Faulty Muse Alert
Why is The Muse, my creative self, so fragile? There are a lot of writers out there pumping out novels, and it feels like being left behind. I haven’t finished a manuscript in Yoda knows how long. I mean I can go through millions of excuses, but excuses aren’t helpful and will only be recycled for next year. What’s the real blockage? History tells me I am capable. I have several completed projects; five novels — the first three for a murder mystery series inspired by “Twin Peaks”, and two in my “The ImmorTales” series.
I need a mental reset and purge muse kryptonite to move forward. Back when I completed said manuscripts, life was pretty quiet — writing and running a local writing group. My focus was pretty solid. Over the years, more and more commitments piled onto my plate, from the realms of health, household, and treating writing as a business. Treating writing as a business is fruitless if there is no product to sell. My priorities need to shift. Obviously, health-related stuff is non-negotiable but everything else is on the table. Am I self-sabotaging? Many successful writers have insanely busy lives. Why does my muse falter when it comes to the novel? Flash fiction is fine: Blogging With The Muse.
The Quest For Joy
Successful authors like Sarra Cannon talk about writers needing to find joy. Doing activities that make you happy helps with creative productivity. When I try brainstorming a list, I come up blank. Life feels like jumping from one chore to another. Instead, I switched the question around and asked myself in the past what did I enjoy doing? On top of the list are writing, blogging, and helping other writers. At first, they were hard to identify because they are life for me, the mundane, and projects can feel like a love-hate relationship. On introspect, The Muse, my creative self, doesn’t like brain clutter. She needs to wander and wonder. I’ve taken on too much. Brain overloaded. When the pressure is off my interests haven’t changed and The Muse comes out to play.
While writing is a passion, more and more writing-related tasks were added to the to-do list over the last few years as I try thinking like a pro. One blog turned into two. Don’t get me started on the expectation to post on a regular basis. There is also the added pressure to engage in social media. On request, I provided more resources for my writing group. Helping other writers is a secondary passion. I love blogging, creative writing, and helping other writers. As cliche as it sounds, I’ve been a candle burning from both ends. If my focus is stretched too thin and I don’t enjoy life, period. Relaxation is a mirage. The constant stopping and starting of novel work doesn’t work for The Muse and all the other tasks seem to come first. It’s time to slow down, prioritise and evaluate commitments, and explore the ways I am self-sabotaging. Something has to give. In simple terms, we can’t always do everything we desire.
The Muse’s Fertile Environment
The Muse needs a stress-free playground. Negativity is kryptonite to a muse. I spend way too much time on news apps and the algorithms on my YouTube account are no better. The media isn’t our friend. In short, the media peddles hate. Negativity sells. Clickbait. Instant outrage. Granted, some writers are inspired by the outrage, but my brain fixates on crap I can’t change, and I suspect it’s an unconscious distraction from writing. My solution has been simple — delete the news widget off my phone. The compulsion to hit the app lingers, but the app isn’t readily accessible. Admittedly, I relapsed over Queen Elizabeth’s passing. Give me a break, the event was history in the making. I’m off the
crack media now. Ebooks are a fantastic replacement. When I wake up in the morning, I read a chapter instead of strolling through the news. I’m finding my thought patterns for the rest of the day are positive and The Muse is free to cough up creative juices. During the day, when I break, I’m trialling Reddit and spending more time on Discord. Switching from lurker to participant. As for YouTube, I created another account to reset those pesky algorithms.
Sleep is also an undeniable factor. The Muse requires substantial energy. For me, creative work is more taxing on the brain than non-fiction writing. I can’t think when I don’t get enough sleep and become a screen zombie. So, no more staying up until 2am watching “HOT D” (House of the Dragon).
For the last quarter of 2022, I am focusing on me — my dreams and aspirations… date The Muse. I’m taking a hiatus from facilitating the writers’ group to reset my brain and find the joy in writing (often it’s there, but I want consistency). NaNoWriMo is approaching and it would be awesome to pump out a finished manuscript this year. No more stopping and starting. My fickle muse needs attention instead of being shut out. No more excuses. Crack that whip.
Do you have a faulty muse? What is your muse’s kryptonite?
Categories: Writing Battles
Kryptonite for the muse. That’s a great way to put it. I get lost I a lot of the same things. When ideas aren’t forthcoming, my muse zones out and looks for flashing lights (phone games, YouTube, news…). “Ooh, pretty.” It’s like it wants a distraction from its inability to be productive or an excuse to not have to work.
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There are so many options now. Kudos to those who excel at focusing on many things. Unfortunately, it’s not me. “Ooh, pretty” they are so distracted. So many things I want to do. But at the moment, my attention is so divided I’m doing everything half-arsed. Maybe the goal should be happiness rather than write that book? Might fall into play better.
Sounds like you’re in the same boat.
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