My Muse Needs An Intervention

Posted: March 29, 2014 in Self-publishing
Tags: , , , ,

Full disclosure: My muse and I are in the midst of a trial separation. It’s been that way for going on three years now. Thankfully, the split has been mostly amicable. But we do have our spats, like all estranged couples do. She’s been known to give me the silent treatment for months at a time, and I’ll admittedly blow her off in favor of a six-pack and a ballgame when the mood strikes me. Every once in a while, though, we’ll get on the same wavelength and hook up in that place where all the magic happens—the decidedly unergonomic chair in front of my computer.

Our relationship has been especially bumpy over the past few weeks, to say the least. My muse (who looks suspiciously like Drew Barrymore circa The Wedding Singer) has been all over the map. One day she’s luring me out of bed at the crack of dawn, hot coffee and fresh storylines in hand. The next, she’s nowhere to be found, and I wake to a bleating alarm clock at 11:30 with nothing but the faint scent of her perfume to remind me she was ever there at all. Women. Am I right, fellas?

When I was at my best (God, I sound like Al Bundy reliving his glory days at Polk High) writing-wise, I’d wake up at 3:30 in the am, brew a pot of coffee, then sit down and write for two hours. I’d put about 1,500 well-scrutinized words on my hard drive, save, then head off to work to waste the next nine or ten hours of my life. Like clockwork. Somehow, I managed to do that for three years straight. All that stick-to-it-iveness yielded four complete novels and about a dozen serviceable short stories. Then came the drought.

For almost three years, I wrote next to nothing. I somehow managed to cobble together a decent short story (“Itch”) over the course of six months or so. I got a thousand or so words into another three shorts, even fifty pages into a novel before trunking it. Otherwise, nothin’. Then, this very month, all that changed. I began a casino heist novel that’d been banging around in my head for years. Then I shelved that, switched gears, and started work on the sequel to Signal Fire. Things were rolling along nicely. A couple weeks ago, however, my muse came a-knockin’, slurring her words and reeking of appletinis.

“Hey!” she said. “Y’know what you should do? Ditch that skanky sequel and get back with me. I know we ain’t always been the best couple, but I can change.” Then she started crying. So naturally, I had to take her back.

Since then, predictably, things have been chaotic. Between holding my muse’s hair back while she vomits every morning and calling local hospitals when she disappears every night, I’ve been less than productive. On top of all that, she’s planted two new story ideas in my head, one of which is a horror short that must be written ASAP, the other of which seems like it’s going to top out at novella length. So it looks like the civil unrest is going to continue for a while. But hey, what can I do? The two of us have almost twenty kids together.

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