Have you seen my muse? “What,” you may be wondering, “prompts such a question at the beginning of a blog?” Well, I guess I’m going through a phase of writer's block. I’m just not writing. I’ve made up my mind that I am going to start writing again. I’ve always been rather bull-headed, and when I make up my mind to do something, I usually get it done.
Thinking back to all those things I’ve heard writers do to overcome their blocks, I begin my action plan. Even though a fair amount of the advice often seems to conflict, I will pull out those ideas that work with what I know about myself. The first things are to write every day, have a designated place to write, have my writing tools ready, and be comfortable.
Monday: Go to my office and close the door so my dogs won’t disrupt the flow. Computer ready – check; notepad and pen for jotting thoughts while writing – check; cup of coffee within reach – check. Now, write! An hour later my screen remains blank, my note pad is virgin, and I’m playing with the dogs. Hmmm, well, maybe tomorrow.
Tuesday: Repeat the set-up routine, but a wiser me is going to look around the web to see what I’m doing wrong. I find many sites that let me know about all of the famous writers who faced the same dilemma: Tolstoy, Woolf, Conrad, Hemingway and on and on. Well, bully for them. Obviously they got over it. Then I land on something I had forgotten about – free writing. I didn’t do that yesterday. I’m encouraged because one article inspires me to just start writing on any topic. If it turns out to be drivel, the article assures me that something will come out of it. Another suggests, “If you can't think of anything to say, write ‘blah, blah, blah’ over and over.” I know I can do that. I begin. An hour and a half later, my document has one paragraph that basically carps at me for not getting to the file full of papers to be graded. This enlightened work is followed by three pages filled with various fonts that creatively script “blah, blah, blah.” My notepad has some interesting doodles and I’ve had way too much coffee. Okay, Scarlett, think about it tomorrow.
Wednesday: Same scenario with the exception that my ulcers have begged me to swap my coffee for milk. I will write today. Wrong…
Thursday: Kathryn sends an email to remind me that I’m responsible for next week’s blog. Great, what will I write about? Well, why don’t I write about not being able to write? After all, misery loves company. Finishing my initial self-serving paragraph forty-five minutes later, I’m done for today. That’s enough.
Friday: I read what I wrote yesterday. I hate it. Delete. I’m going to take off Saturday and Sunday. This writing everyday takes a lot of energy.
Monday: Must get the blog done. Darn it, I remember that grades are due tomorrow. Sorry, writing, I have at least twenty hours of paper critiques to deal with today. Catch you tomorrow.
Tuesday: Today writing time will be devoted to the blog. I pull up my file. What? It’s blank? Oh, right, I deleted it. Now what? Right after I throw my notepad and pen to the floor and am just about to do the same with the computer, I recall a banquet I went to recently. Kate Collins, the prolific writer of the cozy flower shop mystery books, was the speaker. Her talk was a down to earth, engaging, and motivating call to writers to create the writing magic with their fingers. She told us that sometimes she has writer’s block. Her solution is to go to her office (because block or no block you want to continue to write everyday), relax and open herself up to her Muse. I also remember a Ray Bradbury quote, “I’m not in control of my muse. My muse does all the work.” Okay, Muse, here we go!
Revived, I pick up my note pad and pen, open my laptop, take a sip of coffee (sorry ulcers), lean back in my chair, relax my body, and spread open my arms above my head (Kate did that). Okay, Muse, let’s go…(ten minutes later), Hello?...(five minutes after that)…Hey, Muse! My arms go down. My fingers go to the keyboard. Apparently, my Muse doesn’t want to work on the blog.
That brings us back to the beginning. Have you seen my Muse? If so, please keep in mind that all I want for Christmas is … my Muse.
Merry Holiday Writing!