I’d been watching the week roll to a close and was dreading what I was going to write about in this post. I didn’t want to have to come out and say that I hadn’t achieved anything over the last week. But, I’d never felt busier.
The first problem that had been overcome this last week was the gradual decline in the level of illness in the family. It didn’t help that the last couple of people to get it caused almost as much trouble as everyone else had, put together. But, hey, that’s what families are for.
The second problem that was faced this week was increased effort to get more work poured into the special book printing job that is due in the next dozen days. I thought things had been finished but, apparently that was my mistake. I wound up finding more reference material, which ended up having a much broader effect on the book than I had thought. So, my little minor-adjustment next edition has become a vastly revised and expanded edition. Over 20% new material has gone into the book, which came as a surprise, to say the least. I didn’t think that there was anything that had been missing from the first edition. Certainly anyone who had read the first edition couldn’t think of anything that had been missed. That alone wouldn’t have been too bad, except the deadline for printing is firm, and I’m not about to send an incomplete work off for printing.
I originally wasn’t caring too much, as it is an institutional authorship and my name didn’t appear on it anywhere, but then I was given permission to add an acknowledgements section. That meant my name up in lights, and my chance to acknowledge a short list of people who had been instrumental in getting the book created. I had also generated a fairly minor foreword for signature by the document’s sponsor, which appeared in the original edition, when it was suggested that we could get one of the most senior people in the workplace to sign one (and then two other names were brought into the discussion, as well). I could see the benefit, but it was hard up against the existing time pressures. There was no slack. If I couldn’t write appropriate foreword material in a couple of hours, it wasn’t going to happen.
So, I found myself with an interesting writing challenge. I had to generate several forewords for signature, by several different people, not knowing if all, or any, were going to be signed. The first problem was that none of them could overlap in terms of content. That limited what each could possibly say. The second problem was that each of the signatories had their own voice. I couldn’t present a boilerplate foreword that read the same as the others, or else things would look and read funny. I ended up sitting in front of a web browser, closely scrutinising biographies of the signatories and the business elements they were responsible for. My challenge from there was to write in the style and tone of the signatories, with the content limitations already in place and without a hard sample of their own writing for reference.
I’d like to think I was successful in the challenge, as there was no negative feedback when they went in for review and being passed on for signing. There were a couple of interesting discussions about the specific use of language, especially when projecting voice, power, and the impact that a few short words could have. I’m kind of glad that no one asked just how I knew how to write like that, as I didn’t really feel up to talking about my more exciting writing. I’ve got to say that it was a very fun little exercise and I got a lot more out of doing it than I thought I would. There’s always a benefit to be had to be able to throw down pages of text that are written by another hand -- to carry their voice, their desires, their dreams, their hopes.
At least I know I’ll be seeing the back of the book soon. Finally
Because of all the other work, I thought that my muse had wandered away for a little bit. I wasn’t as concerned about this, due to not having much time for anything else.
I really should know better by now...
I can’t say that I’ve been slapped by a woman before, but that is exactly what my muse did to me this last week.
I had been making my way through a bunch of internet sites when something called my attention back to an image I’d briefly seen. Flicking my eyes back over the image I couldn’t see what it was that was special about it and was about to carry on my merry way when it happened.
My muse slapped me. Hard. Leaving a stinging reminder in my mind that when she speaks, I should listen.
I sat and stared at the image, nursing the feeling back into my mind and wondering what had prompted my muse to act like that. I knew I hadn’t been writing a lot of content that had come from her lately, or even really sure if I was paying much attention, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that warranted such a forceful approach.
In person, it’s assault. In my mind, it’s confronting and confusing.
My muse sat and comforted my mind, keeping my attention on the image she so desperately wanted me to see. Whispering words of passion in my ear -- words dripping with a sweet venom that was going to eat through my soul. She was being every bit of the demanding mistress I knew her to be, and I held a respect for the lengths she was going to in order to remind me that she had much to share with me.
Any perceived pain or confusion from my muse’s slap dissolved with her crystalline laughter when I saw what it was she had been trying so desperately to show me. Her parting kiss spoke volumes about the fact she was still with me and was waiting for when I was going to come back and sit at her feet.
What I saw wasn’t much at all, but it was enough to plant the seed of a short story. One that I put everything aside to start on. I couldn’t put more than a few words down, but I already know that it’s not going to be an erotic story. It’s probably not even going to be a romance, and might even be very sad in parts. It is my muse kicking me into gear and making me get back out and writing for myself again. Honestly, it’s not really a story for my normal readers. It’s a short little story for me, to make me feel good about writing more exciting material again. When it’s done, I’ll be releasing it for free and letting everyone see what hooked me properly back into writing for fun again.
That’s probably the biggest revelation from this rather long entry.Writing had stopped being fun.
I was getting afraid of sitting in front of the keyboard, or in front of the blank page with a pen. There wasn’t much writer’s block -- it was something altogether different. Of course, I avoided telling myself that it really was what I was experiencing.
Denial can be such a seductive lie to tell. Especially to oneself.
I’ll be honest. I had sensed something was a little bit off. My characters had started feeling flatter, and I couldn’t find what I needed to do to flesh them back out again. I had put it down as being a one-off, or something like that, but it was more pervasive than just being a one-off issue.
I’ll see how things go with this next little short story, though I can feel that the drive is back again. A little tarnished and dented, perhaps, but it is there and ready to push me along.
The other thing which has picked me up today has been the realisation that I’ll get to find out soon whether I can publish my out-of-genre title. That would
make me happy, to be able to share at least one of the books I’ve written this year with a wider audience.
Here’s to a brighter future.