By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
My muse has returned. I don’t know where she goes when I have periods where I don’t write. I wonder if she takes mini-vacations. Does she, too, feel the need to rest and recharge at the beach or in the mountains before returning refreshed to begin again?
When she does return, it is as though I am no longer in charge. I wake with dialogue running through my mind, with entire scenes written in a matter of minutes. If I don’t write them down immediately, I will lose those perfect words. She has no patience for laziness or the word “later,” even if it is 3 a.m. When I walk, do the dishes, or watch TV, my muse is constantly piecing together the plot. Suddenly, I will have “Aha!” moments when I realize what must happen. Even if I am working on page 50 and the “Aha” moment occurs on page 222. This is how I write. This is how my muse works.
She does not like to be tied down to a plot. She chafes at any constraint imposed on her by an outline. If I try to coax her into following a daily writing schedule, she becomes petulant and refuses to speak. She must be free to meander where she will, work when she wants, knowing that thousands of words may be discarded in the end. And yet, this is the only way to keep her happy. And I will do what I must to keep her happy.
I have read that this type of writing is called “pantser” writing, or “writing by the seat of your pants.” I imagine it must be a frightening way to write for someone who needs an outline as I often have little idea where I am going. And yet, I find it enjoyable while I write because I am writing simply for the joy of writing. I eventually figure out what it all means and where the story is headed. Sometimes I take numerous wrong turns and story lines must be deleted, but I have fleshed out aspects of my characters that help me, as the author, know them better.
My muse has been busy. She woke me this weekend after weeks of rest. She was tired of the edits I was completing on my second novel and wanted new material. I was only too happy to oblige. I hope it is some time before she decides she needs another vacation.