Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Muse has a Roving Eye, and NaNoWriMo

I was very keen on doing NaNoWriMo this year, it would have been my first. My initial excitement  at the beginning of October slowly turned into apprehension when my thoughts focused on my muse. I am currently  working on an MG fiction and a collection of linked stories which I hope to convert into a book.

For a change my usually recalcitrant muse is being generous with both his time and energy.  I have been the  focus of his  undivided attention for days. I am tickled pink. There is no way I want to antagonize him now by  leaving him alone even for a brief moment and NaNoWriMo would require a separation of sorts: meaning I would require his services, but  for another WIP. The moody guy he is, I dare not risk it.

My muse and I have a strange relationship.  He has a roving eye. Several times I have seen him checking out other writers, eyeing them with greed and lust, paying more attention to them than me. At those times I cling to him; so that  I am the sole focus of his wandering eyes. I have even thought of tying him up  and confining  him to a chair.

My muse and I (I am sure it’s a he in  my case) are a strange pair. When I badly need him, he is never around. And sometimes when I am extremely busy with other things he keeps intruding and demanding attention. If I am a bit tardy in giving in to those demands, he sulks and pouts for days. Several times he has packed his bags and left for an undisclosed destination for long stretches of time. My frantic calls and messages are completely ignored. Troubling and torturing me has become his second nature.

I often catch him spying on me, intruding on my  time with family and friends. He knows he can get away with murder as I am defenceless and helpless where he is concerned. At the altar of our rocky relationship, I sacrificed my NaNoWriMo dreams. I am sure if I turn my back, he will do the disappearing act once again and there will be no knowing where he has gone where those two WIP’s  are concerned. I can’t risk that, not while I am working on two books simultaneously.

What about you all? Is your muse a he or  a she,  kind or cruel, generous or greedy? What is your relationship with him or her? How do you handle him or her?

P.S. I  would like to wish all my blogging buddies who are participating in NaNoWriMo, best of luck. I will be rooting  for you all from the sidelines. Here is hoping that all of you reach that magic figure of 50,000 words in 30 days.


  1. Great post, Rachna. I love the variety you bring to your posts: inspirational one day, helpful tips the next day, this one made me laugh with the image you created. I was amused by the concept of a sulky muse pouting like a child.

  2. My muse has a terrible sense of humour. She thinks it's funny to give me inspiration at 2am or other times when I'm furthest from my notepad.

  3. So, my question is what is his name - your muse? Loved this post Rachna. Had a chuckle because obviously your muse is a man...as sulky and unpredictable...lol (apologies to the guys out there). Pity you are not doing NaNoWriMo but getting two books done simultaneously is a challenge in and of itself. Anyway NaNo recurs annually so you can always time your writing next year to make room for NaNo in November. That's going to be my plan. My muse: she or he, I don't really know. Have not really met the muse in person. Always seems to come to me while I am sleeping in dreams. I would probably say that my muse is a woman as my writing tends to be quite emotional. But that is just a guess. Maybe I should make a date to meet my muse in person. Thank you for the wishes of luck. I am very excited for Monday to arrive as I just want to get cracking on my story.
    Thanks again for this post.
    Good luck with your 2 WIPs.

  4. I feel your pain! I was all set to do NaNoWriMo for the second time this year. I ASSUMED that I would be done with my big revision on my current WIP and that I'd be ready to do a rough draft of my next novel. I already have the outline and everything! But, it was not meant to be. My muse is moody like yours. He/she (not sure?) definitely needs to see some commitment from me before she'll really do her best work.

    I recently saw Jane Yolen speak and she talked about how when you're finishing a novel, a kind of fever takes over and you can't do anything until you finish it. I am hoping to spend November that way! Finishing my current book. Perhaps I'll have to do my own little NaNo in December. Good luck to you!

  5. My muse has terrible mood swings and sometimes ignores me, but he knows I love him really.

    Great post!

