It’s amazing how many ways there are to avoid writing when you don’t really feel like it. There’s emails to answer, background information to check, new monsters to kill and harder levels to master in unreal or soldier of fortune (the only two games on my computer–mainly because it’s not powerful enough to run the more modern shoot-em-ups. Which is probably a blessing in disguise even if it is frustrating). Hell, there’s even this blog to ramble in 🙂
Being deadline free is good in one sense–I can write what I want, unrestricted by said deadlines and expectations. Which is an excellent place to be considering the trouble my muse has been giving me over the last year with books that were contracted but not yet written.
The trouble comes when the muse wants to play rather than work.
Over the years, I’ve fought this. In many respects, I still do–in as much as I feel horribly guilty when I’m sitting at the computer playing shoot-em-ups rather than writing. But the truth is, I can afford to give my muse time off now. I quit Essendon to become a full time writer, and while it’s taken me a while to get used to the freedom, I’ve got more than enough time on my hands now to do anything I want. Within reason, of course. I have a target of five pages a day. Most days I make that, even if, like today, the pages are written at night rather than during the day. It’s no longer important when it’s written, as long as it is written. It’s a good place to be, and probably the reason why the muse is starting to come good again (fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that).
But sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves. To get published, we have to write, we have to finish books, we have to submit, and submit, and resubmit–all inbetween a regular life and family and work. It’s never easy, and yet for some reason, we often feel it should be. Why? I don’t know. Writing isn’t a hobby for most of us, it’s a job. Which means, in many respects, most of us are actually juggling two or three jobs while trying to avoid being total hermits. Is it any wonder the muse sometimes plants her feet and says no?
For all the stress we writers put ourselves under, it’s actually a wonder the muse performs at all.