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When I first started, I thought all you had to do is write a book. Can you say *naive*, boys and girls? Join me on my journey as a pre- published writer looking to see my name on the cover of a book. I'll talk about all the bumps, bruises, joys and frustrations I encounter along the way.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

How I Find My Muse

Subtitle: Who the Heck Told That B$&# She Could Take a Vacation in Tahiti?

Earlier today, I posted a entry, excited that I'd managed to write a scene. Writers understand this excitement, non-writers might think I'm nuts. And maybe I am. My husband would agree. *g*

I'm working on two stories right now. And lately, I've been feeling like I've hit a brick wall with both. When I'm at home alone, I lament to my ceiling, "Why won't these stories come as easy as the first one did? What am I doing wrong?"

In truth, I'm probably doing nothing wrong. I dreamed my entire first story. The whole thing. Granted, much of the finished project has changed since that dream captured and haunted me, but the basic map still existed.

It's taken me a while to realize this, but that first story was plotted. Yup. The ugly "p" word. Well, ugly to me, anyway. I'd always fancied myself a "pantzer" -- a writer creating my stories from the seat of my pants. But now I'm starting to realize that's not entirely true.

I'm learning that I can't start with a glimmer of an idea for a story and just take off like gangbusters from there. Eventually, I hit a brick wall. I reach a certain point and suddenly feel like my muse has headed for Tahiti again. Or the Bahamas.

When I first thought my lack of plotting might be the problem, I took to the Internet, searching for information about plotting. How do I do it? What's involved? I tried one method called "The Snowflake Method". It was lauded by many writers, and I'd hoped it would be my answer.

I diligently went through the steps of that method, but by the time I made it 3/4 of the way through, I was bored. Bored with the method. Bored with my story. And bored with my characters.

It didn't take. Not that it's a bad method, it works for a lot of people. But not me. No snowflaking for me.

That story's now on the back burner. But I'll revisit it later.

I recently took a plotting workshop, and finished the workshop excited. This instructor didn't tell us to painstakingly plot our whole book out to the smallest details, but to find our "guidepost events" -- the big things that happen. The meet. The first kiss. The black moment. The resolution.

I can do that! I did do that. And still, I ended up cursing my muse for taking off on me.

For me, I think what it all boils down to is I need to quit procrastinating and just write. That's why the Book in a Week programs (where I spend a week just writing, setting a goal number of pages and working to reach it) help me so much. When I have to write, when I've set a goal and will be held accountable for reaching that goal, that's when I'm the most productive.

Now, I just need to find a way to hold myself accountable for what I produce all the time, and not just for one week out of the month.

But that's what works for me. For you, it might be something different.

Yes, I found my muse, and she's not in Tahiti. She's hiding out in the horrifying Land of Accountability.

4 Comments:

  • Mine seem to have disappeared to a parallel dimension or taken off to Pluto. =P I'm thinking of placing an ad, "Muses needed. No experience required. Apply within my brain."

    By Blogger Silma, at 4:26 PM  

  • Well, glad your muse isn't in Tahiti! *g*

    I always hit that brick wall when I pants-write, too. I hate plotting, though, and I think I've tried all the methods. I haven't found anything that truly works for me yet.

    Writing sucks, sometimes! LOL

    By Blogger Larissa, at 9:03 AM  

  • I have hit the proverbial brick wall, but I am certain mine is built of 90% procrastination bricks.

    The chapters I have must be put in order and the wet noodle I am using to flay myself is not working.

    Your muse will be at your ear again soon.

    By Blogger Sharon, at 3:37 PM  

  • Love your ad, Silma! Let me know if you get any bites on it. Particularly if the muse looks anything like the one from your story. ;)

    Larissa, I think Tahiti would have been better. Then I could have blamed it on her. *g*

    Sharon, those procrastination bricks sneak in on me a lot, too. LOL about your wet noodle. With SR, it's the first time I'll be writing out of order. We'll see how that works for me.

    By Blogger Lynn, at 6:11 PM  

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I'm a wife, a mom, an operating room nurse, a writer, a hobby photographer, and a music lover who knits and crochets. And I'm fairly certain I've lost my mind.

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