Monday, January 7, 2013

Coaxing the Muse: A Day in the Life of a Novel

Once upon a time, I worked as a divorce litigator. I spent my days in a courtroom, witness to people who once swore undying love battle each other over money and children. I chugged Mylanta straight from the bottle while I drove to the battle arena, fantasizing about spending my days writing instead.

Ah, blissful days writing. I pictured myself grabbing a cup of coffee or tea, sitting down to the computer, and spinning out page-turning stories with ease. It would be blissful. Just me, my thoughts, and the pliant keys under my nimble fingers.

While any writing day is better than a day as a litigation warrior in the divorce court, my writing days are far from what I dreamt they would be. It turns out that being alone with yourself all day – well, you’re alone – with yourself! And it also turns out that that sly minx of a muse doesn’t just appear on command like a pimp’s bitch, eager to obey and please. At least not my muse. No, mine is more like an irritable, temperamental child that I have to coax and bribe.

Here, then, is a peek into my writing day:

8:30 a.m.:  Each writing day starts with the blank page (to some extent or another). Ah, the promise of the page. Anything can happen. Everything can happen. The empty, white screen that contains the potential for genius.

9:00 a.m.:  The blank page still there. Better check Twitter and see what’s going on in my Facebook world. Hey, that’s a great article on writing. This is just the thing I need to get me going today. Wonder what’s new on Wattpad?

10:30 a.m.:  Laptop ready. Tunes going. Waiting for inspiration.

I know what I need – coffee. A strong cup of jo will get that blasted muse to work!

11:00 a.m.: You know what goes great with a cup of coffee? How about some of this -

12:00 p.m.:  All that net surfing, coffee slurping and chocolate nibbling sure did work up a hunger. Better go grab some lunch. That’s what I need – food. That’s sure to spark an idea.

1:00 p.m.: Wow, lunch sure was exhausting. I need a nap. Maybe I’ll dream the next plot step. Okay characters, tell me what’s next for you while I sleep.

2:00 p.m.: Yawn! Great nap. Back to work. Okay, muse. I’m listening. Really. Come on. I’m waiting. Where’s that *#%@ muse?!

3:00 p.m.: Crap – it’s time to pick up my offspring. I didn’t get much writing done today. (Looks at blank computer screen.) Okay, I didn’t get any writing done today. I’ll get some words banged out later.

8:30 p.m.: Best time of the day – dinner and T.V. and laughing with the fam. Got the kiddo tucked in. Hubby’s watching football (or insert game with a ball that’s in season). Dog is napping. It’s dark outside, quiet inside. Maybe I’ll try this –

11:00 p.m.: Apparently that’s what my cranky muse needed. Quiet. Relaxation. Who knew? I got two chapters written. I’m not sure I’ll stick with where the plot’s going, and I need to add more details about the setting – oh, and some inner dialogue. But words were written. That page is no longer blank. If I do this about fifty more times, I’ll have the first draft of a novel written ;-)


  1. I can SO relate...especially to the being alone - with myself feeling. Too funny! Glad you got some words on the page. Celebrate that success!

  2. So true. I think what has been working for me lately is writing on paper and then transferring to computer. Too many online distractions.

    1. I agree D.T. I'm about 2/3 done with my current novel and I've done it all that way so far - by hand first, then typing into the computer. Something about the hand writing across the page seems to free up the word flow and imagination.
      Thanks for reading :-)


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