Monday, May 17, 2010

Seducing the Muse

I read a really great post on Cynthia Reese's blog today about how writing is like cooking. She makes a great analogy about the correct amount of "seasoning" -- especially with regard to backstory -- being crucial. Too much or too little can ruin a a great recipe...or book.

Not being much of a cook myself, I find my writing analogies drift more toward other areas. Like sex.

Yes, writing is like SEX.

It can be good, it can be mediocre, or it can be downright awful. But there's just something about it that keeps us coming back for more.

See, I'm talking more about the act of writing than the resulting [great literature/timeless prose/pure dreck] that comes from it. The physical act of grinding out the words, sweating and bumping and building to the climax, and then wrapping it all up in a satisfying package.

Like with sex, sometimes writing is overwhelmingly what's on your mind. Overshadowing every other thought you have, buzzing in the background, informing your every action. You can't wait to get to bed--um, the computer--to pour out every feeling, to exorcise every amazing plot point bubbling through your blood.

In other words, you are In The Mood. Marowr!

Writing comes fast an furious at times like these--the more so for any forced delay. Every obstacle Real Life puts in your way--the day job, the kids, the laundry that can't wait another second or everyone will have to go naked--becomes an exquisite form of foreplay. When you finally get a chance to sit down and make love to your, I mean, type...the relief is overwhelming.

When a session like that is over, it's hard not to light up a cigarette and sigh in blissful contentment.

But we all know sex isn't always so urgent.

(Okay, I realize I could just be talking about women here.)

If we're honest, some days other things weigh on our minds, or we're just plain exhausted, or maybe getting hit with the hormones. Whatever the reason, the ol' body says, "Oh, come on. Seriously? No way."

But, have you ever noticed that, even when you don't feel very sexy at the start, sometimes just going through the motions for the other person's sake winds up paying off big time? You start off kind of slow, feeling almost virtuous for being so selfless, and before you know it...WHOA! That kind of worked.

And that...hey, that wasn't half-bad at all! Hmm...maybe you're not as tired as you thought you were after all....

Well, same goes with writing. Real life, feeling bad, hormones, etc.--they can all play a part in how inspired you are to sit down and produce the prose.

In other words, some days your muse needs a lot more seducing than others. ;)

So, go. Buy that muse some candy and flowers. Massage its feet, maybe offer a back rub. And tease your WIP a little while you're at it. Tickle it here and there, and see what pops up.

You might be surprised at the payoff.



Why do I feel dirty all of a sudden? I think I need a cold shower.


Unknown said...

Poor Cynthia is going to be blushing the rest of the day after reading this! LOL although you do make some very whew! maybe i need a cold shower too! ;)

Linda G. said...

Karla -- Now, now. It's not like I'm advocating cheating on your WIP with somebody else's book. Surely it's okay to enjoy your own work? ;)

Linda G. said...

Tawna -- Weird. I posted a response to your comment, but it's not showing up. Huh. And it wasn't even THAT inappropriate...

LR said...

I'm going to drape some lingerie over my computer monitor and see if it helps!

Kelly Breakey said...

I will never look at my computer the same way again. I wonder if from now on I should buy it a drink first, you know, before we get started.

Linda G. said...

LR -- LOL! Or maybe a sheer red scarf. ;)

Kelly -- Might be worth a try. You know the old saying: "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."

Candyland said...

Hold on. Let me slip into something more comfortable.

Linda G. said...

Candyland -- I'm lucky. My muse thinks sweats are sexy.

Patty Blount said...

Oh. My. God!

*fans face* Why, oh why do I read these things at work?

First, what a perfect analogy! Really puts things in perspective for me and explains why I'm sometimes not in the mood to write.

Very clever.

Now, I think I need chocolate.

Linda G. said...

Patty -- Oops. Sorry. I must confess, I don't really think about people possibly reading these posts at work. But glad you found the analogy useful! :)

WendyCinNYC said...

"See what pops up." HaHa!

I'm avoiding writing right now. What does that say about me?

Cynthia Reese said...

*snort* Leave it to Linda G to read a blog post of mine and it make her think about sex!

So THIS is the post she's been giggling about ...

And yes, Karla, I'm blushing to the tips of my petite little ears. :-)

But I've gotta admit ... that Linda has a point.

Linda G. said...

Wendy -- I think it means you need to open your WIP, lie back & think of England. ;)

Cynthia -- Aw, you're cute when you blush. ;) And we all have to work from our own particular frame of reference, don't we?