Most writers will tell you about their muse if you ask. Some have names, some live in certain areas of the house, some are…not so nice. Carrie Peters is here to tell you about her muse, and how she went missing one day.
I know, I know. How much can people really write about writer’s block? A lot. =) Why? Because it happens for all sorts of reasons – trauma, health problems, tiredness, life in general. One morning you wake up, sit in front of a blank screen and…you draw a blank. Your muse has left the building.
Don’t have a muse? I bet you do. =) You might not realize it, but when you’re driving along and suddenly an idea pops into your head for a terrific story line? Yup, that’s your muse.
Muses come in all shapes and sizes, colors and forms, but one thing they are is fickle. Made your muse mad, and she/he will take off for a few weeks in Aruba. And suddenly your deadline is looming and you don’t have a single thought in your head. What happened to my characters? Why did they desert me?
They didn’t. Your muse did. And she’s having a wonderful time kicking up her heels in the sand and surf on a tiny island somewhere, completely ignoring the fact you have a deadline and an editor with a tap tap tapping pen.
Okay, you say, so how do I get my muse back?
That’s the million dollar question. =) And I’m afraid there’s no single, simple answer.
Then why the heck am I writing this blog post? To tell you about MY muse, how she’s gone missing, and how she’s just now sticking her toe out, testing the waters to see if maybe now is a good time to come back.
It is, by the way. =) Nano is looming, and for the first time in two years, I actually wrote two entire pages of…well, it wasn’t a story as much as it was rambling lines of schmuck, but I wrote. Two. Whole. Pages.
Two years ago, I had some major life changes. Not to bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, everything changed. My address, my life, my everything – all changed. And my muse was having none of it. I had no idea of a story line, no characters were lined up to interrupt my shower or my commute, there was simply nothing. Where once before ideas bloomed as quickly as dandelions under a hot June sun, now everything was black. Deep, dense, impenetrable, black.
Oh, I called out for my muse – and my calls went unanswered. They hit that black wall of nothingness and disappeared. Occasionally I’d sit down with a toddy, keyboard lined up just so, blank Word document at the ready.
And…nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada.
No fair! Once upon a time I had characters lined up like customers at a busy restaurant, waiting to be written into a story. I could easily start 3-4 stories at any time, pop into one of Jen and Becke’s write-a-thons without a whimper and still flex my writing muscle by doing a post for RU. No big deal.
Until suddenly it was.
And how did I fix it? *I* didn’t. Not really.
Slowly, life started to come back to normal. A new normal. Work hours stabilized, life hours stabilized, once again things became routine. My cats, bless their little furry paws, started settling into their new daily routine. I started to gain control over my life again. It’s still messy to be sure, but it was messy before. =)
And then, just the other night, there she was. A little glimmer in the passenger seat of my truck. What if, she said, what if you’d gotten into a car accident, ended up in a coma and when you awoke, you didn’t know anybody.
I restrained a snort. Boy, that’s an oldie but goodie. But since she was finally speaking to me again, I let the idea roll around a bit. “What if I didn’t know anybody, but one of them was my husband?”
I winced. Still, an oldie but goodie. Possibly written into thousands and thousands of stories. But hey, it was an idea. The first idea I’d had in two years. Now was not the time to back away from smarmy tropes. I’d take anything.
And what if, my muse said again, still speaking in that barely audible whisper, what if he was the one who tried to kill you in the first place?
And my mind was off and running. I don’t remember much of the ride home, only a sudden flood of ideas, characters and settings. I let it simmer for two days, then finally opened a blank Word document. I put my fingers on the keyboard, and the words…the words came. You can’t imagine – or maybe you can! – the wonderful feeling of being able to move ideas from your mind to paper.
The writing was atrocious and rambling, the characters stilted with their words. Everybody was basically naked and standing in the middle of nowhere, because I apparently STILL forget to put in setting and details when writing, saving it for last.
But I wrote.
And my muse, she’s still here. I think she might want to dig a little further into this murder mystery, and then…then she’s going to finally remember she’s much better at romantic comedy.
I’ll give her time. She’s been patient enough with me, waiting for me to get my life back on track. I can absolutely give her time to get her ducks back into the water as well.
For me, getting my muse back took time. As much time as was needed. To everyone else, that’s going to be different. Maybe your health takes a turn for the better, maybe you get a new job that gives you more free time.
Give it time. It’s worth waiting for.
Tell me about YOUR muse? Name? Gender? Come on, you know you want to…
Bio: Carrie Peters writes smart ass romance. She belongs to Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers Online and was a former Girl Scout. Her badges included Collecting, Leadership and the coveted World Trefoil Pin. Carrie works as a restaurant manager, bookcover and website designer, and is learning how to use a flat iron. Her claims to fame include: doing 50-pound bicep curls, stirring up a mean Mai Tai and concocting an even meaner Long Island Iced Tea. She lives in rural Iowa with three cats. For more about Carrie, head over to http://smartassromance.com/, http://cheekycovers.com or http://monarchcottages.com
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