Friday, November 19, 2010

Romancing the Muse

Every married couple should go on at least one romantic get-away. It's a chance to reconnect, to make memories, to laugh over the cheese-ball ploys of over-priced hotels (like hot-tubs shaped like giant champagne glasses.)

Romance is essential to marriage. Couples who forget to enjoy one another, who forget how to have fun, fall apart under the stress of day to day life. They forget why they married in the first place, and fall out of love. Their marriage crumbles under the stress of mundane every day and they drift apart, wondering where the excitement went.

Last week I talked about "selling out", writing for no other reason than to earn a paycheck. Now, it's perfectly possible to write what you enjoy writing and be paid for it. That, dear Writer, is the best of both worlds, but, like a good man who's not gay or married, those happy coincidences are sometimes difficult to find, especially for the new writer who is still dipping their toes in the ocean.

Many experts, bloggers, and authors of writing books tout the discipline of writing every day. They nod solemnly and remind us that the route to success is paved with hard work. No one gets there by standing still. You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. While all these adages are true, and the experts' advice is sound, it's possible to fall into a rut of trudging along, married to the drudge of writing for money.

While setting goals is important, the happiest couples are those who find the fun in every day, who are playful and spontaneous without forgetting the need to get out of bed and go to work every day. Balance is the key, and the secret to balance is finding your spark, the writing you love, whether it's publishable or not, and making room for it in your writing life. Maybe you love to write poetry, or songs. Maybe you secretly enjoy creating new scenarios for favorite characters from your childhood (Writing about characters from books or movies you've enjoyed is not plagarism unless you try to pass the characters off as original. Fan-fiction has a legitimate place in a writer's toolbox. It's not publishable, except for sharing on websites committed to the genre, like Fanfiction.net, but it can be a lot of fun, and wonderful practice.)

Whatever it is that you love about writing, seek it out. Pursue it. Court it. Romance it. Even if it's just a secret affair, wholly separate from your "legitimate" writing, it will stimulate your motivation and keep your Muse enchanted.

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