The Muse Wants a Separation - IWSG
So, what about me and my muse? Well, things between us are a little rocky. In fact, my muse has requested a trial separation. I can't say I'm surprised and yet I'm on the verge of disbelief. What did I do? I know what I didn't do, which is follow through on all her great story ideas. She says I'm fickle. That's not true. It's not easy staying focused. Maybe I have ADD or something, did she ever consider that? She says I'm unappreciative. I beg to differ. I appreciate all of her ideas. In fact, I'd love to get down on my knees and kiss her feet for all she has freely given. She says it wasn't free, there was expectation on her part. "I have a stake in this too, you know." I can't help it if I have difficulty making something interesting or entertaining out of her ideas. It's not that I haven't tried.
She says I'm greedy, never satisfied with her offerings, always thinking about the next bite before I've fully chewed the one in my mouth. "What about all those stories you began to write in excited glee and then let fall by the wayside before they had a chance to breathe, only to repeat the pattern with the next idea and the one after that?" My resolve to declare my innocence is starting to shake. She goes through my files. She pulls out sheets of paper and hands them to me. I begin to read. Oh wow, I think, this is good. </em>A smile floats on my lips. Yet in mid-story, in mid-sentence, the words stop like a freeway interchange under construction trailing unfinished into the air. I wonder where the story was going? Why did I quit so soon? I can't remember. Is it too late to catch up to it? Have I missed the current of inspiration that could have taken me on a magic ride? I can feel her wince. "If you don't like my ideas, I know plenty who would." It's not that, I say. It's not that.
So, what is it?
There's nothing that can match the cool breeze that blows through my veins when I'm in the zone, that wondrous space where the writing "just happens." In the zone "I" don't exist. Instead, I'm more like a conduit where there is no negative chatter from the inner critic that hates everything I do. It is wonderful. It is what I think of when people say writing is its own reward. I so enjoy the bubbly ride of following a story but inevitably I must stop, and that's when I get into trouble. For when I return to the piece I may not be able to slip into the zone and then I get awkward and clumsy until I'm stuck and I lose the thread altogether. This is where my old pal, Fear, does his best work. I told you so. </em> One reason I'm attracted to Flash Fiction is that it seems easier to get it all down before... well, before what? "That's what I'd like to know," the muse says. Before </em>I become so entangled and flustered I give up. Before I watch it float away on a rushing river of disappointment and regret. Before I have no choice but to move onto something else.
My muse says I care more about the zone than her. I can see her point. I think my problem is I believe I will change, that one day I'll wake up, unafraid and confident, and the stories will fall off my pen like rain released from storm clouds, zone or no zone. I've tried everything I can think of, taken classes, read countless books and articles, spoken to other writers begging for tips, yet the truth remains. I have a difficult time finishing what I start by just the sweat of my pen and I think this somehow disqualifies me from being a writer.
"I don't know where you get these useless ideas. Why pay attention to anything that isn't helpful?"
We stayed up late talking and she's agreed to give me another chance. She suggests I let go of romantic notions and get down to work. "Follow Nike's slogan -- Just do it! See the zone as the exception and enjoy it for the gift it is. But don't depend on it to get your life's work done." She offered me her version of trailers, teasing me with coming attractions of ideas she's thinking of lending me. We were having a good time, feeling all cozy when the conversation took a personal turn and well... let's just say we made up. And now, I am determined not to disappoint her again. Is this a realistic goal?
Posted for Insecure Writers Support Group</a>