Words from the otherworld: When lightening strikes
I have a new editing date. One of my mentors has worked with me to set a final editing date for Rain. I will email the full draft to her at the start of March (yes, I was a bit sick in my mouth as I typed that.)
I work well with deadlines especially ones set by someone else. I have word counts, structured days, and internet limits – you name it I have ordered organized it, including contingency plans for sickness etc.
So, what happens on the first day of this new regime? A whole new idea for a book hits me like a bolt of lightening. It hit me fast, hard and literally like a bolt of lightening – all my nerves were on end and my mind and heart were burning.
My Muse was on fire. I was completely immersed in this new world to the point that I could taste and feel it. The characters for this new story stepped out of my dream world (as all my characters do) and walked behind me. They haunted me with their footfalls and secrets. They whispered all day. It became clear – their story that must be told.
But I was angry, upset, lost and annoyed. I was failing my goals. I wasn’t going to meet my edit-word count. This quickly spiralled in to catastrophizing that I was never going to be a writer and that I was going to end up living in a dust-bin. I was so focused on the fact that I couldn’t get my head into the writing space for Rain I couldn’t see the gift my Muse was gifting me. I had completely forgottdn my own advice – always follow the Muse.
Once I finally gave in and sat down to write a poem (all my books start with a poem) I realized what a gift this new story was.
My Muse was showing me what was to come next, after Rain. I am lucky, I am still in love with Rain. There is nothing worse than working on a stale novel. Stephen King says no author should spend more than three months on a novel less their inspiration grows stale. But my Muse was gifting me my next story to ensure I stayed excited about writing in general. The last yards of a novel are the hardest by all account especially because it involves a death. Yes, the book is born but that daily relationship of crafting it, living it, dies. But my Muse was showing me that yes, although Rain will die, this passing will make way for the birth of ‘The First’. My muse was giving me another reason to finish. My Muse was giving me enthusiasm, a goal and hope.
Yes, I lost a day of editing but I now have a whole new book waiting for me once these edits are done. Since that day, that lightening bolt, I have had no problems, despite my pain and medication, getting to work and hitting my targets. I am writing not only to finish but also to begin. Where Rain ends ‘The First’ (working title) begins.
Hopefully I will learn from this, yet again, to follow and trust my Muse.
Once I have had time to edit and polish I will publish the poem that birthed The First.