Monday, February 11, 2013

Muse Abuse

Everyone has a muse. That little person in your head that gives you ideas for anything in the universe. Some people haven't found theirs yet- some encounter them on a whim while doing work or the laundry. you can't entice them most times either- they hardly ever show up when you want them to!

I think mine came from the 1930's mob era- she doesn't just show up, she brings friends and whops me upside the head with so many ideas at once I can't write fast enough to get them all down! In fact when I do forget one, she whops me again so I can only half-remember what it was, spurring on another list of ideas!

I think if I didn't sleep, I'd be hyper-kinetic. I still might be- just the kind that sleeps a lot.

Here is the problem:

I type with two fingers, about forty words a minute. I hand-write less than that. I think at about three hundred miles an hour (give or take a million) so you can see by the math my fingers just can't catch up with my brain. 

There's also another down-side to all this prolific idea conjuration- because my brain is busy with all this, my memory stinks like last-weeks garbage.

Maybe that's why my muse abuses me. I don't type or write fast enough to get everything down, so she has to keep hitting me to get my memory started. But all she does is jar the idea part of my brain, and it starts pumping out ideas again, making me fill out dozens of 3 x 5 cards each time. When the ideas shut off, I know she had to go get some rest because her arms got too tired.

My muse has taught me a few tricks to help me though, so it isn't all bad.

I've learned to write legibly in the dark. That way when she whops me in the middle of the night, I don't have to turn the light on or get out of bed. And most of the time I understand what I wrote on the morning, including the stuff I scribbled out and wrote underneath it in small print.

I've learned to keep paper on me and around me at all times, and have at least three pens handy. Yes- even in the bathroom and basement. I don't know why I just don't carry a caddy or apron like waitresses do for their order pads. It might make life easier!

Get the basic idea down, do details later. Too many times I've tried to flesh out the story only to be whopped again by my muse. Apparently she has more ideas to bestow, and I need to hurry up.

Write ideas first, do chores later. Self explanatory, and this one happens to be my favorite! Of course when I'm done writing, I have a lot of little papers and cards to sort, so it forms another little niche on my chore list. Sigh.

Sometimes, if the ideas just aren't working for me, I call a writer friend and ask them if they need help. The muse is satisfied (because I can talk a blue streak), and I use my idea-producing mind in grand-slam brainstorming sessions. I get to socialize and help someone out of a writing rut. Then, and only then, does she leave me be for a little while- usually until lunchtime.

She also doesn't bother me when I'm writing. By the time I'm ready to type, the ideas are already formed (for the most part) and she doesn't mind sitting around eating some cookies until I need her for something. It's only when I stop writing for a few days she starts reaching for her whopping stick.

Do you suffer from muse abuse, or does your muse come and go as she pleases? Or is she a relative of my muse with a whopping stick of her own?


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