  6. Arjun, I like experimenting with different themes so that my writing friends who read my posts are not bored.

    Lynda, our muses must be related. My muse too drops in late at night, or when I am far away from a notepad.

    Kim, hopefully I will join you for NaNo next year. Working on two manuscripts (actually I am concentrating more on the longer one) is difficult. My mind is constantly flitting between the two.

    Molly, I agree with you that "when you're finishing a novel, a kind of fever takes over and you can't do anything until you finish it." The book I am working on will not let me do anything else until I am through with it.

    Ellie, my muse too is moody, grumpy, sulky and prone to tantrums. But when he showers his attention on me, I am quick to forgive him.

  7. In some ways you are doing a modified version of NaNoWriMo - since you continue on your WIP. I think that is wonderful, for to me, to be productive in any month is a great thing! Cheering you on!

  8. I have done NaNo before. That is where SEVENTY-TWO HOURS initially came from. But I am setting my own NaNo limits for this next book. I have so long to get it to Beta's. My crit partner is going on a book tour in January(her debut will come out then) so I will be depending on beta's for some time.

    There is a NaNo for picture books that I want to do.

    As far as my muse goes. She's always there. I loooove it. Whenever I call on her, she's ready to give me whatever I need.. :)

  9. I actually found out about NaNoWriMo pretty late, but I too am in the middle of two other projects that are going surprisingly well. Can't turn your back for a moment though... sneaky muse'll be off galavanting before I know it

  10. Last night he tried to seduce me into opening another word file and defiling it with words. Alas I was able to circumvent his advantageous offer and stood strong by my current WIP.

  11. My muse is feeling very schizophrenic right now. She won't settle on a project for me to focus on and keep dragging me away to look at new ideas.

  12. My muse bothers me most when I am reading a good book! I always have to set it down and run to my computer with an idea!

  13. My muse has to be squeezed out, like when you reach the end of the tube of toothpaste. But I don't mind.

    I'll miss you during nano, but you'll be doing what the rest of us are...writing! Good luck with your TWO projects!

  14. Rachna this is great.. You are funny.. especially the part where you want to tie him down.. Can't you fire your muse for being so unforgiving of time.. No I guess not.. my muse and I go through thick and thin.. no shaking it to the side.. Rachna you had me laughing from the begining to the end of the article.. thanks

  15. Love the way you've personified your muse and given it a gender : -). My muse seems to take action when I'm reading something good, when I'm really out and about, exploring nature (for some reason), & when I'm doing research. The ideas seem to spring organically from interviews, articles, etc. Great post, as usual!

  16. Everyone is different and we all have to make decisions that are best for our own individual needs.

    I hope your muse sticks with you regardless!


  17. I love your descriptions of your muse! That's great to have such a vivid relationship. I have a much more boring muse... I don't really think of it in terms of male or female. Stories sort of build in my head, and I'll tuck them away for later or jot down notes. Sometimes I get cool ideas in dreams. When I sit down to write, sometimes it flows and sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't I just push through and it comes out ugly and I edit later.

  18. Rachna, I love these little insights into your writing life! Great blog post as usual.
    I decided to do NaNoWri this year - but was intending to use it to rewrite a too long MG and get rid of 27,000 words.
    But, another little story that is making me laugh is sitting on the sidelines (only written 4,000 words so far and haven't had a chance to go any further - it has sneaked in saying, "Please, pick me! Pick me!"
    I only need around 25,000 words so maybe I will give Fangus a go - first draft, here I come!!!
    Keep your fingers crossed for me and your positive vibes flashing across the Indian Ocean. :)

  19. Rachna, as usual, I enjoyed your post. It really had me smiling.
    I've never taken part in NaNoWri, but have been tempted to this year, to start a sequel to a book I just finished. But I don't know. It's rewrite time for the book I just finished, so it might support or it might conflict.
    My muse seems to strike when I'm either in the shower or walking my dog. What great lines come to me, when I don't have a notebook handy! Haven't thought whether it's a he or she, I just think of it as "my muse". But I love the way you personified yours!