My muse went on strike late last week. No matter how much I prodded and cajoled and begged, she led me in circles.
Talk about unnerving.
I finally withdrew, letting her be while I turned to other things...tidying up my work space, unearthing and paying overdue bills, making lists for my lists. And wracking my brain for reasons why my muse had gone silent.
While organizing the writer's corner in my dining room, I realized my mistake.
Normally, in order to ease into my creative writing zone, I read and meditate about some aspect of craft (usually something I'm struggling with in relation to my current work), and I write Morning Pages ala Julia Cameron in an effort to quiet my brain of the extraneous stuff before I channel my characters.
However, in my rush to make weekly deadlines for the online Writing YA class I took last month with Lauren Barnholdt, I let my morning ritual slide. For a time, I got away with it. Bouyed by positive feedback, I made terrific progress on KM, and even found a fresh new voice for my MC. Unfortunately, although the momentum sustained me through the class and then some, it ran dry last week.
Yesterday, desperate to write a scene that didn't spin in place, and facing a deadline for tomorrow's crit group, I returned to my morning routine. And kicked myself for not returning to it sooner.
First, I did a Medicine Card reading. Then I read a chapter on structure from Janet Evanovich's new craft book, How I Write, Secrets of a Bestselling Author. Next, I wrote about my readings, and anything else that wandered into my head.
What a difference Morning Pages made. By giving my thinking brain a formal place to dump all the crud--my worries about my girls, the concerns fueled by my inner critic, the fear that I truly am on Tolkien's timeline (read 15 years) for finishing a first novel, I cleared out the clutter.
And freed my muse.
Yesterday, I cranked. Not only did I write enough to make deadline for Wednesday's crit group, I felt more accepting of my own process.