So… I know this might be the way to madness, but I never (ever ever never) schedule my A to Z Challenge posts. I really do, and always have, write all of them off the cuff on the day they’re supposed to go live. (Or, in this case, as soon as possible after.)
It’s a system that works for me.
Usually. Yesterday my internet connection went just as I was preparing to open my editor page to get this post written. Luckily it’s on now, though. So I’m quickly writing this while hoping that the connection holds.
Continuing my theme of Things Writers Should Know About Writing, I’m back to my old habit of destroying dreams and sharing unwanted reality checks.
This one’s a biggie.
A lot of people (and I will, if the internet holds, devote an entire post to them) think that writing a book is this wonderful trail with bunnies and unicorns and inspiration and stuff. They think that every morning, writers hop up out of bed saying:
“Oh boy! My heart is all a-flutter because I am inspired to write! I love this book to death, so fa-la-la-la-la write writerly write write write. Oh look! I finished another story. Query!”
The reality, I fear, usually is something closer to this:
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
Not very bunnies and unicorns, is it?
That’s because the rest of humanity thinks of muses as these smiling kind creatures. And they think that writers are blessed among men because they get to have a love affair with their muse.
Very. Very. Different.
Writers’ relationships with their muses tend to be more love/hate. We love them to death, but sometimes we’d really just like to kill them.
So no, it’s not inspiration that gets us through the story. It’s not love either, I’m sad to say. (Although writing without loving your story sets your story up for failure anyway.) Even if you love your story idea, it’s not going to go anywhere if you’re going to wait for some sort of magic moment when all the stars align and your muse decides s/he likes you after all. Trust me. That is the road to madness.
No, dear. Discipline is what finishes stories. Sitting down and writing even when you’re suddenly in love with a new idea (because your bitch of a muse has seen it fit to “inspire” you with something different. Don’t do it. It’s a trap.) Even when you feel like watching cute kitties on YouTube. Even when you don’t see bunnies and unicorns on your writerly road today. (Because let’s face it, you won’t for most of your writing days.)
Have you written lately? No? Then what the heck are you doing on the internet? Go now. Go go go.
Every second you don’t, I’m shooting a plot bunny.