First Day of Fall- Where is my Muse?

Today feels like the first day of fall, or the closest you can get to it in North Texas in September.

Rain.

Glorious rain.

It’ll be here for two days.

The unfamiliar sighs of relief from every resident of the Lone Star state have echoed everywhere. Seems like my home has been plagued by a perpetual drought for the last decade. Seattle, Boston, Providence, New York- thanks for sharing some of your commonplace weather with me. They’re worth dancing for here where I live.

My hubby brought back a white chocolate mocha for me from Starbucks. The only things missing are a wood fire and one of my mom’s quilts.

But instead of curling up with a delicious book , I’m banging my head against my keyboard.

That’s right people… I’m stuck.

I can’t get past a certain scene in the manuscript I’ve free-written without any plotting or sketching. And I can’t get my butt in gear to focus on outlining. Not because I keep getting down-trodden from more rejections (I refuse to admit that). But because my muse has decided to hide behind the rain clouds today.

My son’s down for a nap, so I have at least 1.5hrs of free time. And spending it stuck in limbo is as frustrating as a recovering chocoholic in a Buncha-Crunch factory.

I won’t have time later this weekend, since we have a birthday party to go to later today and a bunch of errands tomorrow (and taking time to go to a writer’s meeting).

I thought the rain was supposed to bring out my muse. Why is it hiding? Or perhaps you’re trying to tell me something much more important. That perhaps I don’t want to hear.

Writing Time

Writing time is precious in my house. Plainly put- if my son is here and not napping, writing is impossible. Which is why the few rare hours he’s at preschool or asleep are cherished. And the days he doesn’t nap feels a bit chaotic. No ‘me’ time to mess with the characters in my head.

A lot of times, I find myself leaving the house to limit distractions. Otherwise I’ll spend it online, pinning on Pinterest, reading blogs (haha!), or playing iPad games. Not great tools for finishing a manuscript. So I’ll head to Starbucks or a park (when its cooler outside), find a cozy spot and write. Luckily the Starbucks by my house isn’t packed 24/7 like several others I hear about. I can always find a seat and not feel like someone is spying over my shoulder.

But one thing is clear- mornings are my better times. I’m more focused, clear headed, and energized. The afternoon slump impacts my writing style negatively- I realized that over a few years. Music makes me even more focused. So adding these factors to my writing time is important to have as an effective and productive session as I can.

A while back, I read about an author who spends about 3 weeks writing a novel. 3 weeks!! Here’s how: she writes the entire time, pulling all nighters, only taking a few minutes for essentials (lunch, shower, and potty time), and sleeps maybe 2-3 hours at a time. Clearly, this woman doesn’t have any children. No one to care for. It’s just her. Not sure if she’s married. If she is, I give her husband a lot of props. My husband certainly couldn’t tolerate that schedule, even if it were just us. I bet this author’s publisher absolutely loves having this woman on their roster.

I don’t think I could live on her schedule. I value my sleep far too much. Let alone my family time.

A much smaller goal, I’d love to participate in Twitter 1K1Hr groups, but they always take place an inopportune times. Or maybe I just check Twitter at the wrong times. But I was brave enough to join in NaNoWriMo last year. 50,000 words in a month took dedication. And I was on track to complete it (until a family incident towards the latter half of November required the majority of my time). But keeping that writing time from being ‘stolen’ from distractions is tough.

How do you protect your writing time?

When do you work best?

More importantly, what do you do to forgive yourself when the writing time is otherwise occupied?