Summoning the muse

Now that I’ve established a solid writing routine, I find myself less inclined to stare at a blank screen or notebook.  Paraphrasing Thomas Edison, I find that routine perspiration induces routine inspiration.  However, routine can become a crutch as well – a fact of which I was brilliantly reminded this weekend.  A day trip to a nearby state park intended solely as a family outing to view the turning of the leaves became a cornucopia of atmospheric inspiration for my current novel.

Perhaps the week’s rest after finishing my first draft primed me to see my work in a new light.  Perhaps it was simply large quantities of fresh, brisk air.  Perhaps it was the synergy between my work’s setting and the natural beauty of the park.  I don’t know.  But in the midst of our outing, I found myself rooting around for my pen and notebook, making copious notes about the leaves, the trees and woodland, the lake and streams.  I couldn’t believe I had forgotten how vivid, how eye-catching the colors of the leaves are.  (Blame it on my recent past in summery Florida.)  The first sight of a swath of trees ablaze with color hit me with the realization that my flame-haired heroine might well not stand out from the brush as I’d written.  At least not if fall was still in full swing…

More importantly, I was able to see how well my setting fit with my ideas, that if I’d forgotten the brightness of the leaves, I’d remembered how trees clump together and how creeks trickle and splash through the woods.  Thanks to a heaping helping of excellent feedback from two stalwart writing buddies, Sue and Susan, I am prepared to begin revising and complete draft number two.  Although I’m still digesting some of it – along with a serving of ideas swirling round my brain – and despite the conventional wisdom, I think it’s time to get back to perspiring.  Especially with my recent inspiration fresh in my mind.  Here’s to round two!



2 thoughts on “Summoning the muse

  1. Don’t you just love when inspiration hits like that? 🙂 I’m glad you were able to take advantage of it! Funny, too, that I just finished reading the second half (now going back to the first half) of Stephen King’s ON WRITING and he insists the best thing to do is let your first draft sit for no less than 6 weeks so you’re far enough removed to review it with truly fresh eyes. I actually agree with him. I know time really does enable that and you can read it more objectively. BUT—when inspiration hits, it’s hard not to want to write! I’m thinking it may be better to take notes and write what’s inspired you without necessarily touching the draft itself just yet? Either way—-enjoy!!!

  2. Thanks, Donna. I remember his advice – especially since it’s echoed by so many other successful writers. I’ve not yet begun revising – if by revising, you mean rewriting and editing the draft. I’m still making notes and doing the work that comes before, turning over the feedback in my mind and trying to answer the questions that came up. 🙂

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