Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Between the Pages

Do you have a muse? Or a happy place that gives you inspiration? An ideal reader, perhaps. What gets you inspired to write?

by Dietrich

Getting up in the morning, I fix a coffee and show up in my writing space. The muse rolls in around the time I sit at my desk and dial up the creative. I put on music that works with the rhythm of whatever I’m going to be writing.

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” 

― Hunter S. Thompson 

I begin where I left off the day before, and I find the cadence, that point where my words hit the beat of the action, and I let them flow. The zone’s that place where there’s no pressure, where nothing distracts me, and there’s no awareness of the passing of time. There’s no quota of words that I need to chase, no endpoint or deadline I need to meet. Some days I write a whole chapter or more; other days I only write a couple of pages, but as long as they’re good pages, then I’m happy with that.

“Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. Or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.” 

— Stephen King

Maybe early morning’s not every writer’s best time. Some people actually sleep, and some don’t like coffee; still others might find my music awful, or any music an absolute distraction. For me, it just matters that I show up, and when I do the muse shows up too.

Reading good books inspires me too, and I usually have a tower of them waiting, and when I’m in a situation where I can’t read, I listen to audiobooks, all kinds of fiction and nonfiction — as long as I think its good. 

When I lived in Toronto, I once drove home after work and was passed on the 401 by a man in a car alone. He had a book propped up on his steering wheel, switching his focus from the road and the printed page. Now that’s multi-tasking, or maybe his muse had the wheel. I hope that guy’s still around and has discovered the joy of audiobooks too. 

Another thing — when somebody writes a comment or sends me a note, and lets me know that they get what I’m writing, that’s also a boost of inspiration. And you can’t beat a good family support system — that goes a long way.

Armed with all of that I give it my best — sometimes it’s only for a couple of hours, sometimes it’s a dawn-till-dusk thing before the muse and I go our separate ways. Then I’ll take a walk in the woods or along the water’s edge, forgetting about the story for a while, letting the batteries recharge. I’m not sure where the muse goes, but I do know it’ll be back around the time I sit at my desk the next day.

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” 

— Dan Poynter


Brenda Chapman said...

Great post, Dietrich. I'm going to try your music idea :-)

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Brenda. All I can say is it works for me.