Friday, March 11, 2011

Forcing Myself to be a Writer

(Yes, this is me! Husband didn't argue even one word when I asked him to cuff me and take a picture *wink*)

A couple months ago I mentioned to my mother the instant gratification of being a cover artist. Images are instant, people appreciate them the second they see them, falling in love with something I slaved over and crossed my fingers they'd adore.

Writing doesn't produce the same results, though we so wish it's loved just as dearly. As a first time author, people are hesitant to take a chance on my work. I completely understand, as I too rarely buy an authors first book. Not because I don't want to take a chance on a new author, but because I want to have a back list to read from if I love what they've written.

My mother mentioned to me that maybe I'd found a new calling and I needed to accept that being a self-taught graphic designer was what I was meant to be doing. My feathers ruffled at that statement. Me? Stop writing? Absolutely not! But as the weeks passed by, turning into months, and my writing came in around 1k for this entire time, I had to really consider her words. Were my writing days over?

The muse, who'd abandoned me for glittery pink nail polish and Mai Tai's on some beach I will never be able to afford to see, sat up and took notice. Turns out if you threaten to fire your muse, she actually decides to do her job! Who would have thought? *grin* So, there she stood, crossed arms, manicured toes tapping, patiently waiting for me to decide to write again.

Now I had to find the time. But, there was a catch. Creating cover art saps all my creativity. So how was I supposed to write? By what I knew. There was a time when writing by design, by knowledge alone, was a nightmare to me. If I couldn't write for the sheer love of it, I didn't want to write all! Well, my hand was forced. Either I wrote by what I knew, or I didn't write at all.

With nothing but the 'rules' of writing to guide me (no showing, only telling, deep PoV, flowing conversation, ect) I sat down and forced myself to write every day this week. I decided to treat my cover art design as a job. I wake up, get my son dressed and fed, and then sit down and proceed to design. At around four in the afternoon, I start to wrap up whatever project I'm working on with the goal of being finished by five. I make my family dinner and after dinner I sit down to write. I may only peck out a paragraph, or I may get an entire scene done. Something amazing and exciting happened! The second I looked at my designing side as a job and my writing as once again my extra-curricular activity, it wasn't so hard to do both anymore. Woohoo!

I'm really pleased to say handcuffing myself to writing was a good decision and I'm writing again. As I said, it's slow going, but it's going, which is awesome. I've written two scenes this week and I'm doing the happy dance! My muse has professed her undying loyalty to me and has promised not to abandon me ever again. I think she might be lying. But for our working relationship, I'm willing to believe her... For now.

When one aspect of your life got in the way of your writing, how did you handle it?



  1. I think every writer needs a break once in a while. I've gone months without writing anything new. Right now I'm working on something different for me so I'm having fun with the new genre and the characters are talking up a storm--that always helps.

  2. I love this post, Elaina, and I love how you talk about your muse! She'd make an interesting character in one of your books! LOL!

    How do I hadn'e life getting in the way of writing? Whisky. ;)

    I think your way would be much better. Must try threatening my muse...


  3. Yes, well, I've been in a nearly three year dry spell. I started off well last fall, but then it just dwindled away into nothing again. Time to get back on the horse and stay up, I am determined! :-)

  4. Oh yes, threaten away! She becomes all terrified and worrisome and she WORKS! Imagine that, a muse that actually does her job!!! *grin* Mine is glaring at me... teehee!

  5. Excellent post, Elaina. I have the same problem with writing. The more knowledge I've gained, the less hesitant I've been to write. I'm a pantster who's trying to be a plotter, and my muse is fighting every step of the way!

    Oh, what to do? Maybe I just need to chain myself to the computer and write, just like you! So what if what I write sucks? At least I can fix it. If I have a blank page, there's nothing to fix.