I’m stuck…I admit it. I don’t suffer from writer’s block – I’ve never experienced it – but I have suffered from a lack of drive before. I haven’t been in that place for years, aside from the odd month here and there where I just needed a break, but I’m there now. I know the industry take on things is that you have to write for you and you can’t rely on feedback from others because you can’t depend on it being there when you need it, but like it or not, that’s just the way I work. I’m energized by feedback, even if it isn’t all that positive, and I’m actually afraid to write without that push.

That’s right. Afraid. An odd confession coming from a writer. I don’t trust my own instincts when it comes to writing but I trusted my “real-life” muse implicitly. If I didn’t know what to write (how to choose from my multitude of ideas), she always guided me. When I needed a kick in the butt because the fear was hampering me, she was there with foot ready. If I needed feedback to give me that boost to get me going, I could always count on her.

But now she’s gone.

I know I’m going to have to figure out how to manage without her. I can work on short stories easily without input from anyone, but those come in bursts and carry with them enough excitement surrounding the initial idea that it carries me through right to the finish without any pauses. The novels are the hard part. There are humps that I experience when writing a novel and without any help to get me past them, I get stuck, like I am now. I’m seven chapters into one novel as we speak and I’ve stopped dead. That was where my muse had found me when she first started reading my work – stuck on chapter seven of Casualties of War. She demanded I finish it, and then to work on many others, and I couldn’t say no. I never could with her.

I’m in a bit of a quandary because of all this. Part of me says “finish what you started – force yourself somehow.” Part of me says “start something new, something that really excites you and will offer up that drive you are missing” – and it would, temporarily, but I’d probably stall out around – oh…say…chapter seven. And part of me says “find some other way to procrastinate” – more edits, more short stories, more promotions, more drawing and reading. It has been what I’ve been doing, but I’d prefer not to listen to that part.

I may find my way back to getting things going again, but I don’t think I’m going to be hitting the ground running, not without that special wind in my sails. Then again, maybe I’ll find someone else who can lend me the kind of enthusiasm that really gets me going. I wouldn’t bet on it, but you never know. I wasn’t expecting my first muse when she came along. Maybe life will surprise me.


4 comments on “Museless

  1. If you listen, I know you can hear her voice, Chantal. It is hard, but it will get better. Until then, here is a kick in the butt for you – KEEP WRITING!

  2. I am writing, but I went with option B and started something new. Hopefully I’ll get back to the first novel eventually. I hate to think I could end up with 4 or 5 half finished novels sitting around gathering dust.

  3. Half finished pieces are better than nothing at all. You will go back to them once you find a new way to drive yourself, and I know you will. And the gift of being able to illustrate your work will also help you when you’re ready.

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