Monday Muse: Crack That Whip!

When a Problem Comes Along, You Must Whip It!

Ok, every Monday, I’ve been telling you all about making your muse happy, about field trips and treats you can give her to keep her telling you what your character are up to. But – and this is a major point – muses are very much like children. And the moms (and dads) amongst you know that you only get so far by buying soda pop and candy. The hard truth is, just as with kids, muses require a bit of discipline every now and then.

My teenage daughters are convinced that all conditions have to be right before they can do any work I ask of them. No guests in the house, no homework due sometime in the next week or so, no must-see t.v. coming on, and so forth. Sometimes, I just have to tell them that the stars may not be aligned for maximum convenience, but they are going to clean their rooms (empty dishwasher, fold towels, etc.) NOW.

Life with a muse is a lot like that. Dearest Bridget wants me to think that she cannot do her job unless the world revolves around her. No outside noise, no interruptions, in her favorite chair, surrounded by her favorite pictures, candles, music, etc. And you know, when I can arrange it, I give her that, and she rewards me splendidly.

But there are times when perfect conditions are not possible. Times like this past week when it has been rainy and cold so everyone is stuck in the house, when everyone’s coming down with one illness or another, when the DD’s have boyfriend and best friend crises that only telling mom would help. In other words, if I had waited for everything to be the way Bridgie likes it, I’d be waiting til the cows come home. And no word count would be achieved.

Under these circumstances, I have to get tough with her. Yes, things could be better. But you know, there really aren’t that many actual, set-in-stone requirements for writing. Butt-in-chair, check. Laptop, check. That’s pretty much it. In fact, I’ve even had to tell Bridgie that she can write with a pencil and a piece of paper when that’s all that’s available. She doesn’t like it, but it can be done. So, don’t get into a pattern of spoiling your muse.

I’ve got a friend who, despite having two healthy and active teenage daughters, gets absolutely NO help with anything around the house. She gripes and b!tches about it to me all the time. But the fact is, throughout Their Highnesses’ lives, she’s done all the work for them. As a stay-home mom, I guess she had the time and energy to be nicer than I am.

Cause I am a work-outside mom. After 9 or so hours each day, I come home whipped and stressed out. I don’t have the luxury of not cracking down on the girls to do their part. And while it may tick them off, the work gets done.

So if you have the luxury of letting your muse demand that her wishes be met before she helps you write, good for you. Work it girl, cause I have major envy of that. But if you, like me, grab a writing moment here and there between all the other things you have on your plate, tell Miss Muse she’s got to live here in the real world with you. She may pout, but if you keep at it, I bet she’ll grow up and cooperate. Just like my daughters have done.


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