Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Muse Cooped Up

This is kind of a "random inspiration" post. I have part three of the "so you're a writer, do you need a website?" series in the works (see p1 and p2 here), but I thought it would be nice to take a break from that and just talk about the writing life.

Today's post is inspired by Anna Stanizsweski's blog which I was reading the other day. She was talking about how, after almost a year of revisions, she finally gets to write something new for Nano. And it got me thinking about my own writing lately.

As I sit here, I have a Unix module to work on, a graphic arts assignment to finish, an event table to write for my Systems Analysis final project, and two enormous PHP and Javascript modules that I haven't even started yet.

Welcome to the life of a web design student. It's fun, but it doesn't leave much time for writing. There are days when I'm so busy, I don't have time to grab lunch or make dinner. Days when I do homework on all my breaks and stay late after class doing homework and then go straight to bed. I get very, very few days off, and when I do? I don't feel like tackling revisions on my Magnum Opus.

This is life, and it happens to the best of us. What makes it hard for writers is that even while we don't have to time or don't have the energy to write, we're still creative people, and that creativity longs for an outlet.

This gets especially hard when you're in the middle of edits because edits require an extreme amount of energy, but not as much creativity in the sense of indulging the imagination.

Combine the two worst muse-crampers you can get--extensive edits, and a hectic lifestyle--and you get some wacky results. At times I get nearly desperate to create something. I will open my laptop late at night, after turning out the lights and turning them back on, to clear my head by pounding out a free verse poem. In my graphic arts classes, all the graphics I make end up being inspired by some story that I don't have the time to write. I flip radio channels in the hopes of finding a song that I can brainstorm to. And I simply devour audiotapes.

These are just a few of the coping mechanisms I've come up with. And I'm sure you guys have your own, because hey, what else can you do? Fail classes? Loose your job? Leave the kiddies at your mother's for a month? You don't really have that many options.

Don't loose heart, my fellow writers. One good thing does come out of a cramped muse. At some point, long after you thought those writing muscles were getting pretty weak and your prose skills had developed an awful lot of flab, and hey, you weren't getting very inspired anymore, it will just come. One random day. Without warning. And you'll write something new, something crazy that you don't expect to ever complete, but it's a blast anyway. Or that block will suddenly come unloosed and all the pieces will click, like magic. You'll write. You'll purge. It will feel amazing.

We always have to go back, to whatever life duty kept us from writing to start with, but we'll feel better. It will remind us why we love writing and will reassure us that no, the muse hasn't gone anywhere permanent. Yes, it will be waiting, if a bit in need of exercise, when we come back.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear some of your guys' coping mechanisms...

Have a happy thanksgiving!
-Creative A


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Mandy, thanks for sharing. :)

When I get stuck (which isn't too often, since I write so little... :p), I like to brose through pretty pictures on art sites, such as deviantArt. Some of the artists are so talented, and the fantasy or sci-fi paintings never fail to get me dreaming again.

Listening to music also helps. But I usually stick to wordless music to get me thinking-- the lyrics distract me too much. Movie soundtracks or classical music are both really nice.


Creative A said...

Hey Lossy! Awesome to talk to you again :)

I know what you mean about music. I have an entire playlist of instrumental only; it's hard to write with words. Have you heard of Helois? They are an awesome instrumental band; I especially like their one, "Bless this morning year." Soundtracks are good, too. I usually find them a bit heavy on the piano though.


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