Wanted: Writer Seeks One Muse & One Fire Under My Ass, only serious applicants need apply

So don’t I have some of the coolest, most interesting clients stepping in to blog for me?! I know, aren’t I lucky?! But for now it’s back to just me and my blabbing on the blog, unless another client steps up… (*taps foot* *checks e-mail again* *sighs*)

Ok, so let me tell you what I’ve been thinking about lately: What is it, really, that has writers write. So many people say, “I write because I just have to get the stories in my head out!” Um. Ok. Not me. I work really, really hard to make up my stories. It takes me a long time to figure out in what I’m interested enough to actually want to spend time writing about it. Then I work really, really hard to somehow translate what’s floating around like mist in my head into words on the page. I’m not lucky enough to have some Muse drop a full-blown story idea into my cranium and then some magical fire under my ass pushing me to get that story out, come hell or high water!!! Bummer for me, as a writer. Good thing I’m an agent and I work with talented writers who apparently have worked this issue out for themselves!

How about you? Why do you write?

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “Wanted: Writer Seeks One Muse & One Fire Under My Ass, only serious applicants need apply

  1. I like your picture and it makes me crack up a bit. I have always believed in the power of one’s muse. I am sure you are familiar with the Greek myth, but from what I understand the muses used to tempt people with their artistic skills and motivate them to create. When I was working on a project related to greek mythology, one of my sculpture professors commented, “No, Danielle, you have the story all backwards. They were temptresses and seduced people.” I had to laugh because he obviously assumed that the muses were all about sex and had very little to do with creativity, a concept I totally disagree with.

    Needless to say, if you are creative (whether it be a writer, artist, musician), there is some force that is not visible to the naked eye that inspires us. Some people call it our muse, others have a different name.

  2. To me, writing is the easy part. Revising is where I need the motivational and scary fire!

  3. I usually get flashes of the ending of stories, and then have to figure out what’s going on, who are these people, and why are they being attacked by a dragon who is also a boy who is also a tragedy (frex.) Figuring out why the story matter and what is the burning why (and there’s always a burning why) is the hard part for me.

  4. vanvasko

    I have a strange relationship with my writing. I write because something within me says I must and yet so much of the time it’s a struggle getting the words out. My art is the same way. I feel compelled to write but it rarely comes easy. Because of that, I often question if I should be doing it, but not writing feels wrong.

  5. mittensmorgul

    I started writing in an attempt to exorcise a recurring nightmare. I thought if I could only purge the dream out onto paper, it might not plague me anymore. I realized I could change the dream by writing the scary characters to suit my own needs. Strangely, it worked.

    Now if I stop writing, I’m afraid the nightmares will come back. I was worried at first that I only had one novel in me, but now I’m working on my fifth. The first two were based on characters from the nightmare, but the next three, when I actually started getting half-way decent at constructing stories, I made up a whole different world and a new cast of characters. Writing’s gone from being an act of desperation to an absolute necessity, in the best possible way.

  6. I get ideas from imagining my life differently and potential “what if’s” about the world. but i sit down to write in the hopes that I can share my stories with others and put into words what we as humans don’t always know how to express.
    I think I mostly write to leave something concrete behind– a way to feel significant and escape mortality and all that jazz.. haha

  7. For me the question of where the stories come from and what keeps me writing are totally separate. Basically, I find writing as addictive as exercise. When I don’t walk, i feel groggy and cranky. Same when I don’t write. Three days without either and I am a misery to myself and those around me.

  8. Honestly? I write because, secretly, I’m a drama queen and writing lets me spend time in a world that’s rich in heightened emotions and abnormally intense circumstances. (I either had to start writing novels or star in a telenovela.)

  9. Dianne Scott

    Sometimes when the writing flows, I am all whacked out on the endorphins of creativity.
    Other times, writing is the monkey on my back, the addiction that deflates my ego, where I procrastinate like hell until I have to have my fix again.

  10. Good question…
    I don’t know why I write, but I do know that it comes as naturally as breathing. {Of course, some of the breaths I take are shallow, wheezy, and end in me choking, some of my writing is shallow, muddled, and kind of a train wreck : ) }.

    I only know that for as long as I can remember I’ve daydreamed about stories, hurried to write them, and while I’m writing I feel ridiculously happy.

    Thanks for the question, it was nice to think about & I enjoyed reading your post!

  11. Simple question for me. I write because it helps me figure out why people do what they do. When I immerse myself in a character and see the world through that person’s eyes, I become more fully human for having seen and experienced things from a different point of view.

  12. I write because it’s way more fun than doing just about anything else. Um, except when it’s hard. Then I’ll do just about anything else to avoid writing. But it’s like childbirth. When I haven’t done it for a while, I forget the pain, and feel this urge to cuddle another warm little newborn story.

    • So to beat that metaphor to a bloody death would you say that revision is like changing doodie diapers, breastfeeding a colicky baby for 4 hours in the middle of the night and toddler temper tantrums? Or more like first smiles, first steps and first words?

  13. Erik Larson

    I spend a lot of time driving to and fro work. It leaves a lot of time for daydreaming scenes, and then I *have* to write a story around them.

    In more practical terms of starting to turn ideas into .docx files, I’ve taken to starting novels by writing and rewriting the query letter for it until I sold myself (and my daughter for MG books) on the idea. That gets me to *having* to write it too.

  14. Thanks for asking this question, Linda. I often think about why I write and what gets me (and other writers) going.
    For me, I get snagged on a “What if …” and then if it’s good enough my brain keeps churning away at it. But I can’t put a word down until I hear my main character’s voice in my head. It’s like if I don’t hear the voice, the What If wasn’t good enough to spark a story.

    • My brain spins out the what if stories too! But I still need to have that fire under my ass to commit the ethereal thoughts to actual words and then put those words on the page.

    • avajae

      I’m like that, too! The ideas I get don’t always start as a “What if” (although that’s a great way to come up with ideas) but for me, regardless of how the idea comes into play, if the voice doesn’t come out right while I’m trying to write it, then I can’t continue. Once the voice is right, I know the idea has good story potential, but the voice has to capture me first.