What have you written lately?
Volume is important. Pace counts.
I’m not talking about volume and pacing within your stories. I’m talking about your output. The frequency with which you write The End on the final page of a manuscript.
I spend a lot of time talking about craft. But craft is like love… not worth all that much if you don’t put it to work in your life. In fact, it can be downright depressing when it exists as a means with no place to play.
Storytelling craft is a lot like love, in fact, but that’s another blog post.
If you expect to sell your first novel — as in, the first novel you’ve ever written — then you’ve just annointed yourself special. It hardly ever happens.
No, a career as a fiction writer is a long-haul proposition. Getting published isn’t the benchmark… staying at it is. “On to the next” is the mantra of the successful in this business.
Is your muse driving the bus, or waiting on a bench?
I had dinner tonight with my beautiful step-daughter. She was an English Lit major, she’s a passionate consumer of novels, and someone in close touch with energies and enlightenments that would send many of us into hiding, or to a shrink’s office.
She has “the gift.”
I’ve talked to her for the last fifteen years about writing a novel. Her life situation has led her to a point where, one could argue, the time has arrived.
Tonight I asked her a question with interesting implications for all of us.
I asked her what she was waiting for. If she was expecting, and therefore waiting on, a muse to suddenly agree that it’s time, and thus bestow a story idea upon her. If she’s waiting for a cosmic shoulder tap that whispers the arrival of a Big Idea.
Before she could answer, I suggested that this may indeed be the case. And then I also suggested that she flip this whole proposition on its naive ear to see what might happen.
What if, I postulated, the muse was waiting on her? Waiting for her to click into story-search mode, eager to climb on board if only she’d declare the intention and set out a net.
She said that was an interesting idea. That she’d think about it.
I’m hoping you’ll do the same.
What have you written lately? If the answer is “not much,” then what are you waiting for?
The craft is already here. Yours for the taking.
So is the Muse, and so is the Big Idea.
The latter, however, is still out there. Possibly hiding in plain site. Possibly closer than you can imagine.
What if? Marry those two words with something that fascinates you, frightens you, challenges you, calls to you…
… and they can summon the Muse out of hiding.
She won’t say them for you… but she’s listening closely.