Monday, May 5, 2014

Showing Up

The muse will be here shortly, she's running late.

I've been working on a novel for the past year. As always, some words have been a gift, the rest I've had to work for. When I hear of authors who churn out book after book I can't help looking back at my snail pace and wonder how I could be so deluded to think I was a writer. Wasn't there some threshold to admittance? In the back of my mind there is some measure of daily word count, some formula of X pages per month. What if they find out I've been practicing literature without a license?

Then I just have to take a deep breath and try to relax. I know I am slower. I work at my own pace, I'm diligent. I don't have a deadline; if I did that would make it easier. There's no one making me write this except myself. I know it will be finished when the story has been told.

As I've been keyboarding the novel from my handwritten notebooks I found a few places where I knew I was alone, no muse was coming to save my day, and I just had to dive in and write anyway. I hope this helps you find some motivation to keep writing with or without the muse.

August 4, 2013
I'm dragging this morning. My mind feels mushy. All that clarity from yesterday is gone. I like what I wrote, it finally feels the right direction. I've been sitting here mulling things over in my head so I just need to mull them over on paper. I have a lot of deadlines starting to add up... . Leave that alone. Those are problems outside of this story. Keep this time in the morning for writing, not thinking about all the other things you should be doing.
August 10, 2013
My pen is in my hand. My thoughts are out there somewhere. I wasn't writing. Just sitting here, looking blankly ahead, trying to grasp the random thoughts as they zip by.
Finally I realized I was just procrastinating, so I put my pen to the paper and here these words are. These thoughts were not in my mind a moment ago, but they're here now. It's like magic.
I can see how easy it is for people to attribute this to inspiration, but really it's just showing up at the same time and place every day. I've been doing this consistently for over a month. Yesterday I forgot to set my alarm for 6:00 am but I woke up anyway. Nice how you can develop new habits.
August 31, 2013
I'm not in the mood to write this morning. But I got up at 5:30, drank my protein shake, took my Alleve, settling in. If it wasn't for this all being a habit right now I'd still be in bed. But here I am with my pen and notebook, watching a moth outside in the dark of the morning trying to get to my desk lamp, bumping against the window.
It doesn't matter if the muse shows up or not, at least I'm here.
September 10, 2013
Wow, a blank. I should just put the pen to paper and wait for something to come out. It's like drawing. Things are kind of loose, I start filling in the details, but sometimes there's an area I just can't envision clearly. So I go with it, everything else is looking okay but this one part just bothers me. When I look at the picture my eye goes straight to the part I didn't spend enough time on. That's what this feels like right now. There are things I don't know about the characters.

So I write, muse or no muse. And every day I'm that much closer.

Have you had a difficult time writing when the muse doesn't show up? What do you do to get the words out?


  1. Julia Cameron says writing morning pages helps with block....

    1. Yes, when you commit to a schedule it cuts through resistance.