Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tonight at Midnight...

I used to write for just me; for the pleasure of it. The raw, visceral creation high from coaxing worlds out of a blank page was all that kept me at my keyboard. Insomnia out of control, in the darkest hours of night, it was just me and my inner world. Pounding on the keys until my fingernails split or I ran out of coffee, I often got to the point where the screen and the room would dissolve and I was just there...in the moment, seeing the action and feeling the emotion of the characters.

Then I decided it might be fun to share my stories…

I got lost on the spinning hamster-wheel of approval seeking and format obeying and grammar fixing. I lost the joy of it somewhere in there. I started to look for formulas and structures instead of relying on my gut. I got shanghaied by structure and style elements specific to genre. Submission guidelines, hook lines, word counts…all sleep darts stabbing at the creative spirit that used to whirl with abandon in my head.

I’ve decided to go back to that first love, my Midnight Muse, and fervently hope he’ll bring me back to the gleeful, ‘what if’ scenarios and wild action sequences that sent me into breathless giggles at the craziness of the ideas. Will he let me follow him to those dark moments before a rash and violent decision or feel the exquisite angst of lost love? I hope so.

I hope he forgives my indiscretion with the despicable elements of writing – the predictable, the formulaic, and yes…the cliché. If he does take me back, I promise to weave the world he desires. Whatever the outcome, I will obey his demands for extravagant villains, unsupportable evidence, and wild leaps of imagination. He is a brooding, conniving, exhausting creature – my muse…I cannot wait to see him again.

rb~

Photograph by Barbara L. Hanson

38 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

Yes! You have to write for the joy of it, or it's nothing but mundane drudgery (in my humble opinion).

Good luck getting reacquainted with your muse. :)

Olivia Herrell said...

Mo' muse, mo' muse. Welcome back, Raquel. Just sit back and grab your keyboard, he's been waiting for you.

Good you! Olivia

Anonymous said...

Hoping he comes back too- just not every night. You need your sleep fellow mama of 6 :)

M. Bail said...

It's like not being able to see the forest for the trees. You lose sight of the story for the mechanics. I'm right there with you, especially recently. I'm so freaking worried about the structure I'm losing grip on the story. Gotta find my way back!

Good luck and enjoy the muse!

Chris Weigand said...

A nice balance of both is nice if it can be found. Best not to totally alienate your muse.

Erin Kane Spock said...

That is awesome. Did you bad boy submission happen during the midnight moment of muse?

I need to let that happen again. You're right, I should start working on Karma. I've been thinking about her too much to ignore.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Bad boy blogfest brought him back a bit, yes...in spades!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

yes, you should write for the sheer joy that writing gives you. Sharing your writing with others is good too, but unless you are happy, nothing else really matters. At least, I think so.

Creepy Query Girl said...

OH, I totally understand this. It's a hard thing to do- holding onto the creative mojo that brought you here in the first place and yet doing all that's 'right' towards getting your world published. I try and keep the two seperate. When I'm 'creating'- I make it my first priority. I don't show anyone until I'm done and I thouroughly enjoy my world without the need for outside approval. THEN, once i've gotten it all out there, I let 'the process' at it:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hope you find the joy again.

Nicole Murray said...

Like a woman calling back a dangerous lover to her bed. I can picture you at the keys looking at the stars outside and then typing that first word to begin your midnight writing fest. Good luck to you. We all visit this point in our writing. A need to find the simple pleasures of it again. Enjoy!

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Yay! That breathless, joyful kind of writing sounds WONDERFUL. Get back to it!! Good luck :D

Watery Tart said...

I wish you an exhilerating reunion, Raquel! It's true that the publishing stuff can really sap it out of you. I seem able to get it back for the WriMos and such, but yeah... the editing, querying, editing again, querying again... ick.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You said this so beautifully, Raquel. The most important thing to remember as writers is that we come first. We have to love it. :-)

Racquel Henry said...

I feel the same. I found that the words would poor out onto the page. However when I actually started to learn about the craft (in college), things changed. I was too concerned with grammar, diction, plot structure, etc. I'd love to get back to my previous state of mind!

Eric W. Trant said...

I am with you, 100%, only it started when I began blogging this year.

Worms don't like the light, see. They dig best in the dirty dirty dark.

But, as Vonnegut said, So it goes.

By the way Raquel, my nemesis, I am going to mention you in an upcoming online interview with my short story publisher. One of the interview questions was this: Do you have a writing nemesis?

What are the odds.

I'll send the link once it's up.

- Eric

Beth Zimmerman said...

I hope you can find the sheer joy of it again! I can't imagine writing without it!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Janet - Yes I agree. I want the joy back.

Olivia - I sure hope he's waiting for me.

M. Bail - True that...I need to let go of the technique and go with the passion.

Chris - I wish balance was as easy as it sounds.

Rayna - Yes, I want to be happy both with my work and the fruits of querying.

CQG - Very good advice. First the mojo...then the masterwork.

Alex - The joy...yes.

Nicole - Ooh, nice imagery with the dangerous lover. Thanks for the encouraging words.

Zoe and Hart - Breathless exhilaration, exactly what I'm after.

Shannon - Yes, you are so kind.

Racquel - Again, the mechanics trip me up. Love your name BTW!

Beth - That is what I am after. Wish me luck.

Eric - That’s so great about the interview. I've never been a nemesis before - I feel like laughing maniacally now and devising diabolical schemes!

Kidding aside, I like that I get to challenge and be challenged by other writers. I feel like it lights a fire under my hind-quarters to keep improving and honing my craft.

You've all been incredibly encouraging...thank you!

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