lose. I know that when I have to I can write and write and write. It might be junk but I can always put words on paper.

The app feeds into that vanity.

So – this morning I started, using Write or Die to help me tease out my Muse and get this project moving. Like an infusion of caffeine in the morning it is making my little gray cell hop to it.

Which worked!

I wrote something mostly crap but it was crap that was headed the right direction.

The point of freewriting, timed writing, and Write or Die is to quiet the judges in our heads. Kill the critics that are tearing apart every sentence, work, and thought. To go to that place where the magic happens, and the ideas flow from brain to hands without any filters.

It’s funny – every story is different and the path of how the story is written is unique. I never seem to be able to find a process and repeat it. Someday I may figure out how to do this job – but where would be the fun in that?

~ Tess Anderson

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NaNoWriMo Week IV: Inspiration!

I’ve been giving inspiration a lot of thought this month. Partly because I’ve been writing 4 to 6 posts for my blogs every week, partly because I blew a bunch of deadlines last month, and partly because I haven’t written a word for NaMoWriMo in weeks. And the clock is ticking!

What is working is that I’m writing every day! What isn’t working is that I have yet to balance my blog posts with my fiction writing life. Everyday – except Fridays and Saturdays – I get up and write one or more essays. That means that every day I have to have a new thought, a new idea to research, or something new to say. It feels like work – but fun engaging work that I’d do for free (oh, and look I am doing it for free).

But while the blogs are going well my fiction work is suffering. The deadlines I blew off last month are gone, but new ones are on the horizon and I need to get working on them or they too will zip past me. Last month I felt worn and my ideas tired and shapeless. This month I’m revitalized… so I should use that and get to work.

I’ve always believed in the power of panic!

Maybe for me panic is my Muse. That is why I love deadlines and have such a hard time writing things that either don’t have a home or only the possibility of one. Sending words out into the ether seems to be a leap of faith – and I am not one of the faithful.

The end of the month is approaching and I have yet to write anything… since I killed the original story. It isn’t time – I have time – it is something else. It isn’t a lack of ideas – I have tons of those too – it’s more about wadding through them and trying to decide which ones have legs and which ones don’t.

So what is left?

It isn’t inspiration I am lacking – but discipline. Learning to be a writer is a process – learning to produce each day, day in day out, is one of the most valuable lessons I can think to learn… and I’m learning it…but I still have a ways to go. I know this – I’ve known this forever. When I get up in the morning I am responsible only for myself (and the cat – but Minerva’s pretty low maintenance) and that means that every moment I spend working is only for me – I don’t have a “job” where I’m responsible for things outside myself.

Everything – creativity, inspiration, discipline – all comes from inside.

Just me, the computer, and the stories… so… the question this week is can I write 50,000 words by the end of November? Of course! I’ve done it before I can do it again.

The value of panic!

~ Tess

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