Friday, 24 April 2009

Where's My Muse?

One of the members of my crit group had a bad week and threw up her hands, and her laptop probably and said, 'That's it, I can't write' and resigned from the group.

Don't we all have days like that? I certainly do. When the writing muse deserts you for a while and that last crit threw you for a loop as you worked for hours to make that conflict solution clear, but someone seemed to think otherwise and they don't like your heroine. [Whiney brat was one description I received]

You keep plugging away and sending out those darned queries and all you get back is form rejections addressed to 'Dear Author' The house is untidy because you simply don't see it anymore and who has the time when there is all this dialogue to write. The family thinks you are anti-social and obsessed because you miss whole conversations and when someone says,'Did you see that?' they follow it immediately with, 'No of course you didn't, you're too busy bashing away at that keyboard'.

Besides, none of them think you will get anywhere anyway, after all, 'Everyone thinks they can write a book', don't they?

Yet surprising things happen even after the worst days, and deep down, we all know we will be back again tapping away at the old keys. [I wear the letters off mine regularly] because we have to. It's who we are!

Oh, and our despondent writer is back in the group, after all that's what we are for isn't it? Writing is a solitary, often demoralising occupation because you need constant validation and feedback. Sometimes that feedback can be hard to take and you lose all motivation. But with writers, the obsessive/compulsive ones certainly - it doesn't last.


Julie Conner said...

Anita, your over-analyzing sentence struck a nerve with something I've been struggling with lately. I think I need to seek professional help for over-analyzing everything. Errant phone numbers on the cell phone bill, a frown when I think there should be a smile, clothes people wear, my mood--each come with a different story that my imagination and analyzing skills run away with. I swear I was born to be a writer. Who else would notice the pigeons living on the roof of Walmart, and casually tell their son that they're security birds employed by the store to catch shop-lifters in the parking lot? They have tiny cameras strapped to their legs and are trained to swoop down and peck you to death if you steal from the store. I received the typical eye roll and, "Oh Mo-om." for my troubles. Am I the only one here cursed and blessed by this vivid imagination and over-thinking attention to detail? I believe I'm driving my family and myself crazy, so if anyone
has any advice short of a Zanax prescription, I'm all ears!

Lisa Logan said...

I think we can't officially call ourselves "writers" until we have at least ONE throwing-up-our-hands moment! It's a tough game, but the rewards are great--and needn't be limited by one definition of "success" if we but allow ourselves a more relaxed approach. Hey, if you finish a book, you've found the pleasure of being a successful writer--whether or not that manuscript hit the NY Times Bestseller list.

Just keep plugging away, refine your craft, and believe in yourself. If you spend time worrying and over-analyzing during the process, you've robbed yourself of much of the joy of being a writer in the first place--creating a compelling tale!


N. Gemini Sasson said...

When I turned 13 and announced that I wanted to be a writer some day, someone close to me told me I'd never make it. It took almost three decades before I became brave enough to share my work, but I did it gradually, beginning first with non-fiction articles and later joining a critique group. By the time I put it in more public places, I was more confident about my writing - although if it comes on a bad day I still can't say it doesn't sting a little to be on the receiving end of harsh words.

Only another writer can understand how important it is to receive encouragement, especially when we don't YET have the validation of our books in print. Still, I'm sure many a now-successful author got some of those harsh words along the way condemning them to failure. Ralph Keyes' "The Writer's Book of Hope" has some great examples of that very thing.

Kim Smith said...

This is an excellent post! I would love to post it on my blog. Can I?

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Artists are allowed to be moody! That is all I will say on the matter...