I have been pondering the difficulties inherent in a writing life of late: particularly the NOT writing life. Various things I’ve read have referred to the Muse and how sometimes she blows suggestively in your ear, and other times she all but smacks you up side the head. You can tune in to her, or you can choose to ignore her at your peril. Because (and this is what I’m frightened of) if you turn your head away from her often enough – she may eventually leave you be.
Recently I’ve investigated the process of other writers, particularly parent writers, and an inordinate number of them get up a couple of hours earlier than their household to get their writing done in the peace and quiet of the morning. ‘HA!’ I thought ‘I get up at 6.25am every weekday morning, and I am dead to the world until the very second I waken. I have a physically busy job, children, animals (often thought of as one and the same) and 5 acres of garden. Waking up earlier is NOT an option. Couldn’t do it if I tried.’
Well. I didn’t have to did I. My lovely Muse gently but definitely woke me at 5.15am just to show me that I could. 2 days in a row. And you know what? I tried to ignore her – stupid me. I figured ‘Oh, I’ll just commit that interesting turn of events to memory and get it down later,’ funny from a woman who can barely remember the names of her children.
Then I thought ‘I’ll grab my notebook and jot down a couple of words to help me get that fantastically rich vein of inspiration I’ve just had.’ I wrote for an hour. And not only was it good stuff, it helped me out of a little ditch I had fallen into as neatly as a good firm hand reaching out to grab mine. It helped me learn about two characters that I had an inkling about, but was too shy to go forward and meet properly. Now I have had moments of inspiring thought in the middle of the night and scrawled it on the very same notepad, and in the morning I’ve read it and had a giggle: ‘what on earth was in that spaghetti bolognaise last night!?’…But this early morning stuff was clear as a bell.
I’m not saying it is imperative to get up at an ungodly hour of the morning to do good work. I’m saying if your Muse wakes you up to do it, you’re better off doing what she says, instead of lying there half awake and debating with her. I really just needed to say that out loud. For my own benefit. Because it’s all about me after all.
That is all.