Don't fight the muse...join her
I’m learning not to fight the muse…though I seem to be having many arguments with inanimate objects recently. Typing this stings a bit, as my right ring finger got stuck in a grocery cart 2 days ago, right before the guy loading it yanked it forward. OUCH! It’s black and blue.
Months ago during a cleaning frenzy–an attempt to keep my mind occupied after submitting my third book to editors–the window blinds in my living room attempted to eat me. (Yes, you read that correctly. And while it may be difficult to picture, I assure you those things looked like they had mini jaws attacking me.)
These things make me wonder if I’m losing more battles than I’m winning. But one thing is clear…you have to roll with the punches when it comes to creativity. You can’t force it, you can’t ignore it. You’re either excited about what you’re creating/doing, or you’re not. That’s not to say that you should stop putting the time/effort into it, or that you should start a new book idea every time your current manuscript starts to taste a bit dull.
BUT…if your current work in progress is not going anywhere, and all various attempts to rekindle it are not working (write a new, upbeat scene with tension; jump into some dialogue to freshen things up, kill a character, etc.) then it’s not that bad of an idea to take a break. Listen to some music. Read a great book. Explore all different ways of storytelling, even ones you wouldn’t normally use yourself.
Anyone a film buff out there? I’d suggest you go see “Slumdog Millionaire” when you get a chance. It’s disturbing in some ways, but I will say this: It’s an incredibly unique way to *tell* the story; that’s what impressed me the most.
I began a 4th manuscript last August, then put it down and started another one in October. Now I’ve put that one down and am returning to the original one, but changing several things. It’s not that I’m ADD…it’s more of going where I feel pulled to go. There was no excitement left in what I was working on, and I’m changing gears, still moving forward, and will eventually return to it and try to rekindle something. But that excitement has to be there. It’s what gets us through the lonely long days.
And yes, sometimes my muse still shows up wearing that silly purple hat.