Shutting Up The Muse

needs_more_boobs____by_vern_argh-d5gcj4zWith a new book coming out in October, what am I supposed to do for the next six months?  Most advice you find online from other writers and readers says you are supposed to get back to work – meaning you should write something else.

Having written two books last year, including Dickinstein which is the book due out in October, I decided to go back and work on the other book I wrote which is a sequel to Stealing Wishes.

You are probably stuck on the fact that I said I wrote two books last year!  Yep, I did.  And I’ve done it before back in 2007 when I wrote Stealing Wishes and then wrote Are You Sitting Down? right after it. SW was published the following year and I sat on AYSD? until 2010 because I didn’t think it was good enough.

Chances are my sequel to SW will be published next year and I’m enjoying getting back to work on it.  It’s pretty solid.  But then during a three hour, 200 mile road trip last weekend my Muse showed up and started talking.  We chatted about an idea I had been loosely contemplating for several weeks now. It’s not an idea I would start writing this year, only because it’s going to require quite a bit of research again.

This is exactly what happened last year with Dickinstein. I was almost done with the sequel to SW and ready to start polishing it when my Muse showed up on June 22nd (yep, I remember the date!) and got me to thinking about a new idea.  I listened and went home and started writing and researching and in eight weeks I had the first rough draft under my belt. It was the best feeling in the world.

And now it’s happening again! Sure, I’m scared of it a little.  But as a writer, that feeling is exactly where we want to be most of the time. Our heads are always surging with ideas. Some of them work out and some of them don’t. Some of them become short stories instead of novels. Some become nothing more than a garbled mess soaking up a napkin in a coffee bar.

What’s even worse is that I have a partial novel (that I started in 2006) that I’m bound and determined to finish one day.  And every time it has a chance to get back in line, another idea steals the limelight from it. So, since this new idea is going to require some research first, maybe I do that research while working on the older idea. Either way, the Muse cannot and will not be ignored.

As if I needed convincing, when I returned home from my trip (another 3 hour trip with you know who talking in my ear), there was a birthday gift waiting for me that had come in the mail from a friend. Shockingly enough, I opened it to find a book I had intended to reread first to start taking some notes on the new project. What’s funny is this friend didn’t even know about this new novel idea.  No one did. She didn’t know I owned this book – she hoped I didn’t or hadn’t read it before at least.  But I had read it and I do own it.  I purchased it in 2000 and read it back then. Haven’t read it since.  But I’d been thinking about it, and thought it would be a good place to start.

So… when something like that happens, I don’t really think I need any more encouragement, do I?  I have my answer. It’s time to shut up the Muse.

It’s time to start writing.

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