My writing life is full of ups and downs. Some days I sit at the computer and stare at the next chapter heading and wonder where I’m going to find the words. These seem to be compounded by life events that interrupt my obsessive writing habits. Grandchild number 6 made his grand appearance last week. So did Spring. So did my seasonal allergies, which put me in bed and gave me some unexpected reading time.
I am a huge Elizabeth Gilbert fan. She wrote Eat. Pray. Love., but also many other books. I found her through the one that brought her into the spotlight, but I stayed a fan because I find the woman as inspiring as her work. Gilbert is a kindred writer soul in terms of honoring the creative process that keeps her writing.
I think my muse deliberately sends Gilbert’s books into my line of sight when he—yes my muse is a he—gets fed up with my bouts of writing lethargy. Before that, he’ll torture me with long hours of nothing but my shoulders bent over my keyboard with my fingers still until the screen goes black. I have to wait until he not
ices that my back is hurting and my butt has gone numb, and then he will sometimes finally send the story inspiration back to me. Or at least this is how it feels. He is more my dungeon master than my muse at times.
Most writers read a lot and I am a voracious reader. When I am not actively writing, my typical consumption is around 3 books a week with one usually being non-fiction of some sort. I pre-order books I want and when they arrive on my ereader, it’s like Christmas. I intend to just read a chapter to see what a book is like, but instead I read half the book before I can make myself stop.
Here is a TED talk Gilbert did about creativity and how hard it is to keep writing if you believe your best work is perhaps behind you. Nearly every book makes me feel like this, so I listened to it again today. I reminded myself, that like Gilbert, I am a mule. I know what my work is and I show up. But if you see my muse, will you put in a good word for me? There are couple of books that really need to get finished. Thanks.