Posted On September 19, 2016 by Print This Post

My Muse Went to Aruba, Now What do I Do? by Carrie Peters

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.

Woot.

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?

Bingo.

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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10 Responses to “My Muse Went to Aruba, Now What do I Do? by Carrie Peters”

  1. My “muse” is on a one-way train. I’m on the same train though. However, he/she/it won’t let me write anything other than my current WiP–and a post once in a while and comments. I feel as though I’m trudging through a marsh, getting caught up in weeds and branches with every step when working on my WiP. He/she/it refuses to go any faster. Maybe once the weather is really cooler, this “muse” will speed up a little.

    Posted by Glynis Jolly | September 19, 2016, 11:20 am
    • lol…do you remember the scene from Romancing the Stone? Where he finally hands her the machete and says “go head if you think you can do better!” and she whacks and hacks and slogs her way through.

      That’s what your post reminds me of. =) Muses enjoy the slogging I swear. =)

      thanks for commenting Glynis!

      carrie

      Posted by Carrie Peters | September 19, 2016, 9:18 pm
  2. I saw the title and was gonna say, “If your muse is in Aruba, why not join her?” I mean, why should she have all the fun, right?

    My problem is when my muse leaves, I have NO IDEA where she went. Although I do find that she loves the shower. And the bed. Especially the bed.

    I haven’t named my muse and she hasn’t given me one to call her. Probably better that way. Don’t want her to think I depend on her or anything.

    Posted by Stacy McKitrick | September 19, 2016, 6:41 pm
    • Muses, they wander off at the darndest times….If I’d known she was headed to Aruba (and if I could have gotten time off work!) I’d definitely be there. Mine simply disappeared in the middle of the night and sent no forwarding address.

      My muse loves to wander in the bedroom about 2am, whisper an idea in my ear, then giggle when I say “I’m going to remember that when I wake up!”

      Because I never do….=)

      Muses have quite the wicked sense of humor.

      Thanks for the comment Stacy!

      carrie

      Posted by Carrie Peters | September 19, 2016, 9:20 pm
  3. Good post, Carrie.

    My muse never left, but finding the time to write with all that’s going on is difficult. I’ve finished stories and outlined future ones in my head, but parking myself at the computer and getting the words down is the hardest part.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 19, 2016, 9:22 pm
    • Finding the time is a tough one, I agree. It seems I wake up and run, and stop only when I fall asleep. That’s not altogether true, but it feels that way. And I KNOW your life is just as crazy!

      I once worked with a program called Write or Die…I could set a time for however long I wanted, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. And then type like mad. If I sat without typing for too long, the program would remind me to get a move on. That program accomplished a LOT for me when I thought I had no time…10 min once or twice a day and I was off and running…

      Best of luck to you Jen, finding time is so so hard!

      carrie

      Posted by Carrie Peters | September 19, 2016, 11:09 pm
  4. Oh my gosh, I soooo love this post! I totally believe in the Power of the Muse. At one point, my muse took physical form – a rabbit puppet named Hugo Montmorency. He was a very inspiring muse, and during his reign I wrote thousands upon thousands of words.

    The kids play with him now and I think he has transferred his muse powers to helping them learn to speak. I’ll have to find a new muse, but I suspect all the alternate muses are keeping yours company in Aruba. Or the Highlands of Scotland. Or wherever. 🙂

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | September 20, 2016, 10:17 pm
  5. I’ve never relied on a muse. There have been times when I didn’t write because I had too many stressful things going on, but I didn’t blame it on anything other than “I’ve got too many stressful things going on to deal with a keyboard right now”. To me, writer’s block and/or losing the muse is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We hit a speed bump and OMG! Writer’s block! Yet it never seems to stop people from blogging or posting to writing forums or writing reports for work or any number of other writing. Tell ourselves we can’t write and lo and behold – we can’t.

    Posted by S Ostgard | October 16, 2016, 9:32 pm

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