Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Distractions

15 Comments

0528151217-01

Flowers along the walking path at work.

Okay, I admit it. I’ve gotten little to no writing done this week due to distractions. Yup, it was one of those weeks, where anything that could interrupt writing time can and did. From picking up my daughter after school to taking her to Urgent Care (Did you know that the joints between the sternum and the ribs can get inflamed? Neither did I.), and various home distractions such as (okay, fill in your list: spouse watching television, daughter singing to MP3 player music, same making commentary about One Direction fanfic (ad nauseum!), various household and gardening chores, etc.)

Another writer had a post along the same theme earlier this week, which is maybe what made me start thinking about how easily I get distracted when my story stalls. She had a great list of things that we use to fill our days until we get to the end of the day and realize we were so busy we didn’t write anything. At this point, it’s really my MC tweaks that are sucking me into the mire.

I can hear it now: No excuses! Get your butt in that chair and write! Come on, I am writing.

“It’s not your WIP.”

My shoulders tighten. He’s standing behind me, isn’t he? Not sure I should turn around. Maybe if I pretend I didn’t hear him…

“I know you heard me, love. You can’t ignore me. It’s my job to keep you on track with your writing.”

I turn. My Muse is leaning against the door jamb as usual, arms crossed on his chest, lips pressed together in a tight line. Those furrows on his forehead don’t inspire the good butterflies in my middle. More like the evil butterflies with sharp wings.

“I’m still writing.”

“It’s almost June. You need to send fifty pages of your WIP to your writing sisters in a month.”

“It’s almost summer; I’m busy. Did you see the weeds in the garden? I need to rescue my spinach and beets from the green villains.”

He approaches, leans over me, and points to the screen. “Fitting blog title. Distractions. You’re not busy, you’re distracted. Goes along with procrastination.” He straightens, rests a hand on the back of my chair. I can’t decide if he means it as a threat. “It’s supposed to rain today, so guess what you’re going to do tonight after work.” It isn’t a question, more like a statement. The way he says it makes me think of my petulant teens when I remind them of their chores.

“You know, I’ve been putting off a lot of household chores–”

He stops me with a strong hand on my shoulder and a firm squeeze. “And you have two teens at home who are finished with school for the year. You know how you need to adjust your MC, just do it already. And I’m going to shadow you to make sure you focus. No chocolate until you get your head in the game.”

Ah, okay. I just got a bag of nice Dove dark chocolate with almonds. And one with sea salt caramel. Mmm, chocolate.

He squeezes again, and this time it hurts. “Head in the game, love.”

Here’s to planning a productive writing weekend. Write on!

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, four chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

15 thoughts on “Distractions

  1. I like your muse. He doesn’t put up with excuses. So much for the sweet little muse-fairies that sit on our shoulders and whisper inspiration in our ears. I think that’s a myth. Mine gets under my skin and nags. She’s an addiction that doesn’t let go.

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    • He needs to be kind of a hard-ass to keep me in line ๐Ÿ™‚ . I don’t think the little shoulder-fairies would help me much. I agree about muses being like addictions; that just makes it easier for them to do their jobs!

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      • I’ve heard some people say they have spirits or guardian angels or recently departed souls or ghosts who give advice and sometimes even dictate passages. I assume your Muse is rhetorical without magic powers. Do you ever wish for a magical one that would come into reality and show its independence from your subconscious? The trouble with a rhetorical muse is that you have to write for “it” as well as for yourself. I’ve heard they’re starting a Muse union that demands that their members be given independence and be able to write their own dreams. There is some question from the union boss about whether a Faustian deal should be made.

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      • Interesting idea. Sometimes, I do wish he could just “appear” and give me some “unbiased” guidance, but the metaphysical rules in our reality just doesn’t allow it, at least until the muses figure out a way around it. I imagine if the union put their resources together, they’d figure out a way around the rhetorical limitations. Of course, that also means we writers (and other artists) would have to negotiate contracts and probably give them raises. Let’s hope they leave Faust out of the negotiations ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Hey, thanks for the shout out! I was like – Oh I wonder who it is she’s referring to there…oh it’s me! Your muse is very bossy, but it sounds like that’s just what you need, happy writing weekend!

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    • I like to share if I find a great post, and especially if I like it enough to write my own post. I enjoy yours, and thought Iโ€™d share. My Muse is attentive (as another reader put it) and yes, bossy, but heโ€™s also attractive enough I donโ€™t mindโ€“much ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I do need it! Have a great weekend!

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  3. Scary about your daughter with the urgent care but it sounds like it worked out okay. So glad!

    I’ve spent the last two days making notes for my WIP and reading (researching) material for the same. Of course, I’ve done it poolside, so I’m not sure if it counts as intense WIP planning. We are supposed to have rain most of the day tomorrow, so I fully expect to put all of that research and plotting to work. Your muse is right that rainy days have no excuses when it comes to writing. Here’s wishing both of our muses are in overdrive soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yes, it did. It was scary at first because she complained her chest hurt so badly she couldn’t breathe. Funny thing, now it doesn’t hurt as much. The NP that we saw recommended ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation, so I guess that worked, along with an ice pack. My daughter says she still feels the pain sometimes, but it’s not as bad as it was. Sigh.

      Hmm, poolside research? Sounds rough *snicker*. Hope you can make some progress on your WIP! I’m working up a new chapter, but still making notes. I feel like I’m still learning about my MC. I figure by draft revision 3 or 4 I’ll have a good idea who she is.

      Keep Writing!

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  4. This is the hardest time of the year to stay in line, Julie. Give your self a little more slack and make the most of your time on the leash and off! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thanks, Mark, you’re right! My problem is giving myself too much slack ๐Ÿ™‚ I am trying to work out a way to give my writing attention during the summer. Weekends work much better than weekdays, but if I could train the dogs to weed the garden, I’d have lots more time to write!

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      • Our Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle loves to run amuk in the gardens, but still can’t tell the weeds from the plants, so we keep her away from that duty. Sigh. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Good luck with the plan, Julie.

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  5. Pingback: The 777 Writerโ€™s Challenge | Myths of the Mirror

    • Thanks so much, D! My creative energy is at a low just now, or I’m sure I’d have something witty to say ๐Ÿ™‚ Figures, just when my Muse decided to head out for a little fishing. I told him he’d better be back by tomorrow–the forecast is for tropical heat, so I’m going to enjoy the A/C and work on my WIP!

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  6. It’s so easy to get distracted. I’ve been very distracted this week. I’ve just finished writing a first draft and I think my muse is taking a holiday! Mind you, I find it much harder to work when its hot – in fact, I find it hard to do anything when it is hot, except sit and drink lots of water – and a chocolate or three. My muse is a nag when I am in the middle of writing a book but then he hops off and leaves me alone to motivate me to do the editing/rewriting etc. I’m glad to find I’m not the only writer who procrastinates. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • For sure not the only one ๐Ÿ™‚ Even today, with the excuse of it being hot outside, I find it hard to tear myself away from catching up on reading blog posts and working on my WIP. I like the chocolate or three idea–I think I still have some good stuff around here. Ghiardelli is good. Wish I could get some of the real Mozart chocolates here, but they don’t ship the good stuff across the Atlantic ๐Ÿ™‚ I imagine my Muse is almost finished with his fishing trip, and I’m sure he’ll return with a single-mindedness to get me back on track. Happy Writing!

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