Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The "Larry Factor"

Recently, I saw the question on a blog, “What inspires you? What is your muse?”
Which made me think a bit about inspiration. Where does it come from? What keeps  writers writing when the world around them is dense with distraction?
Do I even have a muse?
Pretty sure I don’t, so for the sake of today’s blog, I’m going to call what makes me sit and produce “drivers.” I’m not really tickled into inspiration, as one might think of as Muse. I’m also not like compulsive writers who HAVE to write, whose muse/inspiration/drivers give them no choice but to seek out a computer and sit.
Normally I’m tooling along doing everyday things, when BAM! one of my drivers hits me in the face.
I have two equal drivers: rain and challenge.
Stormy days make me want to write. Like right now. If I didn’t have a mortgage to pay, I’d totally ditch work. No idea why rain drives me, but when I crawl out of bed to a thunderstorm, all I want to do run through the house, throw open all the curtains, sit down, and write.
Equally inspiring to me is challenge. When Larry and I began this novel, it was simply a challenge. He would leave me with a ridiculous scene to follow, and I had to figure out how to make sense of it, then leave him with an equally challenging starting point. We’d write a paragraph at a time, a scene at a time, occasionally pages at a time, and we were always trying to one-up the other person.
Rain is unpredictable, so I primarily rely on challenge, like I did for the first draft of our novel. It used to be that I’d come home, open my e-mail, and see the latest piece from Larry. Then I was driven to produce.
But now the book is written, and there are no more fun scenes waiting for me in my mail box. Just Victoria’s Secret sales announcements and my subscription to A Quadrillion Chicken Recipes!
Since I can’t rely on the weather, I’ll have to rely on challenge, which for a rewrite is ENORMOUS. I should be really fired up then, right?
I am—sort of. I’d liken it to how I was fired up to finish my Master’s thesis. Wanting to do it, needing to do it, working on it a little every day, but knowing it wouldn’t be as much fun as the classes that led up to it.
No, I’m not as fired up as when we were writing the first draft, back when it was both challenging and fun.
But I am motivated. Larry and I devised a plan and agreed on a schedule that would get us through the rewrite in three months.  
I suspect wrapping up the rewrite and handing it over to Beta readers will bring me the same sense of accomplishment as finishing my thesis. At least this document will give the readers a different reason to laugh than my communications professor.
 And maybe the Larry Factor will make revision fun.

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