Sunday, November 28, 2010

Writers Block

As a writer, I struggle with writers block and part of that struggle is the internal battle over inspiration and self criticism (*My Muse). Sometimes inspiration wins only to be overtaken by the critical analysis of the writing. This internal battle is one that I suspect many writers have and if you have ever had writers block, and struggled with the two demons of inspiration and self criticism the tale below could be familiar as you struggle with which will win (inspiration or the self critical muse)  the ongoing battle.

Last night, in the dark following midnight I killed off my muse (suffocating her quietly with a pillow) and buried her in my back garden. Today I will plant a roses to hide the grave. No one will ever know and I will be free at last of her insidious hold and I will be able to write what I want.

Why did I resort to this deed? After all my muse was lovely and gave me many gifts over the years. She saw me through dark times and helped mark the joyous ones. Many times she inspired me to reach for more and push myself beyond what I thought I could achieve. Knowing all this why would I kill the very source of my inspiration?

Oh, I had my reasons...

It started out quietly. As I would sit at my keyboard, she would perch on my shoulder as was her wont to do. "I don't think you meant to write that sentence," she would whisper in my ear. "That doesn't sound like the best description," she would snipe. "Is that the best you can do?" she would sneer.

I took to sneaking my writing in when I knew she was occupied elsewhere. She never could resist critiquing the writing in the morning paper if it was left spread on the kitchen table. That way I could sometimes write several pages before she began her commentary. "Surely you can find a better way to approach this topic," her mocking voice would interrupt. "That has been so done."

Soon I was spending more time arguing with her, defending my words, than I was writing. Then my production slowed to a crawl as I would over analyze each word choice and sentence formation before committing it to screen or paper. All that did was give her more time to find fault with the few words I did write.

I started avoiding the computer and all writing materials. I read for hours on end. I made plans for a new garden. The need the write built within me but always my muse was watching me with those eyes -- so judgmental, so critical. I would turn away from my deb with a sigh and find some other project.

When I could no longer suppress the urge to write I locked her in a closet and had a wonderfully productive morning. I was so happy with my work that I let her out as I went out the door to run some errands. That just made her mean.

She was waiting for me at the door when I came home. Her glasses had slid nearly to the tip of her nose and somehow she'd found a red pencil (I certainly never brought any such thing into the house). I shuddered at the sight of my happy morning's labor marred by vicious slashes of red. The red blurred before my eyes into a crimson haze and then...

Perhaps it is better that you don't know the details. Suffice it to say that I have selected several old-fashioned roses with luscious aroma and delicate coloring. I am sure they will provide both inspiration and comfort.

Despite my late hours and the physical toil involved, this morning I awoke early and have already logged in several hours at the keyboard. My fingers flew across the keys and after completing several long-stagnant projects I outlined notes for some new. Writing is joyful and rewarding again.

I have dedicated this post to the memory of my muse. Perhaps it will serve as a warning to those other muses out there who are on the verge of going over the edge. Perhaps it will inspire those other writers out there who have let their muse stifle their creativity and shove them right into writer's block. Maybe my warning will mean those other muses and their writers will find a way to work things out.

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