Thursday, January 04, 2007

Devil Muse

My muse has a wicked little pitchfork. She's jabbing jabbing jabbing me. I'm not resisting; I'm writing. I'm writing every day, and loving it. But I feel such a sense of urgency as if I need to do and write and draw and design more more more. Jab jab jab. You? Does your muse use farm implements?

I'm feeling motivated and on track so far, these first few days of 2007. I've been writing every day. I've been to the gym several times. I've been to a WW meeting and feel refocused on that. But the urgency is only mounting; it makes me feel very anxious! I keep wanting to set some time aside to write about the idea of changing one's ways as an artist, because it's in the process of writing that I discover what I think about something. I want to calmly reflect on the idea of creative/personal growth, in the hopes of figuring out something essential. To what extent is it possible to overcome one's natural inclinations and neuroses? Can we really change our ways?

My specific concern is my writing affliction: perfectionism. I can't tell you how many times I've spent hours tinkering with a single paragraph. I've written about it here before. I've come up with lots of tricks to overcome this tendency (which for years kept me from finishing anything), but it's always temporary; it's an ongoing struggle and if it was a part of me I could strangle. . . well, hm. . . would I? I don't know. I'm sure that it's an integral component of my love of revising, and I know revising makes me a better writer. So I guess I wouldn't strangle it. But I wish I could control it better. I slip in and out of power. It's like me vs. perfectionism, like we're vying for the dictatorship of this tiny country. I wish my muse would turn her pitchfork on him.

Okay. Enough moaning. Instead of telling you how I spent two hours last night tinkering with a single paragraph, I'm going to take the towel turban off my head, dry my hair, and go conquer that blasted paragraph. I'll only feel better once I've gotten in a great writing day. So here's hoping!

Oh, and I found a great website and blog focusing on myth, folklore, and fairy tales: Endicott Studio. There are great links and great book and art and magazine and theater reviews. Check it out.

Also, forthcoming is a new e-newsletter called Write Free, now open for subscriptions. I'm really excited to see what Jordan and Becca put together; I love to read about writing, and write about writing, and was very pleased to be invited to "appear" in the first issue. (Especially since "writing free" is exactly what I want to be able to do!)


Jim Di Bartolo said...

Congrats on your upcoming "appearance" -- you deserve some focused attention on your hard work and talents.

As to your wanting to get more done. You get more done than most (so let's go see a movie!-- kidding! Heh :)

Love you and I'm loving all that you're cranking out as you write!


megg said...

Hey! I'm so glad that you are so on track for what you want for 2007 - well done to you!!

My email is STILL down - I just wanted to say that I will be going away for two days but I will try to get on line as much as possible to help, I promise!!


deirdre said...

Your devil muse is much prettier than my bad tempered, perfectionistic inner editor. The deal I've made with him is that he gets to do his job after the muse has spoken, when every word is already on paper, when it's time to revise. Until then he shuts up and sits still, or I throw him, bound and gagged, into a dark room and slam shut a steel door with many locks. It works every time.

hel said...

Have you ever read the writings of Colette? She spend hours refining her writing and went as far as turning letters into pictures relating to her writing.

Left-handed Trees... said...

My muse is so hung up on perfectionism, how's this? She doesn't even let me put a paragraph or sentence on the page until I have revised it a half dozen times in my head. On many days anyway, it works like this...on others, she seems to have had a bottle of wine and is just lounging by a river in bare feet--saying "Sure darling, go ahead," like a 1940's movie star. (If only I could get her drunk more often!?!)

Kim G. said...

My muse still seems to be on holiday with her fluffy dog, Blitzy. I've put out a plate of her favorite treats trying to tempt her back home, but somthing out there is distracting her and keeping her from her appointed slacker -er- I mean writer. ;) Glad to hear you are getting lots of writing done - it really IS motivating to know others are creating around me!

Amber said...

"it's in the process of writing that I discover what I think about something. "-- Me, too. This is so true for me! sometimes a truth will suddenly flow right out of my fingers before my brain has even seen it, and pow! I get it.

Well, Laini. I would say that whatever you are doing is working for you! Look at you! You have books on the way! So don't change too much of what you do. It is you! You should be proud.


paris parfait said...

I know something about the struggle with perfectionism - I am constantly editing, then editing again. It's like a curse. I think a piece is never really finished, we just stop writing.
In any event, you've done really well, writing every day and accomplishing so much already this year - great way to kickstart 2007.You've inspired me!

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Hey, I only just saw this! Thanks for linking to us, Laini. Write Free is already evolving and will soon become more than just a book and an E-Letter.

You will make a great addition to the first issue because you are a bright, brilliant, be-winged soul.