10 April 2004


10 April 2004

I write as a hobby.  Most of the short fiction that I write is set in a shared universe (Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe).  Since I don’t write professionally my muse comes and goes as she pleases.  I can set stories aside for months or even years if I don’t feel inspired to work on them.  

I have many other interests and sometimes writing just takes a back seat to what ever my current passion is, but I always come back to writing.  It is what I do when I am stressed, how I cope when the world seems out of kilter, and it can be a lot of fun when the plot and characters are cooperating.  When the muse is with me, my fingers fly over the keyboard, scenes flow together like water running downhill, and characters talk to me, narrating their story as I try to keep up with their conversations and arguments.

When the characters are silent writing can be a hard slog thought deep mud.  When I am trying to write my way though a museless story, every line is work and every paragraph feels like it has been dragged from me, rather than flowing willingly onto the page.  The characters stubbornly refuse to answer my questions and I find myself getting up and walking away from the computer or checking my email every five minutes to see if something new has come in.  My mind rebels against the hard work of carding the wool of the imagination, much preferring to work with finished thread.

However, just as I always come back to writing as the primary outlet for my imagination, sometimes I find that the hard work of writing calls to me more than the easy stories my muse provides.  Writing to the dictates of a muse is easy and fun, but like cotton candy, it is quickly gone and leaves one feeling hungry and hyper.  

For me, putting emotion and feeling into a story is difficult.  To a certain extent, I have to feel what my characters are feeling in order to write with any depth.  My muse is fickle and does not like difficult situations and she frequently deserts me just as I get to the emotional climax of a story.  Sometimes I go though three or four drafts before I have the courage to write the tough scenes and, even though I know that about myself and my muse, I haven’t quite gotten to the stage where I can sit down and let my emotions bleed into the page on the first draft.

My muse requires coaxing, she reveals more and more about the story with each draft, and is willing to go deeper only after playing about in the shallows for a time.  Sometimes I have to leave her on the shore and dive on my own into the deep water.  Someday I hope to be able to write more consistently and be less reliant on my muse.  Until then, I will keep slogging away seeing the clear path of a plot disappear into the murky swamp of words. 

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