My muse didn’t show up for work today. She didn’t even bother to call and give some lame excuse about why she couldn’t come in. She just left me sitting there with my inner critic who looked pointedly at her watch then lifted an eyebrow as if to say, “You see? Completely unreliable.”
My inner critic insisted we write anyway. She always does, so I’ve become accustomed to sitting down at the computer despite my muse’s absence. I string a few words together into a sentence. Then I rewrite it a couple of times. I write another sentence and usually end up rewriting that one too. The process feels more like chipping away at a block of ice than letting a paintbrush flow across the canvas, but I think that’s the sign of a true writer. You show up for work whether your muse does or not. The words don’t always come with graceful brushstrokes. Sometimes you have to chip away at them and force them to cooperate.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to wait for my muse in order to put words onto paper. I’ve also learned that, more often than not, if I start putting the words together, my muse will decide she’s in the mood to work after all. She’ll wander in (ignoring the ugly look from my inner critic) and read over my shoulder between sips of chai latte. She takes the flat words and awkward sentences I’ve put together, finds their potential, and breathes life into them.
So I’m not too worried that my muse didn’t show up for work. I know she’ll get here sooner or later, and when she does, she’ll create something beautiful. Until then, I’ll just keep chipping away.
Related post: Sharing a Desk With My Inner Critic
©2012 Kim Vandel
(image courtesy Simon Howden: freedigitalphotos.net)
Kim Vandel wanted to be Princess Leia when she grew up, but she’s decided that being a writer is even better than leading a rebellion against the Empire. Her current project is a YA urban fantasy set in Washington state. It features plenty of coffee but no vampires. You can find her books reviews and more atkimvandel.com. Kim has been a member of NCWA since 2011.