There are times when I sit down at my computer to write and just stare blankly at the screen. I will sit there for hours, waiting for the muse to spear my cerebrum with a lightning bolt of inspiration. Whilst I’m waiting for her to come and find me of her own accord, I will seek her out by browsing the web of wonders. I’ll stop at all my usual places like the black hole of YouTube for instance, which as we all know, steals hours as though they were minutes, and other such places, like Facebook and various forums. If I’m having a particularly slow day, and as per usual neither I nor the muse can find each other for several hours, I might try and cheer myself up by playing ‘just a bit’ of Civilisation. Now there is a true ‘time sink.’ Why, just the other day I glanced at the clock at it said it was eleven o’clock. A few minutes later I checked again and it was ten past two. Oh, and iTunes. iTunes is another one that seems to be stealing my life, and yet it’s the one I most frequently visit. Like most people who enjoy being a rabid scribbler it’s important to get in the ‘mood’ so that you can write that truly apocalyptic scene that will win you a Hugo, or that tear jerking melancholic voyage of depression that will have people pouring water from their face all over their keyboard.
Yet, there is no muse is there? I’m sitting here laughing to myself when I think about how many hours I have sat here waiting to be struck down with inspiration and rise a genius. You know what I’m having right here? I’m having an epiphany – a sudden bright idea that sheds light and illuminates the dark and echoing landscape of my mind.
The only way forward is through sheer effort and determination. That means sitting here and writing whatever crap comes out even if the only good that comes of it is that its practice. I’ve read that writing is a craft that, like all crafts, needs to be worked at. Okay, I can see the logic there. But what about those of us who live in the modern world where we’re just not used to waiting for things to happen? In this day and age if you want something, generally speaking you can have it the next day, sometimes even on the same day. But then, I guess I would argue that anything really worth having that isn’t just massaging my consumerist ego should be worked at. I find that hard. I’m finding this journey hard. I can write. When I really put my mind to it and I’m not just letting my fingers dribble over a keyboard like today, I can write pretty well. But that’s not enough. I spoke with a guy the other day who reckons he could bash a story out in no time at all. I bet he couldn’t, at least anything publishable. It’s a hard road, that’s for sure. Man, how pissed would I be if that guy did sit down and bash out a story as though it were no trouble at all?
I’ve started reading some of Isaac Asimov’s stuff as well. Now, I admire that guy for the sheer amount of literature he produced when he was alive. He wrote hundreds of stories. I bet had another hundred in him too but for me, sitting here right now and waiting for that damn muse, well to me Isaac Asimov can bloody well have another few mounds of earth piled on his grave. I don’t mean that. Not really. That man was and still is a legend. I wish I could have met him. Its weird but some people, I dunno, famous people who I respect, I just want to shake their hand. I don’t particularly want to talk to them (I’d probably dribble and get carted off as a suspected stroke), I just want to shake hands. How weird is that? Yup, so its a shame he’s dead as now I won’t be able to that. Not unless I dug him up of course. Could be a bit strange shaking hands with a skeleton though. Wait, lets just think a moment. He died in 1992? Hmm, he might be a skeleton. I can’t think how long it takes for bodies to decompose. Then again, how would I know? He might be a kind of fleshy rotten zombie. Na’h, twenty years? Must be a skeleton. In which case I wouldn’t bother shaking the hand. I’d take the skull. How cool would thatbe to have Isaac Asimov’s skull on your writing desk? I wouldn’t need any bloody muse then. Okay, I’m a little sleep deprived here, and having some weird thoughts but you gotta admit, it would be cool.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m over complicating the whole process of writing a story. Maybe I should bash one out, tidy it up and then blast it out into the void to be mercilessly critiqued by others in my position. I guess that’s what other people have done and for some it must have worked out okay.
Well, it’s only midday but I think a little tot of Southern Comfort would go down a treat right about now, and so with that thought I’ll be off for.
Oh, Sarah, if you still read my stuff… can I ask if you ever critique work us plebs might throw at you?