The following subject is controversial.  A good friend advised that I leave the topic alone, saying it’s up there with politics and religion.  There are those writers who embrace it so personally and become so passionate, almost obsessive about the subject, that if you say anything negative about it you become the recipient of a slew of rude remarks.  What am I talking about?  NaNoWriMo.

Here’s my take on it, for whatever it is worth.  If having this challenge thrown in your face is what you need to get you started writing, then NaNoWriMo is the way to go.  But I have to ask – what is holding you back the other eleven months out of the year? Do you really need the Ready, Set, Go starter gunshot to get the muse within you woken up?

Nay I say! Now that you’ve started writing, don’t stop. What I worry about with the NaNoWriMo concept is you are so furiously beating the words out that by the end of the month, you’re burned out and you can’t look at the keyboard without breaking into a sweat.  I hope this isn’t the case with you.

Here are two scenes that are Muse-worthy that happened this past week while I was driving.  I so wish I could have gotten my camera out and taken a picture.

#1: Another day done at work.  Would this traffic please hurry?  I want to get home.  Sitting at the stoplight, I check my cell phone for messages, glance up and the light is still red.  I look over to the rearview mirror and am fascinated by the image I see behind me.  Two women, the younger of the two possibly in her 40’s or 50’s is at the wheel.  She grips the wheel like that of a teenager in a Driver’s Ed class, her hands in the 10 & 2:00 positions.  The woman sitting beside her is in what looks to be her late 70’s.  She’s got a purple hat on her head, all Sunday dressed.  Is it a mother and daughter, aunt and niece?  The questions begin to pop in my head one right after the other. For me, I imagine them to be a mother and daughter. The daughter has never married and dutifully takes care of her mom. But why? Why hasn’t she ever married? Is she timid? Jilted? Here are the makings of a great short story.

#2:  On my way to work.  I could drive it in my sleep.  Turn right and then turn right again to get out of the neighborhood. It seems like there is always someone walking their dogs on this street or jogging.  Don’t these people work? It’s a beautiful fall day, still warm but sweater-worthy. All the trees are turning orange and fire engine-red.  Each year I wonder what kind of trees they are so I can go out and buy one to put in my yard.  Then I pass them on my left.  I want to stop the car, put it in reverse so I can take a picture and freeze it in time but I don’t, it would be too weird.  There stopped on the sidewalk is a mother with an empty stroller. The toddler, the obvious occupant of the empty stroller, is standing beside her mother reaching up. She wants to touch the pretty fall leaf hanging from the tree. Her mother, instead of breaking off the leaf to hand it to her has instead bent the soft limb over and down towards her child. The scene is heartwarming and could take place in Anywhere, U.S.A. Is the mother as happy and content as she seems? Maybe she’s been the victim of spousal abuse and is hiding from the father.  Ever seen the movie with Julia Roberts, “Sleeping With The Enemy”? Yea.  Ready, Set, Go – there is your starter gunshot.

The point I’m trying to make is, for the other eleven months, open your mind.  Muses are all around you waiting to be discovered every single day. Don’t let them pass you by waiting for that one single month to be heard.


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9 Responses to MUSES

  1. I am with you. I can write twenty four seven if I could stay awake that long. For me there are too many stories out there waiting to be written and read with so little time to do it. I can’t wait around for six months to pass me by. Every writer has their own way of doing things I have no qualms about that. As for waiting, never happen! If I am blocked on a story I have several more waiting in the wings for me to sing their song.

  2. Couldn’t agree more Trish. If we need Nanowrimo to get started, fabulous, but then keep it up. Thanks for this post!! 😀

  3. Kevin Myers says:

    Right on Trish! Who ever dreamed up the NaNoWriMo concept is brilliant; but anyone expending their energy/talent on it is not well grounded. Just my two cents!

    BTW, you’ve got some great story-telling skills young lady!

  4. LJ says:

    I can’t agree with you more. I find my muse works much better and clearer when not under a tremendous amount of pressure. I like to compare NaNo to listening to something on high speed – you can’t understand a word of it and it loses it’s meaning. If my characters are talking I me that fast, I know I’ll miss something important. I know that this is just my comfort zone, however. We all work differently, an I know there have been some great works of art that have come from NaNo. I’ve read some of them and loved em.

  5. Trish, I agree. I also believe (and have to chuckle) when people comment on how many words they’ve written that given day/night. What happened to quality over quantity? Now, I do give kudo’s to all who tackle NaNoWriMo, but what about writing when the “incentive” is not there. Now that is passion.

  6. lol Perfect case in point. I just left a non-hurried comment & realized I omitted the word “can’t” before “believe” in my second sentence. How many more mistakes could I make furiously producing 5,673 words in a sitting 😉

    (Again, in no way, shape or form am I attempting to slam anyone currently participating in NaNoWriMo)

  7. Vacen Taylor says:

    Yes, I totally agree. Often I can listen to a song on the radio and ‘wham’ an idea explodes for a storyline from a few words in the song. Believe it or not, but Deadhorse came while watching ‘Ice Truckers’. Yes, you have it right on the money when you say ‘Muses are all around you waiting to be discovered every single day.’ Thank you for reminding us all. :))

  8. e6n1 says:

    AGree with your post- there are a myriad of idea and muses all around us- picking one and sticking to it is the hard part.

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