May 18, 2014 by dellanioakes
It’s 15 minutes until midnight and I’m sitting here watching dust gather on my keyboard. I want to write something—anything! As a last resort, I decided to write a post about not being able to write. That’s desperation for you.
I just finished editing a huge book. It was a difficult chore because it entailed cutting a lot of sections, both to shorten the book, as well as to make it flow better. All the information included in the cut sections had to be added elsewhere in the text. Great big chucks were cut our or shifted around. Every time I thought I had it under control, I’d lose the file or it would corrupt or I’d accidentally save over the newest files or delete the changes.
The book is with the publisher now, in his capable hands. What he does with it from there, I don’t much care. I’m brain dead. I want to write something and can’t seem to find inspiration. It’s as if my muse took a sleeping pill. Or maybe she simply resigned. I’m not sure. All I know is that I can’t seem to write much except grocery lists and it’s making me crazier than usual. I am, quite literally, going through withdrawal.
Like drug addicts, authors need a “fix” to keep them going. Our drug of choice is highly habit forming and readily addictive. Usually, there is a gateway to this addiction. Mine was storytelling as a child. It progressed to poetry and song parodies (like Alan Sherman & Anna Russell) when I was a little older.
By the time I got to high school, I was hooked on writing. Short stories, poetry, parodies, humorous essays and the occasional song, were all in my secret stash.
When I got to college, I turned to play writing for my fix. My use tapered off after I had children. I simply didn’t have time to feed my addiction. However, once my youngest son started kindergarten, I had the time to devote to my writing and threw myself on the mercy of my muse.
She’s a ruthless bitch, let me tell you! She gives me fantastic ideas, don’t get me wrong! She can keep me writing for 10 hours at a time. Then she clams up, decides not to speak for days on end. OR (and this is my favorite) she gives me a new idea and completely cuts off access to the other book. (My muse suffers from severe ADHD. Maybe a borderline personality disorder and is, quite possibly, schizophrenic.)
Anyone who is an author understands this. If you aren’t, you’re going to think I’m crazy. Perhaps I am. I know that it sounds as if I’m diving off the deep end into shallow water, but I assure you I’m not. I am a firm believer in the Muse—a spirit who guides creativity. When I write, I feel as if someone else speaks through me. Again, this makes me sound completely nuts. I’ve never felt the stories come from me, but rather through me. The characters use my abilities to tell their stories.
Right now, my Muse is napping. I guess I wore her out when I was rewriting The Maker. She kept trying to speak to me and I kept putting her off—locking her in the attic without a chance of escape or a glimmer of light. I think she’s having a temper tantrum. If so, I apologize. I never meant to mute the muse. She has some kick-ass ideas, though I wish she’d be a bit more forthcoming with endings. I keep getting stuck in the middle of a story and she’s swanning off again, leaving me in the lurch. I’ve considered playing some loud, obnoxious music to wake her up, but I’m not sure it will help. I can only hope that eventually, she will forgive me and give me something better to write than an article about how she’s being a bitch.
What interests me is that she hasn’t refuted or protested about me calling her a bitch. Either she really is asleep or she agrees with me. In either case, I am royally screwed. Perhaps she needs a bottle of Moscato and some Skippy hazelnut spread to wake her up.
© Dellani Oakes 2014