Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

Paging the Muse, wet clean up on aisle 42

Lee Battersby, on the relationship between the Muse and hard work in the matter of writing.

He talks about momentum and burst, and the role of the Muse in writing. I spent years flirting with the Muse. Didn't sell anything in those years, spent a lot of time being frustrated, got to enjoy the dramatic life of the aspiring writer.

Eventually I punted that for a lot of hard work. In December of 2000 (as I have said before) I made a conscious decision to write a story a week. Been working ever since at a much higher pace then I ever did before. Guess what? I started selling. Grew a career.

A funny thing happened in the course of all that hard work. The Muse found me.

It's like the old joke, where God tells Moishe, "Buy a lottery ticket!" The Muse tells writers, "Write some, damn it."

Because I only get that calling-down-fire-from-the-gods feeling when I am writing, never when I'm waiting to write or thinking about writing or wishing I was writing. And I've written a lot of dreck along the way. But every time I sit down at my keyboard, I'm buying a ticket in the Muse lottery.

The Muse and hard work are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I submit, they can be one and the same. It's certainly worth a shot, innit? Meanwhile, you've got more stories written while waiting for her to fly by the window.

Quit looking for the magic, people, and do the work.
Tags: process, writing
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