Monday, March 26, 2012

Are you there Muse? It's me, Alyssa.

There are a lot of different ways that people describe inspiration.

It comes from a muse, like Stephen King's guy in the basement. It comes from a genius, a fleeting spirit, like Elizabeth Gilbert explains in her awesome TED talk. It's something that you're born with. It's something that you look for, work for, sweat for.

These days, I feel like my muse is a toddler, an a-hole that flips people off on the freeway for no reason, a rabbit in a snare, and an overall terrible human being/spirit/mysterious entity... depending on the day.

Example: I set aside a few hours to write. I pick up a book and read for inspiration. I try to jot some lines. I read through a million blogs about the writing life, character development, and how to create a believable villian.

But I don't get much done. This time is pretty much wasted.

Another Example: I sit down on the couch to work (I write blogs like this from home for a living... doesn't sound so cool now, does it?) I tell myself I won't stop until I'm done for the day. I will not write. I will not get sidetracked by writer blogs or book reviews or try to place another 12 books on hold at the library.

I tell my muse to sit in the corner, be quiet, pencils down, do not talk to your neighbor. I tell it to save its ideas for later. I tell it not to bother me.

What happens then? The muse is quiet for awhile, I get some blogs done. I blast the new Sleigh Bells album and am pretty productive, if I say so myself.

Then the muse raises its hand.

I ignore it.

It starts jumping up and down like Hermione in Defense Against the Dark Arts. I tell it to shut up. I put on blinders and headphones and turn the music up too loud. I ignore it.

It jumps up on the desk and shouts the most spectacularly tempting crap. "What if you changed the point of view on that story you've been trying to write?!" It yells. "What if everything you say was recorded in your brain and you could read through the transcript of your entire life?!"

I sit and stare at it. I am so pissed off that the muse chooses this moment to bring me the most excellent ideas. The type of ideas I was hunting during the set "writing time" I had yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.

I pull off my headphones and I think about shouting to the muse, "Where were you yesterday you lazy piece of crap?! That was your designated time and you were giving me the freaking SILENT TREATMENT."

But the ideas are too good. I put the laptop away and I take out my notebook and I choose an especially colorful pen (hot pink) and I start to write.

I don't work for the rest of the day.

Now I have no idea how to set aside time to write when my muse/annoying-kid-in-the-corner-with-Great-Ideas-at-all-the-wrong-times refuses to obey. Maybe I'll try to trick it next time. I'll sit down to write a blog about "real estate West Newbury" when I really mean to get an idea and work on those stories that just aren't looking great right now.

What does it say about me that I need to use freaking REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY on a possibly non-existent spiritual thing to be able to write?


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