Monday, November 10, 2014

On Muses, @AvrilLavigne, #NaNoWriMo, and #WIPMadness Check-in

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If I had a muse, it would be Avril Lavigne. There's something about her Girl Power brand and individualistic lyrics that make me feel like I can do anything and that the world needs my unique words.

I say "if" because the truth is, I don't believe in muses. I used to, before I discovered NaNoWriMo. In 2007, I started taking on the 30-day, 50,000-word challenge, and that changed my thinking. You see, when forcing yourself to write 50,000 words in a month, you don't have time to wait around for inspiration or muses. Most of the thirty days you will not feel like writing at all. At least I don't. But I push myself to meet my goal, and inevitably, words and metaphors and story lines show up on the page that blow me away when I go back to reread. Those nuggets of gold are not the result of my muse, they are simply the result of my dedication.

One of the reasons I'm such a big advocate of NaNoWriMo and fast drafting is because I believe that by pushing ourselves to write, even when we don't feel like it, helps us access our subconscious mind where all of our best ideas are stored. You see, if we take our time and only write when our "muse" strikes, we already think we have the best ideas, so why on earth would our subconscious mind pipe up to tell us any different?

I'm curious if you agree, or if you have some sort of muse that truly helps you get your stories written.

Also, I should mention that if you are fast drafting this month, I'm live-tweeting tips from my nonfiction writing book Fast Fiction, using the hashtag #FastFiction.

Also, NaNoWriMo posted my Top 5 Tips to NaNo Success this week. I hope you'll check it out.

And finally, don't forget to leave your progress on your goals so far this month in the comments. Write on, friends!

8 comments:

  1. I think the muse was invented by people who want to be writers but really don't want to put in the hard work. I wrote my first novel in 1998. The second in 2005. Numbers four and five in 2007 and 2009. I spent four years feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't getting published. In 2013, I decided to dive back in. By trying to fix novel number four. In early 2014, I asked myself if I reallly wanted to be an author or not. I'm currently on my fourth novel this year. See where I'm going with this? We become writers when we get off our dead asses, stop bitching about how hard it is, and write. A lot. Sure I found people like you who seem to have this knack for inspiring other writers, but it really comes down to how hard we're willing to work. 28K in the first 9 days of Nano. No muse, just blowin' up the keyboard. Write on.

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    1. LOL, well put, Ron! Way to go with all of your work this year. No muse required.

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  2. I'm not a fast writer, but when I want or need to write, I write. Sometimes the words flow, and sometimes they plod, but I figure that has more to do with my own frame of mind than any 'muse'.

    I've been battling a flu bug and chose to read rather than write during the past couple days. This afternoon I took advantage of the sunshine and did some work in the garden. The fresh air was wonderful, and this evening I plan to get back to my WIP and finally add some more words to my NaNo counter.

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    1. Aww, sorry to hear you've been sick, Carol. Hope you're recovering well now and I hear we are supposed to get lots of sun this week, so hopefully that alone will make you feel better :)

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  3. I don't subscribe to the idea of a Muse, either, although I have definitely found that, for me at least, there is a real ebb and flow to creativity. Doesn't mean I can't write during those "ebbing" times...just that it might seem harder. But I do tend to extend myself a little grace at those times (unless I'm under deadline, haha), and focus for a while on re-filling, renewing, replenishing.

    Finding my way into a new-old project this month (approaching an old manuscript from a different angle, hoping to breathe life into it). It feels good to be writing this character's story again!

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    1. Yes, I totally see value in giving yourself grace as well (it's just not an area I'm particularly good at. LOL)

      I love going back to stories after a nice long break away from them. All the best with going back to yours and breathing life into it!

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  4. I just took a webcast class with Joyce Sweeney on the Plot Clock which helped me with some loose ends in this Nanowrimo project. I really don't believe in the Muse. I have to pull my inspiration and put my butt in the chair and just write or else it doesn't happen.

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    1. Haven' t heard of the Plot Clock. Will have to check that out!

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