Your muse is a jealous lover, and the pact you enter into with her is dangerous, all-consuming, and demands your dedication. She won’t be cast aside and wait patiently for you to return to her. She’ll snatch you away from more pressing matters with a sudden burst of inspiration and that itch to write at the base of your skull. Or she’ll leave you, let you stagnate in front of a blank page for weeks, if you do not give her the constant attention that she demands.
To appease my muse, I think I will go to a cafe and sit quietly and listen to her, pen in hand, free from other distractions. Maybe then she’ll learn to love me again . . .
A word of warning: As writers, we are creators, gods . . . but only in our rooms, at our desks, on the pages we write. In the real world, we are just another human being trying to sell a commodity we believe other people need, and writers-in-training would do well to remember this when dealing with publishers. No indignant rants, please, no streams of complaints, perfectionist critiques, or snobbish appearances. They do not want your book badly enough to bow to your godliness.
Get on a computer and design the dream cover of your finished book. Print it out and tack it to the wall above where you write. Imagine the way it will feel in your hands, thick and heavy and hot off the presses. Imagine stacking them on shelves like bricks with their beautiful glossy spines shouting your name over and over in authoritative lettering. Imagine a stranger finding it in a bookstore and thumbing through it, wondering if they should buy it.
Repeat every time you find yourself losing interest in your work.
My life has suddenly ceased being a linear plot from beginning to end. Subplots twist out like tendrils, leading down confusing rabbit trails and threatening to plunge me into inescapable plot holes. This is exhausting.
It is amazing how everyone I know seems to think the only way they can connect with me is through speaking about writing. If I am lonely, they will tell me to use the opportunity to write and everything will be better. If I am doubting my self-worth, I am treated to speeches about how good of a writer I will one day be. It has really become my image – and perhaps this is not an entirely good thing.
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. – Issac Asimov
The problems arise when one starts thinking with her fingers better than she does with her brain . . .
I realized that for a long time I have been thinking in terms of what audiences would want to read, rather than what I really wanted to write. Maybe this is why my writing has been suffering lately . . . Now that the problem has been isolated, it will be dealt with immediately.
The difficulty faced when trying to accumulate research for a story is directly proportional to the awesomeness of the potential idea itself.
After watching Fight Club for the first time last night, I have found it necessary to completely revamp my latest story idea due to an unforeseen glaring similarity to the movie. This has happened to me many times, including the time I was dissuaded from writing about an orphaned character with a scar on his forehead which hurt at the approach of supernatural danger after I discovered Harry Potter.
The moral of this story: no matter how original your work is, there will always be an Evil Twin out there somewhere, waiting to pour deluges of potential copyright infringements on your Muse’s head.
“I don’t think you realize how far you are going to go …”
A friend told me this today in relation to my writing. He was right – I don’t realize it. At moments like this, with scattered little carcasses of story ideas scattered mangled and half-eaten inside my empty head, I see no reason I should go any farther than anyone else.