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.