Tweaks and Hiccups
Back in the mid-1990’s when I started taking my writing seriously, I had routines, rites maybe even to cajole words from the muse within. Somewhere in my travels, I’d stumbled across the most aromatic candle from Swan Creek Candle
Company-eucalyptus tea. It was a soothing fragrance that I found oddly stimulating. Great for focus. This paired with Vivaldi’s Autumn from the Four Seasons, Pachelbel: Canon and okay, I admit it: Yanni: Live at the Acropolis made for an atmosphere that put me in a place where the words just flowed. The quality didn’t matter, putting words on a page did. Editing is where the real work lies. Blocking out afternoons, when all the work was done, or evenings after work, I wrote two books using these prompts.
Then, life does what it does: it changed. My husband and I moved from the Eastern Sierras back to Sonoma County for the best of reasons-to be near my aging father, to accept a wonderful job offer and to get back to all our friends and family. With changed must come adjustments, tweaks and hiccups.
During the move, I lost the manuscript to Probable Cause (the working title for By Force or Fear). Everything but the outline. Well, since that was the skeleton of the story, I set to work re-writing. Pretty soon, Swan Creek Candle Company stopped selling Eucalyptus Tea. I got tired of my old classical favorites and stopped listening to music while I wrote. Turns out, I could get more done without the two crutches for inspiration. In fact, I came to realize, that even when “the muse” was taking a nap, I wrote. My time was so limited that I had to take advantage whatever opportunity arose to write. With a few tweaks and hiccups, I’d found my “way.”
Every writer has their “way.” Mine used to be having certain things in place—music, and scent. Now, I sit in front of the computer and pound the keyboard. Doing this has humbled me in this way: there’s no coaxing the muse. I’m not subject to her whims and fancies. I’ve evolved into a professional: I come to work and work. Just like my pre-retirement job as a public safety dispatcher: when I sat in the hot seat at work, I was primed for action and ready for anything. Writing is the same way. When I sit, I write. As before, sometimes it good, other times it’s not so hot. As I said before, the real work is in the editing. Cutting words, adding paragraphs, reading aloud are all tweaks and hiccups needed for me to get my work done.
Great blog. Right now I’m without my computer so have been writing in pen on paper. If you have to write, you write. Hopefully computer will return today–have much to do.
“If you have to write, you write.” The mark of a professional. Well said, Marilyn!