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Spring Cleaning: Muse Style

March 30, 2014

After a longing glance outside at the waning afternoon light, I finally open my laptop. The Muse has been stalking me all day, not because he has an idea, not because he has anything in particular to say—

“I just want to talk,” he says and steps out of the shadows. His wings are damp from spring showers, his dark eyelashes fringed with moisture.

“I figured you would. Things are getting a little crazy again. I’m having trouble sorting things out. Too many projects on the go again, and there’s the A to Z blog challenge coming up–“Image courtesy of sanja gjenero  @stock.xchng

He holds his hands in the air to stop me. His fingernails are cracked and dirty. The whites of his eyes shine in the dimness of my office. “That’s why I’m here,” he rasps. “We’re going to do some spring cleaning.” He chuckles manically.

“I don’t know about this,” I reply as I ponder the wisdom of letting your Muse do your housecleaning.

He raises his eyebrows. “We’ve gone over this before. You have a way of cluttering up your schedule, until you can’t find me any more. And you know how much I hate being ignored.”

“Yeah, I know. But you know what the worst part is?”

“What?” He seems preoccupied with the ever-growing pile of books I don’t have time to read. He smirks at the nearly finished copy of City of Bones.

“The worst part is that I was reading an old story draft from a few years ago, and I liked it. I wanted to start revising it right away.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Morpheus, I’m not getting any better! All this revising and critiquing and fretting, and my recent stories are as stilted as the ones I wrote a few years ago! It’s hopeless …”

Notebook March 28“Hey.” He sets down the journal where I’ve scrawled my latest ruminations about the intricacies of faster than light travel. “Stop that. You’re worrying about what other people think. It happens every time you take on one project too many. I try to tell you, but you don’t listen.”

“People tell me that you can’t listen to your Muse if you want to pursue publication. Publishing is a business decision, based on what readers want, and what bookstores can sell. I have to write something that will fit into a genre, and I have to write it before that fad is replaced by another. I … I … just can’t write that fast.”

Silent as my cat, he slips next to me on the guest bed where I’ve retreated to write these words. He takes my hands off the keyboard and into his. “I want you to think about something, Writer-babe. There are probably millions of writers out there, and all of them have something to say. Let’s assume they’re all good writers and publish their books. Does it really matter if you do or don’t add yours to the pile? Why are you hurrying so fast when nobody really notices whether or not that book gets out there this year or the next or never?”

M © A Scenic Route“I guess that makes sense.”

He raises his index finger. “But here’s the thing that matters. YOU need to be happy with what we’re writing. Of all those millions of writers and readers, do you think any one of them cares whether or not you are happy about your writing or not?”

“Maybe a few?”

He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, I know. Your blog followers. But other than that, you will always be the one who enjoys your stories the most—at least you should be. You write them after all.”

“You know what, M? That makes a lot of sense. So, what do we do now?”U © A Scenic Route

“We go over what you’ve got and sort out the winter sweaters from the swimsuits. You put the boots away, and take out the sandals. You wash the car, sweep the garage—”

“No, I mean the writing.”

Shoals of Stars? Please?”

S © A Scenic RouteI smile as I admire the title of my newest WIP. “You got it. But what about my revision? And the critiques? And the A-Z blog challenge?”

“Are you sure?” His eyebrows are up again. “Posting every single day? Are you insane?”

“It’ll be fun. I’ve been working on some cool images for the letters of the alphabet. I know how much you love letters.”

I can see his lips try to resist a smile. “Letters?”E-Copyright A Scenic Route

“Really big colorful ones. And short snappy posts.”

“That’ll be the day you write a short post.”

“Watch me,” I taunt him. “And thanks for stopping by. I missed you.”

“No problem, Writer-babe. Just don’t forget about your fiction …” With that he fades back into the shadows of my imagination.

How about you? Do you let your Muse sort through your closet every spring? How do you decide which projects to tackle and which to set aside?

Cleaning supplies image courtesy of Sanja Gjenero @stock.xchng

  1. March 30, 2014 3:54 pm

    Mine’s downright bossy sometimes.

    • March 31, 2014 6:53 pm

      It’s funny you mention that. I have a lot of bossy people in my real life, so my Muse knows bossiness will only get him ignored!

  2. melissamaygrove permalink
    March 30, 2014 5:18 pm

    I usually let my inspiration guide me. Other than pushing myself to stick with a project that needs finishing, I go where the words are flowing. Like right now, two of the supporting characters of my debut novel are practically screaming to have their story told. I guess my dystopian will have to wait. LOL

    Love your muse. 🙂

    • March 31, 2014 6:55 pm

      That sounds like a wonderful way to work, Melissa.
      And how cool that you are working on both historical romance and dystopian stories!

  3. March 30, 2014 5:49 pm

    I had a good online author friend set me straight on this subject recently. Instead of laboring away on a tough WiP, and meanwhile whining about no one would come to my house and ask if I had a secret trunk novel just waiting to be discovered… I could arrange to self-pub the novel as a serial, and keep working in the background on the WiP. Eureka! I guess I find my muse in other people, smarter than me. So many of them…

    • March 31, 2014 6:58 pm

      Other writers can give such amazing insights! What a cool idea to serialize one story while working on another. 🙂

  4. March 30, 2014 7:14 pm

    I am totally reading (and loving) City of Bones right now. I did A-Z last year, and am sitting this one out. You have to love what you write, it is yours after all. It’s like having a child. Your muse is adorable, as usual.

    • March 31, 2014 7:34 pm

      Your A-Z story was so cool! I’m a little worried about the challenge of blogging every day like that, but it should be okay ‘cuz it’s only a month long after all.
      Some bloggers post every day all the time!

  5. March 30, 2014 8:06 pm

    Hey, we’re on the same wavelength again, sort of. As far as projects, I tackle one at a time, hence the A to Z decision. I envy folks who have more than one WIP and so many ideas they have to choose! (I haven’t forgotten about your gracious invite to the blog hop, either.) It’s on my list.

    And, Juan better stay out of my closet. He’d just criticize my clothes:)

    • March 31, 2014 7:37 pm

      LOL, my Muse makes fun of my clothes all the time! He has way funkier ideas for my wardrobe, none of which I could wear in public. 😉
      And you know what, I envy folks who can work on one WIP at a time … I never thought I’d end up being the prolific one. I’d love to finish one project before diving into the next.

  6. March 31, 2014 9:04 pm

    Really loved this post. I’m always terribly envious of your relationship with your Muse, but this time the two of you have somehow managed to inspire me: I’ve just signed up for the A-Z Challenge! Thanks! (I think!) See you on the roll!

    (If this posts twice, my apologies–I tried to post earlier and it wouldn’t let me, so I’m trying again.)

    • March 31, 2014 9:26 pm

      That is awesome, Melinda!
      And you want to know how I really got to know my Muse? I wrote every day. Some days felt like a total waste of words, but eventually, I found my Muse and my stories. (Although, sometimes it can seem like they found me!)
      Whenever I feel like I’m losing that spark, I go back to that. Just writing, no expectations.
      I can’t wait to see what you find this month. 🙂

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