Friday, June 5, 2020

In Search of a Lost Muse by Nancy Fraser

It always amazed me when other writers complained about not being able to write. For the majority of my career as an author, I couldn't imagine not being able to write. Writing...creating...was necessary for survival of both body and mind.

That was until recently. I'd like to lay the blame on the current crisis and the feeling of isolation that comes with it, but I can't. I'd lost my muse a couple of months before lockdown. Somewhere between Thanksgiving and the new year, the fickle bitch flew the coop!

A sense of emotional and creative melancholy set in and I couldn't shake it. I still haven't completely shaken it. This had never happened to me before, and it upset me. Which, in turn, only made the whole situation more confusing.

And, to make matters worse, I missed a deadline. Two in fact. Another first for me. What was most embarrassing was that the first deadline only involved twenty pages of edits. I just couldn't bring myself to look at them. I couldn't concentrate long enough to muddle through the pages.

My editor, bless her, was patient and understanding. I wasn't the first author to suffer a creative block and I likely wouldn't be the last. The second deadline was more disconcerting, as it was for the first draft of the next story in the same series. And I was nowhere ... ten pages at best ... and they were crap.

Fortunately, I'm back to writing again. Not as quickly, or as seriously, as I once did, but writing all the same. So, what broke me out of my melancholy???

My new book cover ... the one for the book I couldn't quite bring myself to edit.

What I've found over the many, many years is that there are "stages" of euphoria with writing a novel. Different times when, once accomplished, the muse kicks in gear and propels us to the next stage. What we (or at least I) need to remember is: that next stage of the process is just around the corner.

For me, those stages start with the completion of an idea, either in outline form or a synopsis. Because I've worked with all four of my current publishers for quite some time, most often I sell on proposal so all that's required is a complete synopsis and viable date for completion.

Completion of the first draft would definite qualify as the next propelling stage. It might be rough, a bit crappy even, but the words are there and waiting to be shaped and perfected.

Then, the proposal gods willing, comes the contract. It's like an affirmation .... YEAH! They like me! They really, really like me!

Next, is the polish. Getting out the fluff so I can submit to my editor

Then comes the "paperwork" ... the manuscript details (for the blurb writer) and the cover art sheets. I may be the only person I know who loves doing their cover art sheet!

From there forward, it's edits (one round is perfect, two the norm). Followed by a galley read-through, fine tuning edits, and the final read through.

The finished cover comes next, along with (usually) the official release date. This is when the business side comes in with the creation of advertising memes, a trailer, and a page-full of usable tweets and posts.

The final stage is, of course, release day! My book birthdays are usually even better than my real birthdays. Far more exciting at least.

At this point, if we're lucky and the muse isn't on vacation, we start from the beginning and do it all again!

To celebrate the finding of my lost muse, I'm going to give away a digital copy of my historical novella, A Saved Woman. I'll draw a name from those who comment below (please include your email if you want to be included in the draw). I'd love to know what is something that "keeps you going" when you're not in the mood to accomplish a task.

About the Book:

In her first twenty years, Katy Anderson has experienced more heartache than most know in a lifetime. Given to a man old enough to be her father, she has spent the past six years secluded from everyone except for her three young children. Her husband’s untimely death brings relief that ... finally ... she and her children are free.

When Sheriff Mitch Logan arrives at the Anderson homestead, he is moved by Katy’s sad circumstances and vows to right the wrongs done to her. Mitch has always shied away from marriage due to his dangerous profession, yet he quickly changes his mind when Katy comes into his life, and into his heart.


Don't forget to enter our monthly Rafflecopter drawing for some great prizes in Amazon gift cards! You can find the complete details and full entry form on our Monthly Giveaway page. Or, you can enter via the Short Entry Form.

Until next month...stay happy, stay healthy, stay safe and keep reading!

Nancy

9 comments:

  1. So far I haven't had writer's block. I'm sure it'll come at some point, and I'm grateful it hasn't happened yet. But there are other tasks that I can't bring myself to completed. Usually what gets me going is music or listening to one of my fav TV shows while I work. Not sure why, but I think listening to music or TV makes me feel like I'm not working when I really am. Ha!

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  2. When I’n grieving I don’t do a lot of creative work. But at least I know the reason and have learned to be patient with my writer’s soul. This past year has been hard in that respect with losing multiple loved ones. But, I always know my creativity will return...so I don’t despair it’s gone forever. Which is a relief. I’m not sure that’s the same as writer’s block though. I’m happy you’re feeling more like yourself again! Write on!

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  3. I really like your chart, Nancy. I'd like to stick it on the cover of my laptop. Kinda like a daily reminder what's ahead. What's behind or this too will pass. Thanks and may you be blessed with the muse moving in with you.

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  4. What a great post. I'm afraid my muse has aged right along with me, so both she and I are slow these days.

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  5. Glad to hear your muse is back. Those high points in a writer's life do help to spur us on.

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  6. Happy to know your muse returned. I'm in Liz's position--mine hasn't left, she'd just as slow as I am these days. LOL Every writer has stages. I'm always excited with a new project, bog down with doubt in the middle, and perk up at the end. You'd think that after over fifty titles I would stop doubting in the middle of each, but I haven't. Best wishes for your new book!

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  7. So glad your muse reappeared, Nancy! Perhaps the word were just making the rounds until they could plop them down in your brain. Glad you grabbed onto them and got them on paper!

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  8. I've never actually had writer's block. My problem is time block—just not enough time to deal with everything that crops up in life and have any energy and time left for writing. I guess what keeps me pressing onward are all the ideas dancing around in my head. I just want to write those stories.

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  9. I was actually afraid to read this post. I'm all too familiar with the lose muse! Gad you found a way back!

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