One of the interesting bits of trying to become a professional writer seems to be figuring out how to train my muse.
I remember, when I was much younger, back when I knew that I wanted to be a writer, but had my entire lifetime to figure out what that actually meant, I would go days, weeks, sometimes even months, without getting any real writing done. Sometimes I tried to force myself because I knew how much pleasure it gave me to sit down and watch the words roll out onto the page, but if the muse wasn’t whispering into my ear, nothing happened.
At a certain point, however, I realized that if I wanted to write professionally, I needed to be able write regularly as well. Figuring out how to pull that off was a long, hard process. And I mean long and hard. Like that was of my major focuses for over a decade.
It can be done, as it turns out, you can teach yourself to write every day, although I have to admit that there are some days when I have to carve the words onto the page with a poorly balanced chisel and a two ton mallet, and other days when I seem to be able to splash chapters into place without breaking a sweat.
But as I try to make this transition, from amateur to pro, I find myself butting heads with the muse over something else altogether.
When I was a kid I had a bitch of a time actually finishing a story. Oh, I had ideas. I had oodles and oodles of idea. I had ideas about aliens and machines and magicians and spaceships and other dimensions and superheroes and… well, for the sake of brevity I suppose we can stop there.
I had ideas a-plenty, so when I sat down in front of the computer, and when the muse was willing to lend me her time, I just let her pick the topic. And off we would go! A whirlwind adventure describing some alien planet or the strange laws that would exist a hundred years in the future. Eventually I would find myself in front of a wall that I couldn’t see an easy way around, so I’d save the document and start a new one. Round and round and round we went. There were times, growing up, when I had a hundred plus stories started, and not one of them finished. And that was fine, because what was I going to do with them if I finished them anyways?
Now, unfortunately, I have people who are waiting for things.
Ideally, it won’t be long until those people are my adoring public. Or maybe my friendly public. Or mildly interested public. But for now, it’s my beta readers, editors, an the people who want to work on projects with me.
Unfortunately my muse is loathe to give up her ability to channel surf in my brain. Yes, I need to get a copy of book two to my editor, yes I have a friend in hawaii who wants to see the first couple pages of that project we’ve been talking about. Yes, I have a lot on my plate. But she just had an idea for that superhero story we’d been playing around with a few years back. Let’s focus on THAT!
Well, what’s a boy to do, except lock the door, drink a bunch of caffeine, and start trying to train his muse all over again. Stupid muse. God I love her.