Monday, March 24, 2014

Creative Writing: Make a Date with the Muse

Today I want to suggest that writers make a date with the Muse. This means you set aside a specific time to write, otherwise you never get around to doing so. Sometimes people talk about their writing projects  but don't structure their lives to allow time for this.

In Greek Mythology, there are the Muses or goddesses (daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne) that personify knowledge and the arts, including history, astronomy, tragedy, comedy, dance, epic poetry, love poetry, songs to the gods, and lyric poetry. It was customary to ask for their help before writing. Modern writers still talk of the Muse.

Make a date with your Muse. If you sit in front of the computer to write, and if you're patient, the Muse will drop by. Some writers write daily. Some keep "office" hours, meaning, they will write in the morning, break for lunch, then write in the afternoon.  Some write so many pages a day. Some will write so many scenes or one chapter a day. Some will go on writers' retreats once a year, hole up for one month or so and write.

I have to admit, dear Readers, that I need to put myself in a workshop situation so I can write. I have too many distractions in my life. Even though I've tried to work on my own, I have a difficult time producing good pages of novel-length. I can write drafts; I can take notes, but without the "edge" of a workshop, I can't get very much done.

Twice, I did the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which was helpful. To those who don't know what I'm talking about, it's an event that happens in November. You register in the NaNoWriMo site and commit to writing a 50,000-word draft of a novel in November. That's a lot of words. That's the length of a short novel, like The Great Gatsby (short, but what a novel!). That's something like 1,700 words per day.  Every day. You start writing on November 1 and finish November 30.

It's not easy, although it can be exhilarating. At times you get in the zone, but the end product is not a novel. No one, I repeat, no one, writes a good novel in thirty days. But you'll be surprised at the wonderful ideas that pop into your head, especially with that intense deadline. (The Muse is very busy during this time!)

The event is free. Once you've registered, you have a site, and you can chart your progress. You can also connect with friends who are doing it, so you can encourage once another (or be envious).

I'm a "deadline" kind of person, and as the above cartoon shows, I need a gun pointed to my head. Right now I'm in a writing workshop to set aside time to meet my Muse. While I'm in the workshop, I am forced to produce work that's presentable enough to be read by other people.

I write in my Notebook, which is a catchall for ideas for my novel - bits of dialogue, descriptions, thoughts and questions relating to the novel.  The Notebook is a mess. I don't even try to be coherent or neat.  But again, what happens when I allow myself free reign in that Notebook, is that I'll cull up ideas.  I develop these thoughts when I actually sit in front of my computer to produce pages.

It works for me.

 You, dear Readers, will have to determine what works for you. Remember, there's nothing wrong nor right here. Everyone is different.

Happy writing!

The drawing of the Muse is from I love it!

All for now,

Read also

  • Creative Writing: The Importance of Sensual Writing
  • Creative Writing: Journal Writing and my Pink Lock and Key Diary

  • Creative Writing: Your Writing Work Space (In My Case, Where My Cats Hang Out)
  • Creative Writing: Two Important Rules
  • Creative Writing: Explosion and Drawing as Writing Exercises
  • How to Write a Novel #1
  • How to Write a Novel #2
  • tags: writing, creative, literature, Muse, novel, book, author, workshop,

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