Wednesday, November 16, 2016

When You Meet Your Muse on the Road, Kill Her

When writing, you're going to get stuck.  You'll be sitting at your computer or your notepad, and you'll wonder "what happens next?"

My A#1 writing buddy,
Her Imperial Highness, Princess Irulan
It is my experience that many of you will wait for inspiration.  You'll want for a white-limbed goddess to whisper something into your ear that thrills you, fires your soul, makes your mind race.  Then, only then, will you rush to your place of work and the words will flow from your fingertips like wine into a glass.

However, muses are fickle, and you've got a deadline.

The most practical advice, then, that I can give is: kill your muse.  She'll try to talk you out of it; do not listen.  She'll beseech and beg; ignore her.  Others will plead on her behalf; reject them.  Take your muse out back, put a gun to her head, and scatter her brains on the ground.  Then leave her face down in a ditch for the badgers and coyotes, return to your place of work and write.

Writing is work.  It's wonderful work where you get to be creative, to express yourself, and all that happy gooey stuff.  However, it is also work.  The number of people who get to work when they want to do it is minuscule – only a few people are so blessed as to have their souls constantly inspired, or a dream that doesn't require them to work hard.  For the rest of us, we roll up our sleeves and get to work.  We do it when it is a beautiful autumn day and we'd rather be taking a brisk walk among the golden-leafed trees with our lover, we do it when it's overcast and gray and we'd rather be curled up in front of a fire with a good book all alone.  We do it when we want to and when we do not want to.  Because you've got a deadline to meet, buddy, and when there's work to do, you can't afford to wait around until the planets align and some goddess whispers in your ear.  You roll up your sleeves and do it.

Here's the good news: no one will be able to tell the difference.  I guarantee it that writers you like have done it and done it in books you like.  They have moved forward with their story precisely because it was their job to write and they had no time to wait for inspiration.  You can't tell when they were inspired and when they were not; neither will your audience.  Because skill is not developed by inspiration, but work.  The writer who does the most work will be the best writer because hard work is key to improving any skill!


Therefore, I repeat: kill your muse.  Then get to work.

Kit Bradley
Nanowrimo name: swordandlion
2016 Nano Project: editing Lord Goblin novels

2 comments:

  1. Great advice just when I needed it. Thank you! I'm going to work now. Bye! :)

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  2. So true! Now I'm feeling inspired after a dreadfully lazy day avoiding all sorts of work as much as possible. My document is already open and I'm going to take a chair onto the back patio this nice fall afternoon where I will get to work. Thanks for the boost.

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