Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Ever Elusive Muse

You know when you really, really want to write, and you set some time aside to do just that...and then nothing comes? Or something comes, but it's all blah and you feel so listless with it and it's not quite right?

Yeah, that's me with my novel this month. I'm familiar enough now with how I write to know that each book is written a bit differently. With some stories, I can dive right into and push forward. Others take more consideration before I plunge in. Right now, I've been trying to force myself to write, and my brain is screaming at me to cut it out because it's in the "simmering" phase. I thought I was ready. I know the story I'm writing--it's the sequel to another novel, so I have the world and main characters established, but this week has shown me that I need to let it sit and stew in the back of my head for a little while longer. It's right there, on the edges of my brain, and I know that if I just give it a little bit of time, it'll come pouring out.

Waiting can be hard, though, when I just want to write it now. This week went something like this:






The thing is, this is part of writing for me, too--allowing everything to sit and churn around in the back of my head while I do other things.

Does this happen to you when you're writing, too? (Or trying to write?)


  1. Yes this happens to me. My ideas always go through a simmering period. And then boom, I'm ready to write. :)

  2. Sure it happens. That's what great about blogging. If I stuck with what I'm writing, then I start blogging. It's still writing and it's like a recharge. Commenting and writing posts are both very different exercises and I find that one or the other will keep up writing chops until I'm writing what I think I'm supposed to writing. Of course, I'm supposed to be writing blog posts and commenting as well, so it all works for me. Variety is the spice of life.

    Tossing It Out

  3. You have to let it cook. I agree with Arlee, write something else while your mind is still working on it. That's what I do, or I go into editing mode and accept that as a form of writing (not as much fun of course). It sounds like you aren't letting it drive you nuts. Maybe it will come together tomorrow.

  4. "You know when you really, really want to write, and you set some time aside to do just that...and then nothing comes? Or something comes, but it's all blah and you feel so listless with it and it's not quite right?" <<<<THIS=MY WRITING LIFE

    Also love your doodles :)

  5. I can so relate. I think about writing all day while I'm at work and as soon as I sit down at the computer I'm distracted. *sigh*

  6. Yes, although by the time I actually HAVE time to write, the simmering part is usually well past. There was about 9 mos of simmering on my most recent WiP before I finished other projects so that I could sit down to write it.

    Right now, I just wish that summer wouldn't interfere so much with my writing time! :)

  7. I think the need to simmer is why it takes so long to write a book sometimes. Then, beyond the simmer stage, every time I go over it, there seems to be new ideas that my mind had simmered on, unbeknownst to me, and is able to "burp" it out when the time is right. It makes writing both stressful at times (like your simmer doodles) and also, surprising and joyful when the muse finally opens its mouth.

  8. This definitely happens to me! It's like the chili at Wendy's how much it needs to simmer.

  9. I've found that you can lure the muse with a mixture of bread and milk left at the bottom of the garden.

    Although that might just be hedgehogs

  10. Beginnings are always the most difficult for me. If I can slog my way through the first ten pages or so, I can usually pick up speed and breeze toward the end.

  11. Happens to me a lot. I've learned not to push myself in this phase either...cause what comes out is usually crap when I do LOL:)

  12. Lol, turns out that it happens in revisions too... :-/

    And I am *such* an incredibly patient person.

    I think that waiting for my I.E. is WORSE than waiting for my muse.


  13. This is sort of happening to me right now. I should be finishing a fanfic, but all I want to do is write a new story idea. And even though I’m only a few chapters from finishing the fanfic, I simply can’t write it anymore. I want to write the other story, but I can’t. So instead I’m getting all these ideas, and it’s driving me crazy that I have to wait. Even in outlining, I feel I might forget things.

    It’s just annoying that I can’t write the fanfic. I’ve been writing it for months, I’m almost done, I know everything that’s going to happen, and yet… I blame the characters. They’re not currently talking in my head. LOL. But my new story idea characters—well, not new, because I had this idea when we talked in Columbus—won’t leave me alone.

    I’m starting to think that this month is cursed. I’ve talked to other writers, and they’re suddenly having trouble too. For some reason, writing just seems daunting this month. Here’s hoping we can all get around it!

    Hope you’re doing well! Are you going to the Harry Potter Midnight Showing? I happily am. LOL.

  14. It happens to me too but usually when I'm so distracted with other things going on that I can't focus on my writing. To get over it, I've followed the Artist Way of journaling three pages every morning to get the junk out of my mind (things that bother you) and that helps.

  15. Heck yes! With a little time, you'll get your groove back. :)

  16. It's happening to me right now :) darned muses!

  17. Oh yes, that's also exactly how I write. It has to simmer and work some things out, become more developed, and then I can sit down and write away.

  18. This has been happening to me, to a point that I decided to start over again. I hate simmering. Unless I use it as an excuse to hit the beach ;)

  19. Laura-At least it gets to that phase where everything's ready to go!

    Arlee-Yeah, sometimes you just have to write something else.

    Tonja-Editing is definitely another "type" of writing for me--I have a hard time focusing on other writing when I'm editing.

    Nia-It can be hard, can't it? And thank you!

    Donna-I know! I'll have these ideas and think 'oh, this could work!' and then sometimes sit down and...nothing.

    Susan-Aww! Well, at least you have time eventually? Summer seems to be keeping a lot of people off of their usual writing schedules right now!

    Catherine-Exactly! Sometimes it can be annoying, waiting for it to finish simmering (like, "I should be faster than this!") but some books just require more time than others.

    Jenna-LOL! Nice comparison. :D

    Gyran-I think I may have to try this muse luring!

    Alex-Beginnings ARE hard--I think because I want things to start off right so I can slog through the rest.

    Lindsay-LOL, exactly!

    Misha-Ohh, absolutely it happens in revisions. I'm in that phase in one of my other novels. Or two of them? Yeaaah. ;) Everything seems to be simmering for me this summer.

    Shanna-Summer has been crazy and just...not very conducive to writing! I hope you get back into the swing of things, too!

    Shelley-That's awesome that journaling works for you! I've always been terrible at journaling a certain amount each day.

    Michelle-That's what I keep telling myself!

    gaylene-Good luck getting yours going!

    Shannon-Exactly--I'm just still waiting for it to finish simmering!

    EEV-Oooh, beach! Er, sorry, got distracted. Yes--simmering is necessary but not very fun when you just want to write!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!