Jack London said,
"Don't loaf and invite inspiration. Light out after it with a club."
Isn’t this being a writer thing an interesting gig? We get to make up stories and entertain people. We also get to blame our Muses for those periods of drought, and inactivity. What if it isn't your Muse who is to blame though? What if it really is you?
One thing we've learned is that you can't just invite inspiration. As Jack London said, you really do have to go after it—guns blazing, clubs swinging, full-tilt boogie! Sometimes the club we use is a writers' weekend. We model this after a weekend our friend and fellow author, J.L. Wilson put together. That weekend at Turtle Lake Casino is a twice-yearly event and involves a lot of work, some fun, and copious amounts of inspiration – sometimes accompanied by several glasses of wine.
Our weekends are now in Texas since we both live here. The lovely city of Waco is the halfway point between us. We’ll find a hotel that has affordable prices and split the cost. We try to find a room with a mini-fridge and microwave in addition to an internet connection. We find that bringing our own food helps defray the cost and allows us to spend more time writing and less time worrying about having to get dressed up and go out to get something to eat.
Once in the rooms we get serious. We unpack the wine, the chocolate and the computers—usually in that order. Generally we have decided what we are going to work on beforehand, though sometimes we’ll find inspiration on the way to the hotel and start on something completely different than we’d planned. One of the pluses of being a writing team is that we can work on more than one manuscript at a time.
The last weekend we had resulted in:
- Over 7K being written on two different manuscripts
- Plotting an entirely new series
- Defining characters for this new series
- Refining some ideas on the new series like who the villain is and who kisses whom—or not
- Inspiration that carried over to the next week
Just like a good book, you have to pace a writers' weekend. Otherwise your Muse may go into Cranky Toddler Mode. That's where she sits and whines if she is not allowed to do anything else. So we do take breaks. We hop on the treadmill. We go soak our heads aka take a dip in the pool. Checking email is a HUGE distraction so we try to limit that—that means Twitter, too, Arwen!
Then when the writing begins, we are ready. Email, the TV and all other distractions get turned off. Cai puts on her headphones for her music because Arwen is one of those who needs silence to write. This is our version of “lighting out” after that inspiration with a club…but the “club” in question is sometimes just the two of us bouncing ideas off one another.
So…how do YOU light out after inspiration? Do you actively seek ways to inspire your Muse to new and greater heights? Do you find your inspiration in music? Poetry? Art? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
By the way, you can read the first chapter of our most recent release here.
Who Is Marilu Mann?
Cai Smith and Stephanie Lynch comprise the writing team of Marilu Mann. One email series kicked off their first manuscriptwhich they finished as a rough draft (VERY rough draft) in three and a half months. Stephanie attended the RWA National Conference in Denver in 2002, and had the opportunity to pitch that first novel to an editor who requested a full. Not bad for a first pitch,eh? Though it was rejected, they were started on a quest for publication.Taking the pre-published contest plunge in 2005, they finaled in six contests and won two others with Changing Hearts. That manuscript was requested by two editors and two agents and was eventually contracted by Ellora's Cave along with its prequel, Changing Times. Those are the first two books in Marilu Mann's Lusting Wild series.Visit them at Marilu Mann - Escape Into The Fantasy.