I would be a rich woman if I received a pound each time someone tells me, “I could write a novel.” I usually ask why don’t you write it. More often than not the reply is, “I don’t have time.”
Time is the factor which separates writers from would be writers. There is always something which beckons a writer whether it is a mundane task such as doing the laundry, which I should make a start on right now, or accepting an invitation.
I would be even richer if I received a pound each time someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas from?” When the writing is not going well I’m tempted to smile and reply, “From the supermarket.” Actually, that’s not quite as far fetched as it seems. I’ve often overheard partial conversations that trigger an idea or seen a face which seems to step out of a historical era, a Roman soldier, a Norman Knight, a Mediaeval lady, a Franciscan monk, a Cavalier etc.
Potential material to kick start the muse is all around me and in non fiction, biographies and autobiographies. I am a historical novelist so my muse responds to something I read about times past, which must then translate itself onto the computer.
Stephen King wrote. “Don’t wait for the muse. This isn’t an Ouija board or spirit world we are talking about here, but just another job – like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks.”
So, how have I trained my muse? I have always understood the importance of having a place to write in which my muse and I can settle down. Once it was at a desk in the corner of the living room, today it is the smallest bedroom in the house which I have converted into an office.
After long hard battles my sometimes reluctant muse now understands that I have a regular writing routine. I rise early in the morning, deal with some e-mails, edit the last few pages of the previous day’s work in progress and then write until 10 or 11 a.m. Later in the day I work from 4 or 5 p.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., and sometimes my muse prompts me at night with an idea.
Anyone can establish a writing routine. The important thing is to write for set periods whether they are long or short. For example, if we write half a page a day we will have finished a novel by the end of the year. A bonus is that the muse will respect this and, as the saying goes, knuckle down to work.
My muse stays with me most of the time. When I’m doing housework, gardening or shopping Muse helps me to plot and plan. Recently, while at the health suite enjoying my time in the Jacuzzi, my muse and I have been considering the sequel to my novel, Sunday’s Child. We have been tossing ideas backwards and forwards, rejecting some and building on others. By the time we settle at the computer or the laptop we will have a plot and theme.
Regardless of whether we are published or unpublished, if we are determined, with the help of our muses, we will find the time and space to write.
Tangled Love January, 2012
Sunday’s Child June 2012
False Pretences October 2012