My Muse is on strike!


If I'm being brutally honest, it's not going as well as I hoped with book #10. After doing some extensive market research, I changed the book from what I'd originally been thinking about. That original book, who genuinely (and quite understandably) thought it was their turn, is now sulking and telling me how much better they would be than what I'm actually trying to write. My Muse has gone on strike about it and is refusing to cooperate on anything.

Coupled with that, covid-19 is most definitely on the rise again. My brain is back to the anxiety and stress levels of April. I found it hard to write then, too. Then, there was just the virus to worry about. Now, as well as the restrictions in place, there are arguments about how big the restrictions should be, what level (if any) of compensation there should be to businesses affected, and a whole swathe of people saying we should just let it rip through the population because otherwise the economy will crash and burn.

Even with a 0.1% death rate (possibly a huge underestimate of the actual rate), that would result in many thousands of deaths, plus those who are more vulnerable (which would include me and almost all of my family, for one reason or another) should be 'shielded'. By shielded, those saying we should go back to 'normal life' and let the virus just do its thing, mean that me (and all others in the 'vulnerable groups') shut ourselves away and see absolutely no one, because otherwise, anyone we come into contact with could give us covid and then we might be seriously ill or die.

Yeah. Thanks for that. But I think I'll pass. I mean, I know I live a fairly hermit-like life as it is, but even so...

Consequently, my brain isn't all that book-focused and the Muse is being difficult. I've also hit an issue I've had before - that some of the delight of writing is discovering the story. Because the story has changed from the original concepts, there was a great period of discovery and thinking what would happen. Now that I've done that and know what happens, I'm finding the actual writing of it less fun.

I know that once I really get going, all will be well. The story will change and there will be things to discover in it, and writing will be fun. It's just not happening yet!

So, what do I do when the Muse is on strike, my brain is agitated, the world appears to be facing economic and health disasters, but I'm meant to be getting a first draft done by Christmas?

In all truth, some days not much. Although my brain can still work away at ideas while I'm knitting or walking etc., so all is not lost!

I'm trying to divide my days up into small chunks - maybe an hour at a time - and do something. Thankfully, as the book is pretty planned out, I don't have to write it in order, so if I get some inspiration about a scene that could be halfway through the book or more, I can just write it.

So, I set my sand-timer (or a timer on my laptop) for an hour, and try to concentrate on one task for that hour - writing, scene notes, planning, research, whatever. Then I take a break, and do it again.

What do others do when the Muse has gone off in a sulk, the world is disintegrating and writing seems hard? Let me know in the comments below?