“Soooo, when is your next book coming out?”
Authors both love and hate this question. If you have a release coming up, then you can gush and talk about all of the good stuff like cover reveals and blog tours and whatnot. But if you are still several months away from a release (or years depending on the book) the question is harder to answer, particularly because the assumption is that you just aren’t writing it.
Naturally, that’s not true. We are writing; it’s just that writing isn’t a particularly easy thing to do. It’s not like you just sit down and the words spill out–well, at least they don’t for me.
The Undisciplined Muse
Here’s the thing…the muse…the inspiration that sparks our imaginations? She’s a slippery little sucker. She never seems to want to sit still long enough for me to yolk her ideas. She only wants to whisper her sweet nothings when I’m doing something that prevents me from writing–like showering, sleeping, or driving. She can be a bit of a brat.
Surely other people’s muses are just as naughty, right? Then again, I have author friends who can put out 5-6+ books a year, easy. Some of them write full time, but some of them have outside jobs and families to juggle, too, just like me. So how do they do it? How can they organize their time and their thoughts so efficiently, while I only manage to get words on the page if my social media notifications are quiet long enough for me to form a complete thought?
The only thing I can figure is that those writers must have a far more disciplined muse than I do. They probably stick to a strict daily word count or, at the very least, have a set time when they ‘clock’ in and out. I’m an organized and rational person. I understand that writing is a job. It makes sense that you start and end at a certain time. You schedule the time to be productive, just as I do at my other job. And yet this logical pattern has never seemed to stick when it comes to me and my writing.
Is It Really Her Fault?
I like to blame my muse for refusing to be boxed in by a set time frame to be creative and, as a result, I let her write whenever she damn well wants. But is that the lazy response? The excuse I tell myself so I don’t have to feel bad about not insisting on daily writing time?
It feels like I’ve tried everything, but have I? Have I really kept going with a schedule–even when it got hard? Have I pushed myself to be the best writer I can be? No, probably not.
This morning, when I woke up at 4 am (the new annoying norm of my internal alarm clock) I had a moment of Zen. Instead of trolling social media for the two hours before the sun or my kids wake up, perhaps I need to put that time to better use. Even if I carved out an hour…from 5-6 am, that’s a full hour, every day, that I could be writing.
Maybe I won’t be able to bang out a thousand words, but I should be able to get 300-500…far better than the depressing zero that I normally end up with on a non-writing day.
Hmmm…perhaps I need to take baby-steps in taming my little, wild-child muse. Word by word and day by day. We’ll make a writer out of you yet.