Saturday, August 4, 2012

Muse At Play


This summer I've gotten very little actual writing done, but that doesn't mean my mind isn't furiously working. My current wip is still taking shape, and I'm also forming my next book.

You'd think my muse would be stifled, lazy, and indifferent. But no. She's been wild, carefree, and very active. She hasn't abandoned me, despite my neglect. When I least expect it, she shows up...laughing, crying, and chasing the sunset. She consistently taps me on the shoulder, saying, "This can happen. No! THIS can happen. And then this, and then..."

Our muses visit us differently, but mine is most active when I'm:

  • Walking: whether it's in the mountains behind my home, or at the local park, this is when my muse comes out to play. I usually shuffle Taylor Swift songs on my iPhone, and submerge myself in love, heartbreak, angst, and happy endings. The phone then becomes a note-taking device.
  • Cleaning house: I really hate cleaning my house, but it's a job that must be done. While I'm working through mindless tasks, story kinks have a way of working themselves out. I take notes on story fixes, and then move on to the next bathroom :/
  • Watching movies: my muse loves watching movies, no doubt about it. Maybe it's because I'm relaxed and open, or maybe it's because I'm watching how the pros do it. Either way, I usually end up with a slip of notebook paper beside me while I'm watching a good flick.
  • Reading: reading sends my muse into a creative frenzy. While I'm reading someone else's work, I undoubtedly have ideas for my own work. Not the same ideas as the author, but still, ideas come to me when I reading. I've resigned myself to using blank sheets of notebook paper as my bookmark, because I know I'll be taking notes. (One piece of paper for my current wip, and another for my next book,which is percolating now)
The trick for me is to be ready and open to capture ideas. Like most writers, I have paper and pencil ready at all times, and I capture these thoughts. I stack them by project so they're ready for me to weave into both books.

How about you? When does your muse come out to play? How do you capture those ideas?

42 comments:

  1. I think you and I are sharing the same muse. It's like you plucked this entire post right out of my head.

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    1. LOL! That's funny! Nice to know we're not alone :)

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  2. Oh, oh, Lydia is thinking the same thing as me. All these great ideas come when I'm doing everything but sitting at the computer!

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    1. Catherine, that is SO true! This stack of loose paper beside me is proof that my mind works best when I'm NOT at the computer!

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  3. I agree that I think of things to write when I'm not sitting at the computer. I think of things to write when I'm...sitting down, laying down in bed, and watching movies. The hardest part is remembering them when you're sitting down at the computer and that may take a couple days since you have more ideas pondering in your head.

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    1. So true, Livia. I must keep paper with me, because I have the attention span of a four year old. If I didn't write stuff down, it would be gone. Forever.

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  4. Ideas hit me when I'm playing my guitar or watching movies. Sometimes in the middle of the day at work, and then I have to write them down quick.

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    1. Oooh, playing guitar... I can see how that would bring on the great ideas.

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  5. Reading is definitely a great way to get ideas! I've been a bit behind on reading lately, though. . . I've been getting ideas for new WIPS, but no ideas for current ones. Those ideas usually come while I'm reading and revising.

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    1. Isn't it great how when we're reading, we're also becoming better writers? Totally win/win

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  6. We are always writing in our heads, even when we are not writing...

    Oddly, mine comes out at work. Usually at the end of the day, when I'm cleaning up business.

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  7. I love that you take notes during walks and movies, what a brilliant idea! That's it, I'm going to start keeping a notebook with me at all times. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. Heather, it's a sickness, really. But hey, if an idea strikes, we might as well jot it down!

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  8. My muse loves to visit and chat when I'm supposed to be sleeping - especially when I'm just drifting off - she pops in with great ideas! :)

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    1. I know, right? What's up with that? Do you keep a pad of paper by your bed?

