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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What do you do with a cranky muse?

When does your writing muse demand a break? What sorts of diversions does she expect before she’ll calmly sit at the keyboard again?

Mine always seems to throw a fit after I finish edits on a manuscript. Once it’s submitted, she balks and doesn’t want to be near the computer. I guess I should consider myself lucky, since during the writing process, no matter how long, she’s compliant. I’ve heard some muses are cranky and must be bribed with chocolate cake. Mine just expects a treat after working hard. Seems fair enough.

After a new book submission, last week was her week to get away and see the real world. We did some spectacular things I’d wanted to do for at least a decade. 

Jai Uttal
One night I attended a kirtan led by Jai Uttal and his percussionists. What’s a kirtan? It’s a traditional Indian spiritual group singing event, a sort of sing-a-long using names of Hindu gods and goddesses as well as other words of prayer. I’ve been a fan of his for about a decade and it was a rare treat for him to play here in Tampa. The event was held at the yoga studio The Lotus Pond, inside its lovely log cabin nestled within the woods. The room was warm and inviting with wool carpets on the floor and tapestries on the walls. Jai led us through three kirtan songs lasting nearly two and a half hours. The energy of lifting our voices together singing those devotional names and words was moving, inspiring, and relaxing. I'm including some pictures I took at the kirtan.

Later the same week, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a master yoga class led by the world-famous instructor Shiva Rea. Sponsored by Yogani Studios of Tampa, it was held in the old Cuban Club of Ybor City. I went with a small group of awesome yoginis from my local yoga studio.

Shiva Rea
The theme of the evening was mandalas, circular Hindu and Buddhist art. In the ornate, old ballroom, our yoga mats were arranged in concentric circles around a center informal altar with statues of Hindu gods, candles, flowers, incense. Over 150 students practiced with her for more than two hours. The vinyasas (series of poses) flowed in circular patterns, again following the mandala theme. She was accompanied by a wonderful percussion band that kept us moving. My body embraced greater ranges of movement, and my senses drank in the aesthetic beauty—together it formed a holistic experience which was truly uplifting. 

Natural lighting was utilized to add to the ambiance through the sunset hour, so photography was limited, but here are some pictures from the early hour of the event.
Julie, Angela, Marianne, me
It’s a very cool thing my muse refuses to write a few weeks during the year, so I get to do such neat things. 

When does your writing muse demand a break? What sorts of diversions does she expect before she’ll calmly sit at the keyboard again? Muses are all different. Let me know about yours.



Rachel Firasek said...

My must takes a break when I get wrapped up in drama. I can't think when I'm worried about someone or something. When my editor left my publisher, I was a mess. lol. But, it all worked out. Now, she's back from outerspace and we're working again!

V. J. Devereaux aka Valerie Douglas said...

Sometimes I bribe my muse with a glass of red wine... I think it's just performance anxiety. *laughing* Seriously, my muse is easily distracted during final polishing edits, anything gets her off track. I just have to stay with it. If it gets really bad, I give myself a day off to read, take a walk or a drive... just step away for a little while, and give us both a break.

L. K. Below said...

I'm afraid I'm a bit of a hard pusher. My muse doesn't get a break. If my muse demands a break, I get cranky LOL. I give my muse weekends... sometimes. And evenings... sometimes. But I'm always up and at 'em. I'm a bit of a workaholic and for the most part, so is my muse.

Great post, Marsha!

Marsha A. Moore said...

It fascinates me to learn how the creative process differs among individuals.

Great to hear your perspectives, Rachel, Valerie, and Lindsay. Different muses that I know each work hard and produce quality writing!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Interesting. I agree with Rachel. When I'm under personal stress, my muse takes a holiday. After I finish a very intense manuscript, my muse steps away from the computer for a few days. It's okay. I expect it. The personal drama is a pain though.

Emily Pikkasso said...

Hey Marsha, my cranky muse wants to go to Montana and visit the energy vortex near Hungry Horse. She also wants to go to England, specifically Cornwall, Glastonbury, Avebury and then to Ireland. Hope my muse wins the lottery soon. We garden when she refuses to touch the keyboard and play with the horses.


Jenna Storm said...

I can't go more then a day or so without working on my WIP. But if I'm stressed my productivity goes way down. And then I get even more stressed because I'm not accomplishing what I feel I should be. It's a vicious circle!

Anonymous said...

My muse does get a break after a submission, but not a complete break. I work on smaller projects, getting finished faster and somehow that recharges my muse for the next big project.
Summer is harder for me to keep my backside in the chair...I think it spooks my muse (grins).
Loved to hear about your adventures...nice pictures also, Marsha.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks Julia, Kay Dee, Nancy, and Jenna!

Nancy, I hope your muse does get to go to Montana and England. My muse is pretty pleased to live in vacationland satisfied with the local beach. No lottery needed!