Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Muse Wore Flip Flops
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about how excited I was to flip flop my schedule (summer pun intended) and put writing first. My schedule has been cooperating, too -- April and May have offered up writing events including my critique group's semi-annual writing retreat and Lancaster Christian Writers' Super Saturday, and the Pennwriters conference is just around the corner, promising workshops, socializing and a weekend where writing takes center stage. Earlier this week, I created and sent out my first ever author newsletter, complete with giveaway. Summer writing time is indeed in the air. 

We writers are a diverse bunch. There are those who live for silence and solitude, unable to work anywhere noisier than the library. Others depend on active social lives to get the neurons firing; without  feedback from the outside world, there can be no new ideas, no story lines, no dialogue. 

For many of us, the writing life is a tenuous balance between extroversion and introversion, with one providing inspiration and the other providing time to realize it. Sometimes the opportunities to exercise extroversion occur by choice; other times they come in disguised as day jobs and family obligations, perhaps even masquerading as roadblocks. Some writers seek solitude; others find it, unbidden.

Under ideal circumstances, each writer achieves his or her own balance, but sometimes circumstances weight the scales for us. Deadlines and job responsibilities tip the scales -- and not always in the way we'd like -- as do procrastination and exhaustion. Sometimes finishing a writing project is more like climbing a mountain than a date with the muse.

Yet we keep climbing. Whether we've chosen writing, or it has chosen us, it keeps showing up on our to-do lists, often at odd hours of the day. The longer we pursue it, the more likely it is to drag along companions of its own -- social media, promotional activities and platform building -- forcing us to open the door a little wider and grant them admittance, hoping they bring their colleagues acceptance and royalties to the party as well.
But somehow, no matter how crowded or boring or monotonous the party gets, a serious writer keeps coming back. She joins the crowd, or finds a quiet corner or like-minded colleague and tips the scales in favor of productivity. She refills her water jug at the junction of conference and conversation and returns to her work because nothing is quite as satisfying as a writing day well-spent.

Except perhaps a good review and a royalty check.

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