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Muse-a-holics Anonymous

Most artists, I believe, begin their careers at the whim of the Muse. Inspiration strikes, they feel compelled to create, and something beautiful and wondrous enters the world. My earliest stories were all born this way. They were written in breathless, rushing burst of inspiration. I loved them like children.

But creating art and trying to make a career out of artwork are two different things. Somewhere during the past four years, I stopped waiting for the Muse to whisper in my ear and started stealing her diary instead.

And it's funny; I may not feel as passionate about my stories as I used to, but when I go back and read them, I can't tell the difference between the ones I wrote when I was 'on fire' and the ones I hammered out when my well of creativity felt dry. The end products were indistinguishable.

You know what else? I bet Michelangelo didn't always feel like going in to work on the Sistine Chapel.

I bet there were mornings when his back was sore, and his arms were sore, and he had this idea for a totally cool sculpture that would have been more fun to work on. But I bet he went to work anyway, because he'd learned to let the Muse provide the first, breathtaking vision of what that Chapel was going to be about and then muck his way through the rest of it on his own.

Now, everyone, repeat after me. "I am not dependent on my Muse. I am a qualified, brilliant, artistic person. I can write without one."

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Nov. 9th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
Loved it
I love this post. Wen Spencer made some wonderful posts on her writing methods and they were *so* *cool* it made me want to write that way.

So I tried it during my first NaNo. And I discovered I can't do it. I can't write only the most exciting scenes, the ones that move the story, and then go back and fill in the bridges. I have to build the road starting at point A and trudging along through points B-W before I can reach destination X.

And you know what? After I've stuggled with the foundation of those stupid bridges and got to the scenes I really like, I find that they're better. Without the bridge and the struggle, the "good" scene would've collapsed into the water.

Lisa S. in Seattle
sandratayler
Nov. 9th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
"I stopped waiting for the muse to whisper in my ear and started stealing her diary instead."

That line is delightful. It sounds to me like you and your muse have developed a wonderful working partnership.
snickelish
Nov. 9th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, I love that line. I need to save this post so I can reread it when the Muse is giving me the silent treatment.
howardtayler
Nov. 9th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
My muse does not whisper in my ear. I have her chained to a wall in my office, and beat her until she screams her stories at me.

It's hard work coming up with this stuff. Hard, messy work.
desperance
Nov. 10th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
And it's funny; I may not feel as passionate about my stories as I used to, but when I go back and read them, I can't tell the difference between the ones I wrote when I was 'on fire' and the ones I hammered out when my well of creativity felt dry. The end products were indistinguishable.

It's the same exactly, I find, with novels: there are days, weeks when it's flowing with fire and passion in the writing, and weeks when it's a real struggle, and the words are only beaten out because words must be beaten out because that's my job; but when I'm editing that draft, I can't spot which were the bits that flowed and which had to be hammered. The voice persists, because, y'know, this is what I do...
rose_storylady
Nov. 12th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
Inspiration
You and Sandra inspire me. Yesterday I read your recent journals. Is it a coincidence that I found things to write about in my journal two days in a row after a long period of not writing? I don't think so.
(Deleted comment)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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Nancy Fulda is a 2012 Hugo and Nebula Nominee, a Phobos Award winner and a Vera Hinckley Mayhew Award recipient. She is the first (and so far only) female recipient of the Jim Baen Memorial Award. Her fiction has appeared in a number of professional venues.

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