My Muse works Overtime.

We’ve been having cold, rainy weather in Chicagoland these past few days, and I’ve picked up a handful of cheesy teen horror books from the ’90s about spooky houses and cursed families, so I’ve been finding myself wanting to return to Rosewood Manor. The characters of my haunted house story have been nagging at me to return to them, and I find myself somewhat at a loss. Ever since I pushed myself to finish Soulless with pretty good success, I’ve been wanting to “stay the course” on my other projects, as well. This means not giving into the urge to dig Rosewood back up again, not until I finish the first draft of Madeline. I know Rosewood will still be there, but, here’s the thing: you always kind of worry that, if you put it off, it will go away by the time you get to it. Follow the Muse, they say, for she is a fickle beast indeed. But what if we’re able to wrangle our Muse into a more cooperative state?

The funny thing about this is that Madeline is pretty much a haunted house story, too, just a little bit different, as it’s a period piece, while Rosewood is modern. I think that’s why I feel an odd sense of urgency to finish it, as though the modern themes will somehow become obsolete in the next few months, which is absurd. If the themes were to somehow lose their punch, then they were never really very good themes to begin with, were they?

So, just as with Soulless, I will plow forward with Madeline, with Rosewood as my finish line. Get this book out, you can work on that other one. Of course, by then, it’ll probably be November, time to work on Heartless, as well as getting World Unknown Review out in December, and then I can work on Rosewood….if something else doesn’t come along and take its place. Diligence. Patience. Staying the course. One of the hardest things I’ve had to get used to with my writing, but something I’m finding that, if I stick with it, it yields the best results.

And I didn’t even mention all the short stories buzzing in my brain right now, either. Yeah. My muse is definitely working overtime. Next time I start to feel like I’m not “doing enough,” I’m pulling up this post to remind myself otherwise!

What have you been working on lately? Does colder, rainier, more autumnal weather set your muse flying, or does it retreat somewhere nice and cozy with a big mug of hot tea or cider? How do you contend with various projects wanting attention all at once?


  1. Totally understand the challenges of working on multiple projects. I’m trying out a writing schedule of Monday through Thursday dedicated to the outlining of my next Nanowrimo project (The Milk Chocolate Murders,) Friday used for blogs both reading others and writing for mine, and weekends for research and writing my new historical fiction serial, The 13th Samurai. Somewhere in there I am working on my reading list of books that have been collecting dust on the end-table. Colder, fall weather means switching from plain coffee to mocha (days) and from red wine to port (evenings.) To put some space in between the projects, I go to work, where I spend the day writing business stuff.

    • Now there’s an approach I hadn’t thought of before: separating projects by day! My part-time schedule is so random that I don’t think I could pull it off very well, though. Could be worth a try. You seem to have a really good system for yourself set up, even if it does look to be a lot on your plate. 🙂

  2. my muse is constantly working overtime. I always seem to be several projects ahead of myself. Which is why I like plotting them ahead of time and then when I finish one project, I can pick right up with the next one. I’m probably weird though(I think I finish a lot of my thoughts like that) 😉

    • I’m the same way. There’s always something waiting after the last project. That’s why writer’s block baffles me. How can anyone struggle for idea when there are so many floating around everywhere?

  3. I go by vibes. I love having an array of projects, and I love the freedom and spontaneity of our unschooling life – but these don’t create a lifestyle that lends itself to a concrete schedule.

    Instead, my default is writing. I tend to do things like answer comments,simple revisions, planning, photo editing, and drafting blog posts during the hours when my kids are awake and might need me (less now than when they were small, and writing was something I fit into the crevices of life). I sprinkle home and yard tending through the day, which gives me pondering time…

    When the house gets quiet, I work on novels, more intense revisions, and other things that work better when I can devote uninterrupted stretches of time and concentration to them.

    It works for me – but I think that’s the answer. Each of us has ways that work, and those that don’t. One project at a time would drive me nuts; the number I have going at a time would do the same for someone else.

    When I have an idea that MUST be written (yes, Trip and T’Pol, I see you demanding my attention yet again!) , I tend to give it some, but not all of my time (which works for my wide-angle brain, and tends to feed other projects too). Sometimes, if i know the story will consume me the minute I start writing, I’ll instead schedule a time for it. I did that with my Enterprise fan fiction last year. Trip and T’Pol clamored for a year to have their story written, so I gave them Story-a-Day May, and ended up with 67K words, with a lot more still churning around in my head, so I know I need to give them more time in 2015.

    In the end, I don’t think it’s an exact science, but more getting a feel for what works best for you, with your mind, and in your life. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be writing, and that’s to the good! =)

    Personally, I’d much rather have more ideas than I can get to than be struggling to come up with things to play with! =D

    • Ha! I don’t think I’d ever be struggling for ideas. It seems that when one is done, five more leap into its place! And I thought one (big) project would drive me nuts, and sometimes it does, but a part of me really likes the challenge and discipline I have to enforce on myself. I’m a Rewards-Consequences type of person: if I want to work on THAT book, I HAVE to finish THIS book first! It’s the only way I’ll ever get anything done. My day of half-filled notebook from project-hopping are over!

      But, you’re right. Everyone is different, and there’s no set-in-stone “right way.” Just “your way.”: 🙂

      • Ahhh! I am totally NOT a Rewards/Consequences type of person. I do tend to have several big projects I dance between, and I use the down times for smaller things.

        I learned a long time ago that, if I focus on only one thing, I’ll do it so obsessively that EVERYTHING else gets ignored. I’ll want that one thing to be somewhere beyond perfection; there is no ‘good enough’.

        Having lots to do makes it easier to let go of any one thing, so I can move forward in several areas at the same time.

        I’m glad we’ve both found a way that works well for us, and who we are. =D

  4. My wife and I tend to shut down during the summer, but around the first of September we start picking things up again. We both grew up in Chicago, I in Rogers Park, she in Back of the Yards, so we both get back in gear when the cooler weather comes back.

    • I read a post recently (ugh, I can’t remember who, though!) about how we still have that “summer are for relaxing, fall is for getting back to work” mentality from our school years, and I think there might be something to that, even for those of us who haven’t been on a school schedule for a while. Weather plays a part, too, I imagine. Less likely to feel bad about spending all day in front of a computer if it’s cold and rainy!

  5. Whew, lots of projects! I’m a little more interested in writing the sequels to my WIP right now, rather than finishing the WIP, ha! And I’ve got something new cooking for NaNoWriMo in November, that I really ought to start outlining within the next couple weeks. But I can only work on one project at once. I’m determined to finish something before I start work on the next. Just the way my brain is wired!

    And winter does seem to be more condusive to writing, isn’t it? Guess cause there’s nothing better to do 😛

    • I’ve had those moments, where all the next books are more exciting (probably because the you already know what’s going on in the current one, but the following book are some new territory). Personally, I can’t wait for November to get here, but I know in a few weeks I’ll be, “November is already almost here?! I have so much outlining to do!!”

      Never a dull moment!

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