Sunday, November 16, 2014

Muse is a bad girl

Recently a writer friend of mine wrote an adorable essay on Muse. Like many of us who hear the voices, she personifies Muse, assigning personality, attitudes and actions. Writers talk about chasing the Muse because it feels like we do.

I see capturing the Muse as when the story takes flight in my mind and I can’t type fast enough to catch up. I am swept along on a magic ride, the words that flow are evocative, not common. While in this euphoric state of writing I can pause to drink, even eat, take care of bathroom stuff, as long as my mind can remain focused in the story it keeps flowing. Someone can walk through my space but if they say one word to me, the entire world shatters around me.

I am drop kicked into the real world. The horrible thing is, I can’t jump back into story world. It can’t be done. This is a wrenching loss and my natural reaction to being ejected because someone insists on the inane practice of speaking to me, is anger.

So for me, a huge problem is auditory interruptions that require my attention. However, if I slide out of the world on my own, it’s not so painful.

My dream writing environment is an ocean view and being completely alone. I could write a first draft in a week if allowed this freedom. Once I had a very similar environment, a week long, and did come out with the first draft of a novel that was later published. It was amazing. The writing controlled my world and I could let it decide when to sleep, when to write, when to eat.

But life does not hand us the optimum environment to surrender to Muse, so we chase it.

For me, and I qualify this because every writer should be different, waiting for Muse, or chasing Muse must to be rejected. I cannot allow Muse to control my writing time. So I do this by changing my relationship with Muse in my mind. We are a team but I am the one who decides when we work. And here is the hard part, Muse is not permitted to throw a tantrum if we have to stop working.

Requiring my creativity to grow up seems to have worked so far. I am unsure of the ultimate outcome because I have only managed to impose control on Muse around five months. It started as an experiment that got me the rough draft for Perfectly Exposed. Testing the practice I dragged another story out of the Me and Muse partnership. Amazing, two manuscripts (rough drafts but still) in under six months.

Muse is the obviously my inner child. Opening the magic door that lets her out is still tricky business but I can control it. Requiring Muse behave seems to be my key.

So not a big surprise, Muse often behaves badly, as does any child-like personality. Getting control of childish responses increases productivity. Brilliant, aren’t I? LOL However, this is a personal journey almost every creative person struggles with. Finding my key might help someone else find theirs.

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