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Friday, September 21, 2012

Communing with your Muse by Billi Wagner

            I consider myself a work at home Mom. Some people might say the lack of an outside job should give an author more time to write, not less, but they don’t live in the same chaotic environment as I do. I’m sure other writer mamas out there can relate. Job or no job, when you have kids your work day never ends. It isn’t easy juggling parenthood and trying to jumpstart a writing career at the same time.

            The online writing community is vast and I take advantage of many of the wonderfully supportive groups and opportunities available to me, but they deal mostly with the business side of things. This blog is about the creative process itself. I have so many stories begging to be written, but things don’t fall into place if my muse isn’t willing.

When I say my muse I mean the source of my inspiration, but I often think in terms of a real person, the way a child would with an imaginary friend. She’s as high maintenance as any of my children, demanding her share of my time just like they do and when she gets ticked off I get a wicked case of writer’s block.

When I’m blocked I do all the usual things to jumpstart my brain. I switch projects so I can go back later with a fresh perspective. I listen to music, watch movies or read books in the genre I’m trying to write. Anything to get that spark back. We’ve all been there. The writing is so much better when it flows on its own, when the words aren’t forced.

I’m most inspired most by thunderstorms. The sound of thunder and pouring rain accompanied by those flashes of lightning make me feel exhilarated like Dr. Frankenstein about to give life to his creation. I sit down at my computer and I don’t stop writing until I’m totally spent. Unfortunately, I can’t whip up a storm every time I get stuck on a plot point.

So what other option is out there for our weary creative souls? I have so many friends who get writer’s block and stop writing altogether. They say they’ll write again and some of them do, but some don’t. I’ve been there myself and had to think outside the box to remedy the problem.  

I left the kids with their dad for the weekend, bought a pizza for the road and rented a hotel room. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it had everything I needed, specifically a wireless internet connection for my laptop. A little undivided attention for my muse and I accomplished more in one night than I had in the entire month before.

I’ve been back a couple times since then when I really needed to reconnect and I’m looking forward to going again soon. Sometimes the best cure is simply a little me time. Find someone to babysit. Take a vacation day from work. Blow off the cooking and the chores. Do what readers do every time they pick up a book and take a small escape from your life. Commune with your muse. I promise you won’t regret it.
BIO:  Billi Wagner, formerly Billi Pethtel, wanted to grow up and be a published author since she penned her first short story in second grade. A husband and six kids later, that dream hasn’t changed. Her first romantic mystery/comedy novel ‘Painted Jezebel’ is published under the pen name Jolie Pethtel to keep the genre separate from the paranormal projects she is currently writing under her legal name.

1 comment:

Leti Del Mar said...

Thanks for the great post. I'm the mom of a toddler and I work which means the time I can sit down and write is limited and I do not have time for writer's block. My favorite muse is musical. I listen to a favorite playlist that helps me channel the mood I'm trying to achieve.