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Monday, January 15, 2007

THE RETURN OF THE MUSE

"Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write."
Anthony Trollope 1815-1882 "An Autobiograph" ch 1. 1883

The Muse is back! You'd be surprised how much you can accomplish when you quit procrastinating and get down to business!

I resolved at the beginning of the New Year to focus more on my writing, in particular my novel (have to finish it!), and other aspects of my well-being such as exercise and diet.
I got off to a good start making sure I am doing some kind of exercise each day whether it be a walk, waterfit or the gym. And also to try and do daily stretching exercises. So far, so good.
I also sat down and worked out my menu plans so that I wouldn't be going off track with my diet. Last week when I finally went back to W.W. after two month which included travelling and Christmas festivities, I'd actually only gained back a pound.

For one thing, I've decided to stay home more and the extreme weather conditions we've had so far this month have certainly helped me do that. We've had relentless rains, vicious wind storms, and now it's snowy and cold (but at least the sun is shining!). So I've really been enjoying my cozy apartment and especially the fireplace. I've stayed out of my favorite haunts (except the coffee shop where I still go once in awhile) and finally Saturday one of my pals from the L.Q. called to see if I was okay. People have missed me and were asking about my whereabouts.

"I'm okay," I said. "Just staying home writing and relaxing and trying to stay on track."
And actually it's because I'm broke after the holidays and by staying home I'm also saving money.

Writing? Yes I am doing lots of that! I have so far this month finished another chapter of my novel and since Friday I've written two new travel articles (the Malaysian stories), have a partial first-draft of the NYC story and started the lead for the Chile story. I'm on a roll! And the Muse is definitely co-operating. I also got a kick in the butt when I realized that unless I publish three paid travel articles within 24 months I lose my membership to the BCTWA and would have to step down as secretary, a new position for me which I was pleased about. So I needed to finish up several of the travel story ideas that have been ignored these past months. Not to speak of the new ideas I have from my most recent trips. (I finally had my "Art in a Tropical Garden" (short version) published in this month's Transitions Abroad magazine (page 11). The long version with photos is up on the Malaysian tourism website. www.malaysiatourism.ca. Of course I didn't get paid for that and TA only gave me a pittance plus magazine copies (what am I supposed to do with those, sell them?) Ah...the life of a free-lance journalist. (My advice: "Don't quit your day job!" And that's why I took up teaching writing classes including travel writing, but that doesn't count for my membership in the association apparantly.)

The best part is that I'm once again enjoying those marvelous rushes of spontaneous thoughts we writers value so much. Whle riding on the bus, sitting in coffee shops, lying in bed, the ideas the words come in a rush and I must immediately write them down or they'll vanish. (I made the mistake last week when I was on my way across town and a whole scene for Shadow came to mind, that I didn't write it down. Of course by the next day it was forgotten. I couldn't remember a word of it. And then I had to struggle again to put together that very scene that my subconcious had told me what to write.) For this reason, I always tell people in my classes "Always carry a pen and notepad to write down the ideas that come to mind. And write them down immediately or you'll forget them!". So true.

By working diligently all day long, with the exception of the times I allot to go out for exercise or errands, I've been allowing myself some leisure time in the evenings to watch TV (which I rarely do otherwise) and to make myself delicious low-point dinners. On the weekend I allowed myself a couple of glasses of pisco sour but that's all. And I can certainly feel the benefits. For one thing I'm much more clear-headed and energetic.

This week my Memoir group "Write from the Heart" starts again for the Winter session. And next week all my night school classes start. So I will have to make good use of my daytimes to keep on track with my writing and exercise program. But I feel that I have a good start now, I'm back in the grove, and the Muse is certainly co-operating!

"You can declare at the very start that it's impossible to write a novel nowadays, but then, behind your back, so to speak, give birth to a whopper, a novel to end all novels."
Gunter Grass 1927 - "The Tin Drum" 1959 bk 1. "The Wide Skirt"

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hurrah for the muse!
I'm starting a brand new story and having a ball with it. It's quite fun, featuring the gods and goddesses of ancient myths and a very modern world setting. At any rate, it's fun.
The main character is a mortal - the daughter of Caliope, muse of epic poetry.
Sam

Wynn Bexton said...

Well good for you Sam. I've spend hours and hours the last four days just researching travel writing markets. (Think I'll post a blog about this process. So discouraging for a freelancer, and time consuming -- taking away from the actual writing process which is so important too. But it has to be done. Now I have to spend a few days actually sending out stories to these places the majority of which don't even pay!! So I'm taking a brief break from working on the novel. And I still have to finish up a couple more travel stories too. Nose to the keyboard and onward!!!

Megumi said...

That's awesome that your Muse is back! Good luck writing! :) Hopefully your novel will be finished soon.

I too am on a diet and I can't tell you how much it helps just to cut regular soda and cheese out of your meals. I admit I don't NOT eat cheese in some form every every week, but I severely limit the amount. I also HIGHLY recommend (if your store carries them or you can get them online) mircrowave dishes from Annie Chun. They're less than 200 calories each and are very yummy. I have one of her meals and a diet soda for lunch and then go for a walk. Already after only 3 weeks I can tell I've been losing weight and I haven't even weighed myself (scale is broken for some reason).

Anonymous said...

Great momentum.

Muse travels in mysterious ways sunflower.

Sappho's must have been a lovely lady, but she didn't have enough confidence in the muse in the end.

dayya said...

Good for you, Wynn. Productive on all fronts. The chilly weather here has made it easier for me to stay in and focus on the novel. I so enjoy it when I can ignore the beckoning of the out of doors. d:)

Gabriele C. said...

I wish my muse would help more with the actual writing and less with sending plotbunnies around. :)

Wynn Bexton said...

Thanks everyone for your encouraging posts. I do appreciate hearing from other blogsters. Yes, the nasty weather has been helpful at keeping me indoors and focused. I do try to get out from some exercise each day though and so far I'm maintaining my exercise/diet prog. pretty well.
MEGUMI, yes, I don't generally drink any kind of colas (except sometimes gingerale) and I agree about the cheese. Cheddar is addictive so I've avoided buying it lately and chose low-fat cheeses instead. Also trying to have some suitable 'snacks' on hand as I find late at night when I've been in all day I want a little snack. Also have been staying out of my usual haunts, the jazz and salsa bistros, thus avoiding imbibing wine although I have to admit I was out and around this weekend though I tried not to over-indulge. (Have to admit I miss the music and dancing!!)

Re Sappho: she became very disillusioned and discouraged which is something all of us have to deal with, especially the aging process and trouble with men which eventually drove her literally over the edge (of a cliff!)

Anonymous said...

Sappho, do you think that if other people kept their noses out of her business she would have lived longer?

The politics of opinion can be the most lethal of weapons.

Wynn Bexton said...

From all I know about her (from research for my w.i.p. play "House of the Muses" she was given a lot of bad press by her poet rivals (male) from mainland Greece who were jealous of her (a woman) gaining such popularity. (Plato called her the Tenth Muse). She was also depressed because she felt abandoned by those she loved (including some of the girls from her school) and the fact she had been a political exile on three different occasions because of her fights with the tyrants who had taken away all her family's land. I think many of us can relate to Sappho, woman to woman. Her suicide was a tragic end for a brilliant and highly talented woman.