Thursday, April 07, 2011

If You Give Your Muse a Makeover

That's my muse. Where? Well, right there. He stands out clear as day. You can't see him? Why, he's practically ten, fifteen times bigger than you! You need to get your eyes checked.

Okay, I give in. You're right. He's invisible, but I certainly had you fooled there for a second, didn't I? It's okay to admit it.
Just for you, here's a picture of him minus the invisibility factor (I want you to know, I had to call in a favor for that one, Elvis doesn't like being exposed). That's right, my muse is an invisible, flying, giant, man-eating elephant. But don't worry, I'm safe because, as my mother pointed out, he's a man-eating elephant, not a girl-eating elephant (sorry guys).

Now, for the purpose of this post (which I will get to eventually, I promise), let's say that Elvis is your muse. And you are scared stiff of him.  Every time he comes near you with an idea, you curl up into a little ball and sob uncontrollably (remember for your pride's sake that this is hypothetical).

But then one day, a miracle of miracles, you happen upon a magical being who will let you change one thing about Elvis. So you sit on a rock and ponder with your finger on your chin (looking very writerly, I might add) and decide to take away his man-eating fetish and give him green spots.

And because of this change, you finally listen to Elvis's ideas and write an awesome book and become a bestseller/millionaire.

The occasional change is good for your writing. I know from experience.

I first came upon this astounding idea while reading this blog post by Charity Bradford. Lately, I have been in my own 'rut' and I thought 'Why not?' So the next time I was at the store, I bought some new mechanical pencils.

While they felt sleek and nice in my hand, they didn't do much for me or my writing. So I went one step further. I wrote in a different notebook.

Paper, or more accurately the feel of paper, is an important factor in my reading and writing experiences. Softer paper tends to help me more than stiff. The usual notebook I write in has paper somewhere in between. Which just wasn't clicking for me. I went through my reserves and found the notebook in which I wrote parts of Thinking of You. And guess what? It's pages are super soft.

My Usual Notebook
It seemed that in no time I had written my Nature of Magic blogfest entry, totaling at nearly 800 words. Then, I brought the 'change' notebook with me to school and I finally got a beginning for Chapter Eleven that I was proud of, about 400 words. It's not a huge amount, but it's many times larger than 0.

My 'Change' Notebook
This strategy also had something to do with my NaNoWriMo success. I had just started experimenting with writing straight onto the computer when November rolled around. Previously, I had written on paper and then transferred it to a writing processor. The change allowed me to write 50,006 words in two weeks, more words than I had ever written for any one project.

I repeat: Change is good for your writing. If it can work for me, the queen of routine, it can work for you.

Now, I've got to run before Elvis notices I drew him with green spots.


  1. This is a really good post, Brooke. ^_^

  2. Thanks, I worked hard on it. Which is probably sad, but I did. XD

  3. Change is good! Like changing fonts to Courier New! xD It's a pleasure to finally meet Elvis, too. I'll have to see what else I can change with my writing. . .

  4. Crap! I forgot to mention that.

    Elvis likes you too, even if he can't eat you.