Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Writing Muse

The writing Muse, I've found, is a fickle lover. Some days it's whispering endearments and other days it's playing the field. I'm new to this courtship, but I consider myself a fast learner. I mean, you can only stand me up so many times before I realize that I better find other ways to fill my dance card. My goal when I write is to set the mood well enough so that the muse will find my "come hither" writing attitude irresistible. Not always an easy task....

My Muse Baby is not only fickle, but unpredictable. Muse Baby shows up when I'm in the shower, when I'm woken from a dream at five in the morning, and any other *#%*! time it's inconvenient. You know what I mean. Kinda like your amorous husband. Your amorous husband at midnight when you've spent the day chasing five-year-olds who found the candy stash and cleaning up after the dog that ate all the empty wrappers. Yes, that level of inconvenient. To deal with it, I've learned to keep notebooks handy by the bed and post-its in my bathroom. God forbid I should trust that little voice that whispers "You can remember to write it down later." That would be Muse Baby's evil twin speaking.

Some times Muse Baby needs flogging. Fortunately that doesn't require me to wear black leather 'cause the chaffing is wicked. No, for this little domination session, I must put my butt firmly in the chair and chain my hands to the keyboard. Then I set to typing. When I find myself doing a lot more page staring than typing, I prod myself. Then I set limits. My safe word might be a buzzer set for a certain time frame, a word or page count, a minimum number of scenes, or whatever works for me with that day's schedule. The bottom line is that without a goal and my rear end in a chair, Muse Baby can be the most amorous lover ever but, no offspring novel will be forthcoming.

Of course, if I really want to get Muse baby's attention, I can always resort to invoking the green-eyed monster. That's right, sometimes jealousy is a girl's best friend. I step out on a regular basis with other authors' works, books on the craft, a monthly Georgia Romance Writer's meeting, and a critique partner that is willing to dally with me on a regular basis. If you don't know who to call on to make your Muse jealous, may I suggest Stephen King's On Writing? Or perhaps, joining an established writing group such as RWA http://www.rwanational.org/ and local chapter such as http://www.georgiaromancewriters.org/ if you are here in the Peach State.

Like any grand and passionate relationship, writing takes work if it's going to be successful. There is no "Love Potion #9." There is no magic formula. And there certainly is no room for one-night stands. So write, study, set reasonable goals, and court the Muse.

Happy Writing,


Tami Brothers said...

Debbie, I LOVE this post... I can't wait to read some of your work. With the innuendos you have throughout this piece, I can only imagine!!!

Love the idea of the Muse Baby and the flogging bit. That's where I'm at. I need to keep myself on a tighter leash...

One-night stands?!?!?!? Too funny. I never looked at my muse in quite that way before!!!


Debbie Kaufman said...

Thanks Tami!

Marilyn Baron said...

Great post! I love your sense of humor.


J Perry Stone said...

Lovely. I needed this today. I have a question though:

Do you think the muse is trainable?--sort of like hunger has been trained to kick up right before the three squares?

If so, then that leads to questions about setting regular writing routines, doesn't it?


CiCi Barnes said...

Okay, Debbie, I think your Muse Baby was in high gear with you on this piece. Can I borrow him for a few days? Once a week?


Debbie Kaufman said...

CiCi & J:
He is fickle as I said. So, he's obviously open to other offers. Trainable? I'll answer after I pick myself up off the floor from laughing.

Tammy Schubert said...

Stephan King's On Writing book is an excellent reference. It's nice to know we aren't the only ones who have had to struggle in the writing business.

I enjoyed your post!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Thanks, Tammy. I really enjoyed the way King intertwines his memoirs with the writing process.

Betsey said...

She's back! So glad to see you writing again, and I really enjoyed this "episode." Keep 'em coming! BTW, you have been much in my thoughts the last couple of days. Hugs!

Sandy Elzie said...


I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Yes, we all can relate since we all have a Muse Baby, although mine goes by an alais. I'm even familiar with his evil cousin.

Enjoyed the humorous way you attacked a serious subject.

Keep the good work coming.


Linsey Lanier said...

Wow, I really could relate to this post, Debbie.

Though, I've never considered that the muse waking you up in the middle of night is a lot like that amourous hubby. That idea will make both of those experiences more interesting in the future. ;)


Ana Aragón said...


Great post! I always enjoy your sense of humor--keep writing, girl!


Debbie Kaufman said...

Sandy, Ana, and Linsey,
Glad something clicked with you! You should have seen my dear one's face as he proofed it last night!