Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Killing the Muse*

Jim Butcher recently joined Twitter. Encouraged by many of the people I already "follow," I checked out his tweets. His very first one was strangely profound. He wrote something to the effect of "Author kills Muse. Film at 11." Subsequent posts made it clear that his reason for "killing" his Muse is that he's behind on his deadline and he can no longer afford to wait for inspiration to strike. He's just got to knuckle down and write.

Like I said, I found that surprisingly insightful.

I always thought that someone in the stratosphere like Jim Butcher had the luxury of waiting on his Muse, you know? I know that the rest of us down here scrabbling in the dirt have to write whenever we can squeeze in time at the computer. But, I guess I thought that once you kind of "made it" you could just sip martinis poolside and wait for that shining Goddess in white to appear and smack you upside the head and say, "Time to write! I've got a great idea for you, pal!"

It's kind of nice to know that's not true. I guess I remember reading in Stephen King's book about writing that he thinks it's a good idea, if possible, to sit down at the computer at the same time every day so the Muse knows where and when to show up -- even if She doesn't deign to come every time, his point is that if you make it a regular habit, eventually She'll get the invitation and appear. But I also sort of thought that "Stevie" (as he calls himself throughout the book) was kind of just saying that for us lowly not-yet-as-great-as-he sorts.

Maybe not. Maybe everyone struggles with writing when they don't want to.




*X-posted from the Wyrdsmiths blog.

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