Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Losing Your Muse (Is A Pain In The Ass)

It's interesting just how fast a muse can come and then slip right on out the door in that one second you happen to be looking in the other direction. Not that it matters, of course, because you never see a muse coming anyway.

A few blog posts ago, I made it pretty clear that a muse decided to show up at my doorstep and thwak me in the head with an idea. It's a fun idea, and I've been having a (relatively) good time with it, but for some reason the inspiration is gone. The ideas are there, but that "Oh yeah, that's good stuff" feeling is gone. It's a bummy feeling when your mystery muse leaves. You're left with that blank space where writer's block lurks. I've literally stared at a blank page for ten minute blocks, practically brain dead. And we know that there's a difference between what some call writer's block and the real thing.

The faux writer's block is where you can write, but you're pretty sure it's going to come out like crap. This is okay, becuase that's what revising is for. By then you'll have your story down in all its detailed glory so you'll be able to cut out all the nonsense you don't like and replace it with something with more substance.

Real writer's block is what I've been stuck with. Where you can't even come up with junk to put in place of good sentences just to get on to the next scene. The time spent gazing at a blank computer screen or, in my case, sheet of paper, mouth hanging open like a zombie that isn't actually dead. That's the nasty kind. I don't think that sort of writer's block shows up very often, but when it does, it sucks.

So then you start to doubt your writing. I mean, heck, if you can't come up with junk to fill in the gaps, what the hell is wrong with your story, right? That's what started to happen to me. What the hell was wrong with my story that my characters couldn't even come out with meaningless small talk? I was on chapter 10 - were all the previous chapters totally useless? What is happening? BWAAAAAAH!

By that point, I started to get frustrated. I needed a muse jump start. I needed something to get that kick back. Like cocaine. Okay, no. No cocaine, I'm just kidding. Music and movies though. That's what I turned to. Mostly music because there weren't many movies around for me to look at for what I needed. But even though my music library is huge, it didn't seem to have what I needed. I needed something to get the blood rushing, something to light up that magic spark again. It's tough to lure a muse in when they're so intent upon doing their own thing.

So I turned to older music. Music I hadn't listened to in a long while. Music that I thought I'd already killed. Except the funny thing is that I'd killed it with fanfiction ideas (stuff I never bothered to write down because it was too big and take up too much time - why write fanfiction when it doesn't get you anything?). And it worked. At least, one of them worked. I intend to dig around for more old music I haven't listened to in a long time to see what I can do with it. To see if I can summon the muse the way Piers Anthony does. I don't know what he uses or if he uses anything at all to jump start his writing, but I'm certainly going to bust ass on it.

I'm going to get that muse back and rock out if I have to get a pair of car jumper cables to do it. (Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme...so let's just leave that as a metaphor, shall we?)

Photobucket Heeeeerrre muse, muse, muse!

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