Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Nothing Out Of Something


At the beginning of the year, I boldly (foolishly?) declared I'd be stopping in here once a week or so to dust for cobwebs. Problem is, sometimes news is hard to come by, and it ain't every week I can toss off a couple hundred words about lawnchair aircraft or mix tapes.

So what's an uninspired writer to do? Most writers would tell said hypothetical writer to put his ass in his chair and his fingers on his keyboard, and something will come. That waiting for inspiration is a fool's errand. And you know what? I'm one of those writers.

Here's the thing though, and the thing is this: sometimes, that doesn't work. Sometimes, you put your ass in your chair and your fingers on your keyboard, and shit-nothing happens. Or even worse, your grouchy, nasty, bile-spitting anti-muse isn't satisfied with nothing happening; what that mean little don't-feed-after-midnight-and-never-ever-get-it-wet bastard really wants is to light its charming, erudite, and have-I-told-you-how-nice-you-look-today cousin's deathless prose on fire, dance while it burns, and piss all over the ashes. And the bitch of it is, your anti-muse is a pretty decent mimic. When it wants to, it can coo and purr just like your muse, saying, I know we thought that sentence was lovely yesterday, but don't you think our story would be better off without it? Oh, and while we're at it, maybe the chapter it's in isn't necessary, either. I know, I know, but trust me, we'll be better off without it.

So what do you do when your muse starts talking crazy? You get your fingers off the keyboard, that's what, and your ass out of the fucking chair. Seriously, just walk away. Take a stroll. Read a book. Do anything but delete those words of yours. 'Cause that voice you're hearing ain't your muse. Your muse is bound and gagged in some back corner of your mind next to a stack of old locker combinations and a dusty copy of the quadratic equation. But fear not. Your muse may seem like sweetness and light to you (seriously, muse, have you lost weight?), but make no mistake, your muse is a bad-ass. It's gonna Jack Bauer out of those ropes in no time, and when it does, your anti-muse is gonna pay. You just have to give it time to do its thing.

The trick is to be honest with yourself. You pretend your muse is locked up when it's not 'cause you just don't feel like writing that day, and your (lovely, intelligent, and dare I say sexy?) muse is gonna get pissed at you. Believe me, you do not want that to happen; that, my friends, is how squeakuels get written.

So remember: ass in chair, hands on keyboard, except when not. Long as you figure out when those nots are, you'll be fine.

Oh, look, I wrote a blog post! Guess my muse was in after all. Little cheeky today, though, don't you think? (Kidding, muse, kidding. And is that a new haircut? Whatever you're doing, it looks fantastic.)