We’ve seen them played out in the movies, such as Stranger Than Fiction and The Muse. I don’t think there’s a writer alive who hasn’t given these questions some thought.
And what questions are those?
It’s a debatable subject, one I’ve had with numerous other writers over numerous glasses of Merlot. I’ve heard the stories of writer block preventions, such as lucky rabbit’s feet, sprinkling desks with holy water, of odd, sometimes bizarre, rituals repeated daily to show honor to so-called muses.
Of course, I have rituals. I stumble out of my bed, pour of a cup of cinnamon half-decaf/half peel-me-off-the-ceiling java, find my way to my office, still in my pajamas mind you, hair only finger-combed and . . . here’s the most important part, I plop my butt in the chair and start to work.
Personally, I think writer’s block and those so called muses are a tad more fiction that fact. Why?
It goes back to my childhood. Yup, I come from the age where we blame everything on our parents. However, Dad won’t threaten to disinherit me for this one. You see, my dad was a plumber. He got up every day and went to work. Never, not once, do I ever recall him saying, “I can not plumb today. I have plumber’s block.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there were days he plumbed better than others. Days his job was crappy. (And I don’t mean he literally dealt with crap, but hey, he unclogged toilets.) And as a writer, I have days I write better than others, and days I question my ability to even write a grocery list.
But do I believe it’s because my muse packed his bags and ran off to count zebra stripes in Africa? (And I say “his” because if I had a muse he would look like Ryan Gosling—love to do massages, and do housework without being asked. Hey, this is my fantasy, so leave it alone.) Do I believe it’s because I’ve suddenly been struck by the ominous fate of writer’s block? Oh, heck no.
I guess I refuse to believe that this thing I do, called writing, is all based on luck, on some super natural power, and not on the years I spent toiling, studying, and learning the craft. If I was a baseball player, I wouldn’t feel as if I had to grab my crotch, wear the same dirty socks, or chew the same tobacco to win a game.
But now that I’ve told you what I don’t believe, let me tell you what I do believe. I do believe in becoming burned out. It’s something brain surgeons, garbage men, and even plumbers can face when they don’t take the time to live a well-rounded life.
I believe when I’m no longer inspired about a project, I’ve probably written myself in corner and if I go back and reread it, I’ll find the scene where I took a wrong turn. Or maybe I just need to take a day off. Yeah, days off are good.
I believe there’s sometimes a fine line from being obsessed and being determined.
I believe that writers who stop living life and only write about it, will eventually become uninspired writers.
I believe this career and the challenges that it takes to even get published, can be a hard pill to swallow, and one needs to find ways to stay motivated. And if it means grabbing your crotch and wearing dirty socks, and having a spittoon by your desk, then so be it. Doing things to stay motivated is different than doing things to prevent from being robbed of a talent for which you’ve worked and earned.
So what about you? Do you believe and shudder at the thought of writer’s block? Do you fear and pray your muse will never abandon you? What do you do when you find yourself suddenly uninspired?
The winner of last week’s giveaway is Maggie Rivers. Congratulations, Maggie, you’ve won a bag of Christie Craig swag. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me you mailing address.