Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kick Starting the Muse

Kick Starting the Muse

I would be a rich woman if I received a pound each time someone tells me, “I could write a novel.” I usually ask why don’t you write it. More often than not the reply is, “I don’t have time.”

Time is the factor which separates writers from would be writers. There is always something which beckons a writer whether it is a mundane task such as doing the laundry, which I should make a start on right now, or accepting an invitation.

I would be even richer if I received a pound each time someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas from?” When the writing is not going well I’m tempted to smile and reply, “From the supermarket.” Actually, that’s not quite as far fetched as it seems. I’ve often overheard partial conversations that trigger an idea or seen a face which seems to step out of a historical era, a Roman soldier, a Norman Knight, a Mediaeval lady, a Franciscan monk, a Cavalier etc.

Potential material to kick start the muse is all around me and in non fiction, biographies and autobiographies. I am a historical novelist so my muse responds to something I read about times past, which must then translate itself onto the computer.

Stephen King wrote. “Don’t wait for the muse. This isn’t an Ouija board or spirit world we are talking about here, but just another job – like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks.”

So, how have I trained my muse? I have always understood the importance of having a place to write in which my muse and I can settle down. Once it was at a desk in the corner of the living room, today it is the smallest bedroom in the house which I have converted into an office.

After long hard battles my sometimes reluctant muse now understands that I have a regular writing routine. I rise early in the morning, deal with some e-mails, edit the last few pages of the previous day’s work in progress and then write until 10 or 11 a.m. Later in the day I work from 4 or 5 p.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., and sometimes my muse prompts me at night with an idea.

Anyone can establish a writing routine. The important thing is to write for set periods whether they are long or short. For example, if we write half a page a day we will have finished a novel by the end of the year. A bonus is that the muse will respect this and, as the saying goes, knuckle down to work.

My muse stays with me most of the time. When I’m doing housework, gardening or shopping Muse helps me to plot and plan. Recently, while at the health suite enjoying my time in the Jacuzzi, my muse and I have been considering the sequel to my novel, Sunday’s Child. We have been tossing ideas backwards and forwards, rejecting some and building on others. By the time we settle at the computer or the laptop we will have a plot and theme.

Regardless of whether we are published or unpublished, if we are determined, with the help of our muses, we will find the time and space to write.

Rosemary Morris
Historical Novelist

Publisher MuseItUp
Tangled Love January, 2012
Sunday’s Child June 2012
False Pretences October 2012


Anita Davison said...

Like you, Rosemary, my Muse is always with me - while shopping I people-watch, while travelling in a car I'm putting together scenarios and dialogue in my head - the trouble is, whenever anyone talks to me I am somewhere else and what I hear is: 'Oh forget it, you weren't listening anyway were you?'

Unknown said...

My muse follows me around throughout my day. She talks so much I have to carry a digital tape recorder with me to dictate notes into when I can't get to a computer. I've gotten some really odd looks from people at the store or doctor's office!

But, regardless of our 'muse,' I agree we must keep a writing schedule. I have a set number of pages I write a day. I write four pages and I don't stop until I've completed that requirement. The pages might not be for my WIP - they might be notes for a future work, they might be an entry in my journal, but I write. Everyday. Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, whatever day it is - I write. And I enjoy every (almost) second of it.

Great post!

Author of Concilium, available July 2012
Concilium: The Departure, November 2012

ChrisChat said...

Great sharing, Rosemary. I've found the more I respect my muse, the more my internal editor will take a hike.

Michelle, I carry a digital recorder, too. I'm just shy to use it...will start using it more knowing you're doing the same thing

Anita...I get the same comments when I'm reading...strange looks when I'm talking to myself.

Thanks for taking time to write this Rosemary

Viviane Brentanos said...

I think we authors write in our head 24 hours a day. I have been known to carry on whole conversations with my characters and act out their actions - must to the amusement of my daughter.Its when I am writing down raunchy scenes while my hotel guests wait for their room keys that it begins to become an obsession.


Sara Durham Writer ~ Author said...

Thank you Rosemary for reiterating the importance of making time for writing, this is something I'm working on, and hope to have a solid routine by the end of the year.

That is so true Anita, my family often will say something to me, and just roll their eyes when I don't answer right away. They just know that I've checked out for a bit, and then I beg them to repeat what it is they have just said.
My Muse happens to be very active when driving to and from work:) Makes you wonder how safe I am on the road...

Again great post Rosemary,


Frances Garrood said...

The other thing people say is "people tell me I should write my life story". (No, you shouldn't. You'd bore your readers to tears.) Oh - and you've left out another one: "what's your book about?" (read it and you'll find out).

Good luck with yours!

cleemckenzie said...

Love that Stephen King. No beating around the bush with him, is there?

Great post.

Marie Laval said...

It is so important for me to make time to write every day, whether it's taking notes, editing or writing 'properly'. I don't feel my day is complete otherwise, and I'm always afraid of becoming disconnected with my characters and my story - a typical case of 'loin des yeux, loin du coeur'!
Marie Laval

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