(That's me just about every day. A little less bare shoulder.)
This month the writer's ice finally cracked again and I was able to continue with my latest Voyagers fan-fiction–An ambitious and long-postponed sequel to 2007's Origins of Phineas Bogg. Is it everything I dreamed? No. My original idea for this story was something totally different. I had three chapters sitting in draft mode for the 4 year interim. But through the years it kept getting pushed aside by life and other fandoms. I segued myself into this sequel by writing a filler story, using elements from Origins and saying fugghedaboutit! And re-working those three drafts into the filler. So maybe Memories of Time's Past is actually the end of another trilogy.
I haven't worked on a trilogy since 'The Voyager's Aide' series. My 'Prisoners of Time' series is going to become a trilogy, I promise that, but story 3 has refused to be written for 2 years now. However, since my latest breakthrough I am in the mood to continue it. It was my most 'original' series for Voyagers to boot. You can't beat Phineas Bogg with a tan leather trench coat and crossbow, now can you? ;D
Still, within less than a week I knocked out three full chapters of Memories, and I am about to embark on writing the final chapter soon. This comes after yet another long hiatus of the dreaded writer's block–around 4 months. I didn't stop writing all together. I've managed to post a few blogs here and there and update my website in dribs and drabs. I was put on the writing staff for the Simply Superman/Batman and Simply DC blog too. Lots of writing there! If you saw my writing folder on my computer there are chapters for stories in different fandoms that I'm currently plugging away at. But all that other fanfic writing felt so forced, so I had to stop writing those for a while. I just couldn't work on them without feeling enormous guilt. I had a good Voyagers story flapping in the wind since April, and left my few avid readers with a cliffhanger.
But after this horrible dry ice spell, I took a long hard look at my writing motivations. What is it that made me wake up and want to finish Memories? Call it what you will–inspiration, muse, force, mood, etc. etc. I thought back to all my biggest and most 'successful' stories and it hit me hard. I'm consistently at my writer's peak when I am under real-life stresses. I calculated the timing with some of my 'epics.' They fit right into my personal life when everything was crashing down around me and I did my best to steer clear of the drama. How did I do it? By delving into my character's drama and immersing myself in a fantasy world and the words and ideas just flowed. I blocked all the nonsense on the outside.
My latest writing frenzy occurred because there was some family issues occurring and beating on my brain and we had both my nephews (Ages 2 and 1) running around and needing to be tended to 24/7. Okay, it wasn't mind-blowing, gut wrenching stress, but waking up at 5:00am to two crying babies?
To quote Sam Beckett–"Oh Boy!"
Unfortunately I feel the physical pains of stress very easily these days, but I'm not an emotional weakling. It comes from years of internalizing and fried foods I'm sure. Working on it!!
In the wee moments I had to myself, with my gastric gasses eating away, and babies all over the place, I was able to crank out these 3 super dramatic, action oriented and quite tragic-romantic chapters. I wish my arms were long enough… Why you ask? So I can pat myself on the back! ;)
I also psyched myself to write by going back to old stories and just editing my little heart out! I'm never satisfied, but for the few that I worked on this week, now I finally am. It gave me a drive to say HEY! It's time to work on the new stuff now! I can't keep beating dead horses. Those stories were written years ago and I'm constantly developing my writing style and bettering my work. I have to be satisfied knowing that I've grown as a writer. Even the greatest artists may have started with a stick figure.
I know exactly how I want the current Voyagers story to end, I've outlined it, acted it out even in my head. (That is super fun and I recommend it to all my fellow writers!) I think my muse works through my daydreams. It's happened that way before, bouts of inspiration when you're in the middle of something important or just plain too busy to whip out a pen and paper. Always carry that with you, writers!
But now that life is back to a quasi-normal state, the muse is trying to escape me! I will not let it! I don't personify the muse. It doesn't flutter around with pixie dust or tap me with a wand to make me magically write this stuff in dreams. It's just my own motivations and desire to finish what I started. Another annoying quirk that needs my attention, because I get super excited for projects and then have a tendency to drop them.
So, what's your muse? What does it take to get you to write your masterpieces or even just a draft of a chapter? What kind of environment do you thrive in?