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  9. Hi, Julie! Great post. My muse has gone back to coming in the middle of the night, so I do some quick jotting down of notes and then go back to sleep.
    : )

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    1. Oooh, dreamy ideas. I've heard those are the best!

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  10. Walking with music makes my muse rise up out of the fog. Except my muse is a really hot - age appropriate - guy. Clearly he won't show up when I'm doing housework. I might make him vacuum.

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    1. A hot guy vacuuming...thanks for the visuals this morning :)

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  11. I sent my muse to summer camp while I work thru a few things. But still, she calls me up when I'm reading or watching a movie. I'll be bringing her home for a fierce workout in a little over 2 weeks. I hope she got herself in good shape! I keep my iPhone with me at all times. It's where I jot down everything so I don't forget. But when she & I are sitting down together, I use a notebook & pen & scratch out a thorough outline.

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    1. Summer camp for the Muse. I love that! Good luck with her up and coming fierce workout.

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  12. I have to agree with you, Julie, my muse is also most active when I'm active or doing some mundane chore. She also likes to make suggestions while I'm watching movies or reading.

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    1. Yay for movies and reading! I love how that's "work" for us ;)

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  13. What is it with housework? It always brings out the muse in me too. :)

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    1. Maybe because it's totally mindless and we'd rather daydream than vacuum!

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  14. Hello, Miss Julie. *waves* When I'm not writing, I usually shut my Muse down, giving her the month or current season off, whatever the case may be. When I'm writing, however, I hear the muse as soon as I walk away from my laptop and all the way up until the next laptop session. My muse is usually hard at work taking me to the next scene(s). That's driving, the few moments before sleep, showering, and every other alone-time I get. It's great how it works. I try not to question it. :)

    -Jimmy

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    1. Oh, I totally forgot about showering. That's another place where the muse intrudes!

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  15. I get my ideas everywhere too, so I like to be prepared. I love to have post-its ready to scribble on. I've been having problems with your link buttons for some reason, they won't let me tweet this or facebook that. Anyone else mention it happening to them? Just thought you should know.

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    1. Post-its...great idea!

      About the buttons, thanks so much for letting me know! I just experimented with them and they worked for me, but I'll have to keep my eye on that.

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  16. My mind is always working on my book, and stories. While playing with the kids, painting, working in the yard... or movies too. I need to remember my paper to write notes. But, even when I'm not writing... that is the best time for me to be working. Thinking means plotting.

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    1. Exactly! When I try too hard, I draw a blank. When I'm not trying, that's when inspiration hits.

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  17. My muse NEVER comes out to play when it's time to write. Usually she appears during my commutes to the job. I had to invest in a tape recorder. No writing while driving!

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    1. What an excellent idea! I wonder if your gas could be considered a writing expense :)

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  18. Most often she comes out at 4AM when I am half asleep and half awake. There's something about being kind of sleepy, yet not enough to drift off that inspires me.

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  19. My muse enjoys the car too. Driving to and from work is some of the best brainstorming time I have.

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  20. Yep, my muse is often triggered by anything and everything. The trick is to always write down the ideas. Whenever I think, "wow, that's such a great idea I'll remember that" I'm always wrong. The moment I get any kind of distraction, the idea is lost again. Must... write... it... down!

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  21. As you know, very little writing for me this summer either. But that insane voice in my head, aka as muse, hasn't shut up in weeks. All it took was the challenge to finish my wip and 2 new short story challenges, and the wheels started turning. One more week, and I actually get to write it all down! Wonder if my fingers will still be able to keep up?

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  22. Sometimes my most productive times are when I'm not at my computer, clacking on the keys! So much happens out on those hikes or staring off into the distance.

    Lovely post.

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  23. My muse likes to surprise me while I'm driving, but also in various downtimes when I'm not thinking about anything else.

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  24. I'm just like Vicki, above -- my muse is very active when I'm driving. Well, unless I have a lot of screaming kids in the back. That seems to, um, stifle the muse for some reason. :D

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