#IWSG: The Patience of a Muse

Hello, friends!  Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop created by Alex J. Cavanaugh and cohosted this month by Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner.  If you’re a writer and if you feel insecure about your writing life, then click here to learn more about this wonderfully supportive group!

I like to write, but I don’t like to talk about writing.  Whenever I talk about writing, I end up reminding myself just how tedious and frustrating the writing process can be.  Fortunately, my muse is always eager to talk about writing, even when I’m not in the mood, so today I’m going to turn the floor over to her.  My muse has something to say, and perhaps it’s something you and your muse would like to hear.

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They don’t tell you this in muse school, but we muses need to play the long game with our writers.  Writers are born to write, but that does not mean they’re born with all the skills and abilities necessary for writing.  The day I first met my writer—the human I was assigned to guide and inspire throughout his creative life—I found him utterly unprepared and woefully ill-suited for writing.

We had to start with the basics.  I began by encouraging my writer to take an interest in the alphabet.  He had these wooden blocks with letters on them.  Those helped.  Then I got him interested in words.  Spelling was a challenge for many, many years, but we worked through that.  Then came grammar, syntax, rhymes and rhythm—allegory, metaphor, irony, parallelism—comedy and tragedy—classic literature and genre fiction…  We made progress.  My writer has learned much since I first met him; he also still has much to learn.

But writers are human, of course, and they can be stupid in the way all humans are stupid.  They like instant gratification.  They want quick, easy solutions to their problems, including their writing-related problems.  But writing is a skill that improves slowly.  Gradually.  The growth of a writer happens so slowly and so gradually that it may be almost imperceptible, even to writers themselves. Some writers may fool themselves into believing that they’re not improving at all, or they may start to fear that improvement is not possible.  They forget how far they’ve come, and they worry themselves sick over how much further they still has to go.

Needless to say, as a muse, you must never give up on your writer.  More importantly, though, never let your writer give up on him or herself.  Make your writer keep writing.  Make your writer keep practicing, keep trying.  Do that, and the writing will get better.  I promise.

#IWSG: Perpetual Self Doubt Machine

Are you a writer?  Do you feel insecure about your writing life?  Well then the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the support group for you!  IWSG is a monthly blog hop created by Alex J. Cavanuagh and co-hosted this month by Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin.  If you want to learn more about this amazingly supportive group and see a full list of participating blogs, click here.

Hello, friends!  For today’s IWSG post, I’ve decided to turn the floor over to my muse, the magical fairy person who encourages me (sometimes by brute force) to do my writing.  She has something to say, and perhaps it’s something your muse would like to hear.

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My fellow muses, what do you do when your writer stops believing that they’re a writer?  Writers write.  It’s the most natural and normal thing for them to do.  And yet many writers (my own included) make themselves miserable with self doubt.  My writer often starts asking himself questions like “Is writing really worth it?” or “Why am I doing this to myself?” or “What if it’s time to quit writing?”

From talking with other muses, I’ve learned that many creative humans struggle with these questions.  If only there were a way self doubt could be used to generate energy, the perpetual self doubt of writers and artists could be used to solve the humans’ energy crisis.

Recently, another human said a thing to my writer.  An insensitive and cruel thing.  As a direct result of this thing that was said, my writer started asking himself more frequently and fervently: “Should I give up on writing?”  Again and again, day and night, for weeks on end: “Should I give up?  Should I give up?  Should I give up?”

Obviously, the answer is no, but it was equally obvious that doubts and insecurities of this kind had been simmering beneath the surface for a long time already.  Otherwise, one single, careless comment would not have caused so much duress.  So rather than simply saying “no” to all this self-doubting and self-questioning, I offered a different question: “Should you, perhaps, give up on writing this one project—this one particular project that you’ve been stuck on for the past two or three years?”

That gave my writer pause.  That got my writer thinking again, got him wondering what he might write instead of that old writing project.  It got him to consider ideas that were fresh and new, ideas that are true to the person my writer is today, rather than the person he used to be several years ago.  Of course, my writer did not come up with these fresh new ideas without help.  I contributed to the process.  I am his muse, after all.

