How is your muse?
What are you struggling with creatively?
Thank you for joining me on Substack, fellow creatives and muse-seekers. I’d love to know what drew you to La Muse - is it because you are in a creative funk or flat spot? Are you after inspiration, encouragement or reassurance that you’re not alone? Please say hello in the comments and share a little about how your creative Self is today. Let’s be real!
On that note …
I didn’t tend well to my creative Self last week. I went back to my day job (four days a week) and despite having more energy after a few weeks off, I always find I feel a little flat when there’s no kidding myself anymore … the vacation is over.
Let me step back a bit … when I say I didn’t tend well to my creative Self, I mean I didn’t (until yesterday) do much creative stuff. I didn’t make anything (unless I count graphics/posters I have to do for work, which, okay, are things I enjoy doing), I didn’t write morning pages, I didn’t have a creative date with myself. And I certainly didn’t work on my novel work-in-progress (WIP) - not in a measurable word count-y way.
(Actually, I’m not really a word count person. To me, it puts my focus on quantity over story. What I want to do is focus on loving my process, whatever that is.)
But I did tend to my creative Self in other ways that mattered. I went for a long walk along the beach on Friday evening and watched kite surfers fly through the air, carried on invisible wind-waves. Earlier that day I met up with fellow writers at a library community fair and chatted with children about reading. I watched a chatty group of birds dive and splash in our bird bath. And this morning, I filled my house with flowers from an overgrown Fremantle mallee in our backyard (it needed a trim).
All these moments of joy. They matter.
In the back of my mind, my WIP has been whirling and niggling and calling. I’ve had doubts about it - it’s a historical fiction novel currently at 18K. I haven’t written hist-fic before (Wildflower is set in 1979 so it’s on that hist-fic border, but this WIP is set around 1890). So what I’m doubting is not the story but my ability to tell it well. (I know, I know … creativity crushing in progress. I’m working on that.)
A confession: For the last month of so, these doubts have led me to consider other story ideas.
Am I doing this because my creative mind is struggling to focus? Am I self-sabotaging through procrastination? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t want to know.
The other night, instead of sleeping, I was wondering what else to write a novel about, what else I was passionate about. Earlier in the day, I bought a stunning retro-inspired dress with a full circle skirt and boned bodice from a charity shop. I wondered who had this dress before me … and then thought something like icouldwriteastoryaboutvintagedressesinashopandeverydresshasastory. Yes!
(Turns out someone has already written that book, in case you’re thinking “Yes! I’d read that!”. I found that out after spending an hour-and-a-half making notes in my very limited weekend writing time.)
Then I wondered if I should do a short story course … but reality reminded me that I barely have time to write let alone invest in a course this year. There is time for that.
So yesterday, I went back to my WIP. I stared at the page. The screen stared back at me. Impassive. But challenging.
“You’re here,” it said. “What next?”
And then it waited while I fiddled with words and faffed around. Harrumphed. Read over previous chapters. Made a cup of my favourite ginger tea. Faffed around with words some more.
I don’t know how many words and “good” sentences I wrote yesterday (I didn’t count). But I do know this - I felt that stirring, that knowing that this story is one I still want to write. I want to make Sara Slightly’s story work.
How I am doing creatively? I’m all over the place. It’s going to take time to settle onto one project. To release pent-up mental exhaustion and find deep motivation. I’m going to have to keep bringing myself back to focus over and over, just like when I try to meditate.
In the meantime, my creativity will wander here and there, like a child finding little wonders every step of a walk outdoors. I’m giving myself permission to dabble in other forms even if it means my novel takes years. But that’s what this journey is about: play.
How are you doing creatively?
Thanks for reading La Muse ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.