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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Freeing of the Muse

Lately my muse has been an elusive, sullen creature that simply would not speak to me no matter how hard I pushed, goaded, or bribed it. All the ideas I had for novels didn't appeal to me. My characters refused to talk to me. Writers, you think it's bad when the voices in your head won't shut up? Wait for the deafening silence that falls when they finally do. I refused to think of it as writer's block. I had never had writer's block. I don't get it. So I thought. I told myself I needed to research more, outline better, force the creative muscle to work. My muse laughed at my attempts while drinking Rum Runners on a Caribbean beach far, far out of my reach.

Then came a shiny new idea. But it wasn't what I was supposed to be writing. It made me stop and evaluate the turn of my career, and where that turn had taken me so far. More importantly, it made me look at where I wanted my career to go. And I realized I had taken a wrong turn. Don't get me wrong, the detour was exciting, fun, and I learned and grew as a writer. It was a good side trip. But the shiny new idea sang to me, enticed me, then all but screamed at me until I stepped back on the right path. My muse came back, handed me a Rum Runner of my own, and rolled up his sleeves as if to say, "I'm back, baby."

Have you ever taken a side trip with your writing? How did it turn out?

11 comments:

  1. Yes, I've taken a side track. I think we all go through 'dry' periods. Even though they are EXCRUCIATINGLY painful, I honestly believe they are necessary for use to grow as artists. (I'm so going through this right now and it stinks!) Artists, whether by word, brush stroke, or bodily motion, are a different breed. We need to allow ourselves to grow in our own way, at our own pace, individually, and as a collective. Glad you're back!

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    1. So very true, and I'm sorry to hear you're going through it right now! A change in focus and getting back to what I love is what did it for me. Hopefully that works for you too.

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  2. I think the more pressure we put on ourselves, the more oppressed the muse becomes, and muses don't do oppression. I used to bounce between whichever project had my interest that day...before becoming published. I've got about 7 books in various stages from between 10K and 40K, just taunting me from the sidelines. And I do occasionally jump lines just to keep things fresh and add a good 10K on one of them rather than my deadline project. It keeps things fresh.

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  3. Last year I needed a break from writing. I needed to just be me. In fact I needed to find "me" again, and did. I returned to yoga--although lately I've been so busy, I can't find the time to do it. But I was doing the other things I loved and had dropped since I began working on my Sabrina Strong series. Since I'd written the 8th one, and began a straight murder mystery, I felt the wheels needed oiling. But those wheels were the me inside that needed expressing. I did some crafting, some outdoors work, walks, and so on. I told myself, that I'd take the rest of 2015 off. It worked. I came back to writing with a vengeance, and the ideas are non-stop.

    Good luck with your new venture, Heather. I hope things work out for you.

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    1. So glad to hear you got your groove back, Lorelei! My foray into historical was fun, and I learned a lot and grew as a writer, but now that I'm back to writing fantasy it feels like coming home.

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  4. This is something I need to reflect on. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, my dear! I hope it helps.

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  5. Heather, You are so awesome to figure this out to open so many new doors! With wisdom comes inspiration.

    You know, sometimes those detours are thrown at us and we have a choice to feel sorry and live there, or look at the next adventure...a lost job, a failed relationship, our house burned down... maybe even a medical issue. But finding the wisdom of going down that new path when we have no choice is one thing. It's a sink or swim option. (some do choose to tread water in the bad fortune) But, so many people have lost their life muse, and they just muddle through without getting anywhere. Kind of like a characters without voices.

    As an author, you have figured that out through your writing. Isn't that a great correlation from our characters losing their voices that stop talking to us, that it's time to move on... to our life choices?

    I have yet to be upside down with my writing because my life and far too many challenges keep the inspiration alive. I wonder (and so much admire) those creative thinkers that are home writing as a full time job how they do it. Hands off to you all! Because, I sometimes feel like a cheat on inspiration... the dysfunction around me gives me so many ideas... my challenge is learning "how to" communicate in the best manner possible.

    My third novel (Flight For Survival) if you have time, there might be 3 chapters in there with a huge meeting that I might have had a month after the book was published. Anticipation for a huge and scary event was worked through in my writing. Trust me, it ended better in the book than real life... but the reality created the next level of inspiration. So, even when things don't go our way, our little muse is jumping for joy saying, "Alright! Nobody loves perfect, and you could not have thought of this yourself!"

    Keep that must alive and take her down many paths!!

    Karlene

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    1. Thank you for the inspiration, Karlene! You're right, we have to follow our muse where they go.

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  6. My muse has been a bit of a jerk lately, too. I'm excited to hear what your new path is!

    My news this week is that Martinis with the Devil is coming out next month! My agent gave me the go ahead to release it. Woot! So, I think now that I finally have a clear path ahead, I'll be full speed ahead with the muse :)

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