Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feeding the muse

As I gear up for my critique group meeting tonight with my two amazing critique partners, I'm feeling a tad guilty about my lack of productivity as of late. The pages I'm diligently sending each week are not fresh pieces from either of my series' in progress, but rather the revised and edited chapters from a middle grade book I wrote years ago.

In fact, other than this blog, I've done no actual writing for quite some time.

The truth is, the final push on Absolution left me a little burnt out and it seemed easier to block out the voices than to listen to them whine. So, instead of churning out those obligatory daily word-counts, I've been feeding my muse - which has provided inspiration and, perhaps predictably, new-found desire to write.

So what does a muse eat? I'm not sure about yours, but the following diet seems to satisfy mine, no matter what avatar face he's wearing this week.

1. Reading. Not just any books, though. Books written by authors who make me go "I want to write like that!" Or better still, books that make me fall in love with characters - do I need to remind you of my Gretchen Lowell obsession? (Uh, Karen, did you drop that little "Run Gretchen" t-shirt hint to my hubby?) My current favourite author is Chelsea Cain and when I'm not cursing her talent, I'm ordering my muse to eat up that talent. Rawr.

2. Exercising. I admit I've gone a tad loco in this regard. Between spin classes, aquasize adventures, and strength training with Karen, and boxing and racquetball with Sue, I've also been doing Body Rock, that crazy program I blogged about the other day. It's an exhausting schedule, but unlike when I worked out at Curves, I have energy. Lots of energy. Enough to share with my muse - which fuels creativity, inspiration and productivity. Woot!

3. Family time. Apparently my muse does not always want to be alone. Me either. Writing can be a solitary activity, but there are times, like now, I'm not content to hide in my dungeon (even though my husband built me a very nice dungeon). We had an excellent Valentine's Day - swimming, heart-shaped pizza, ice cream cake, movies. My muse liked that. Me too. We might have to try that more often, sans the ice cream cake though.

4. Jack Bauer and the Winchester Boys. Ahem. Okay, maybe the eye candy is for my benefit, but in truth, I consider both shows (24 and Supernatural in case you have no idea (gasp) of the aforementioned Adonis'...ah, men) to be well scripted and inspirational. My muse appreciates the sudden plot twists and character development. I appreciate...oh yeah, you already know that.

5. Diet Coke / Coke Zero. Without the whiskey, yes. Old habits die hard. Besides, my muse likes it. Sorry Sue.

6. Music. Stephanie Myers was on to something when she found the band Muse (pictured above) for inspiration. I'm kind of partial to Adam Lambert these days, but when the muse isn't in the mood to dance, or sing, Muse is excellent for background noise.

7. Plotting. I know, right? Last month, heck, even last week sometime, I would never have admitted to this, but creating an outline for my book has provided my muse with a "loose" roadmap. I've been researching key plot points, writing description lists, and developing characters - and my muse is just gobbling all of that up. So much so, he's almost full.

And wouldn't you know, with his inspirational hunger now satisfied, my muse is starting to stir again. Actually, with all this new creative energy, he can barely sit still. Which means, sigh, I should be back on writing track any day now. I'm excited to start scratching that itch.

Are you taking care of your muse?

The Book In My Bag Today: Evil at Heart, Chelsea Cain


  1. Stockton is obsessed with Muse.... he wants The Resistance playing all day! Loudly too, I try and sneak the volume down only to hear a few seconds later "MOM I CAN'T HEAR IT". Which is funny because i can barely hear him over the blasted song. :)

  2. Good advice, Dawn. You never fail to inspire :)

  3. That's awesome, Tiffer. I'm pretty sure Stockton and I could hang out all day. Wish I lived closer... Love you. xoxo

    Thanks Donna, back at you. <3

  4. Guess you're getting some insight into your process, huh? Write a future best-seller, land a great agent, revise a future best-seller, go on sub, exercise/eat/rest/plot, rinse and repeat. ;-)