So, my fellow muses, if your writer keeps getting stuck on questions like “Should I give up on writing?” a simple “no” may not be sufficient.  A better answer may be to change or rephrase the original question.

#IWSG: We’ll Fly When We’re Ready

Hello, friends!  Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop created by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise – Fundy Blue.  To sign up for IWSG and to learn more about this amazingly supportive group, click here!

In my last two blog posts, I wrote about the Indian space program and the American space program.  Both have suffered recent delays and setbacks.  Both are still moving forward with their space exploration plans, despite those setbacks.  Whenever I read about real life space programs, I’m always struck by the parallels between space exploration and writing.

Whether we’re talking about space or writing, we’re talking about big ambitions.  Big aspirations.  We’re talking about a lot of hard work (but the fun kind of hard work, the exciting kind of hard work).  We’re also talking about constant setbacks and delays, with certain financial realities looming over us at all times.

A couple years ago, I published my first novella-length Sci-Fi story on Amazon Kindle.  My plan was to follow up, quickly, with a sequel.  Around the same time, I also launched a store on RedBubble so I could sell prints of some of my art.  And then… setbacks.  Delays.  Real life problems.  It was like trying to plug fuel leaks on the Artemis 1 rocket.  As soon as I fixed the problem here, I’d discover liquid hydrogen was spraying all over the place over there.

I can report that 2022 has been a better year for me.  Slowly—very slowly—my writing and my art have gotten back on track.  I’ve been blogging more.  I’m making progress on my next Sci-Fi novella.  Also, I’ve started uploading new art to my RedBubble store for the first time in two years.  But writing takes time.  Art takes time.  As much as I want to rush forward with all my creative dreams, I need to be patient with myself.

After NASA scrubbed the launch of Artemis 1 not once but twice last week, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson had this to say: “We’ll fly when we’re ready.”  Right now, as I get back into the rhythm of writing and illustrating, that’s my mantra.  My muse and I… we’ll fly when we’re ready.

#IWSG: The Spice of Life

Hello, friends!  Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop created by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon.  To learn more about this amazingly supportive group, click here!

“Do one thing and do it well.”  I’ve heard this aphorism over and over again throughout my life, and there’s a certain common sense simplicity to it that I find appealing.  Whenever life gets complicated and I feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions at once, I really wish I could pick just one thing to do—I wish I could be permitted to focus all my time and energy on just one thing, without any distractions, so that I could have a chance to do that one thing exceptionally well.

Last month, I participated in the A to Z Challenge.  For anyone who doesn’t know, the A to Z Challenge is a month-long blogging event.  Participants post twenty-six blog posts, one for each successive letter of the alphabet.  All of my posts were about humanity’s future in outer space, or perhaps I should say humanity’s potential future in outer space.  Our species has so much potential!  But I do realize there’s no guarantee that we’ll live up to our potential, though.

In order to ensure my success with the challenge, I canceled any other plans I’d made in the month of April.  I used up a bunch of vacation days at my job.  I made sure I got my taxes done super early this year.  I put a few of my other creative projects on hold, temporarily.  I engineered my whole schedule so that I would able to do just this one thing: blogging.  Did I do it well?  That’s a subjective thing, of course, but I feel that I did the best I possibly could on most of my posts.  And it felt good.

However, there came a point when I started to miss working on my other creative projects.  Being able to “do one thing and do it well” feels nice, but to really thrive, I need variety in my creative life.  My muse was kind enough to hold back on new ideas during the A to Z Challenge.  Now, however, there’s a backlog of ideas that my muse would like me to work on—and I am eager to get to work on those new ideas!

“Do one thing and do it well” can be good advice, for a short time.  When life gets complicated, sometimes we need to stop and have the simplicity of doing one and only one thing for a while.  But when I think about my lifelong goals, when I think about my own future as a writer/artist/blogger, there’s a different aphorism that I’d rather live by: “Variety is the spice of life.”