I had a solid plan for the summer. Finish a new novel. Work on some short stories. Then get to work on polishing the hell out of an older novel that has been waiting for me. It was a good plan. A very productive plan.
And it’s pretty much been blown to crap.
But in a good way.
See, last week I was driving my kids home from camp and I got an idea. It wasn’t fully formed, but it was exciting to me and when something is exciting, no matter how flimsy the premise, I’ve learned it’s best to see where the idea leads you.
So when I got home I opened up my laptop with the intention of just getting down the gist and a feel for the protagonist.
Ten chapters and many late nights later, I’m still going on it.
My old manuscript languishes. I am really tired. But, damn, this story is really taking off.
Recently I had the very crappy task of finishing a manuscript that kept stalling and had lost all its inspiration. It really sucked and I didn’t want to do it. When I was done, the ending was sloppy and kind of bland and I know there is going to be a mountain of edits to beat it into shape, but I am so glad I fought my way through to the end. I have too often dropped stories when the muse left me so this was an exercise in growing the hell up and getting the work done.
After that huge task, however, I was ready to put the creative work aside for a while and looking forward to cleaning up this older story. It’s a story that figuratively spilled out of me one month, fast and furious and then done with hardly any nights off. It was rather amazing, honestly, but while it still has plenty of flaws to resolve it taught me not to ignore when the muse does come out.
I have plans, important plans for the work I need to get done, for the deadlines I want to meet. But my muse gives no shits about those. She is on board with this story, now, and if I ignore her to do my other work, I may be missing out on something rather amazing
Or maybe she’ll abandon me near the end and I’ll have to fight my way through to the end or shelve the manuscript until I have a better idea how to fit it together. Either way, this time of inspiration is a gift, and I will take it for all its got. And then I will work my ass off to do the rest.