One of the excuses I used to not write for a long time was that I had no passion in my life. I spent a lot of time writing some pretty intense stuff that will never see the time of day. These things were written during some pretty intense moments in my adult life. It was like the anger, angst, and glee were all mixing to open a door to pure story. The rainbow bridge of creativity was being opened to me through this intoxicating emotional brew. I could sit down and the gates would open and out vomited this intense story line involving emotionally charged characters and a world that was as personal as it was cookie cutter of the movies out at the time. It was amazing. It was scary. That character and the supporting cast hung around me for a long time but would only really interact with me when there was some emotional catalyst. This led me to believe that the only way to write was by having these intense moments in life.
As with most people the drama of my life has mellowed as I’ve gotten older and helped to bring three beautiful children into this world. The hunger to push myself over and over again so as to achieve the unachievable simply seemed to seep right out of me. The birth of my twins was the first nail in muse’s coffin. That black, moldy wooden final resting place of all my little imaginary worlds sat next to me and hummed a soft dirge at me while I toiled away at one in the morning feeding my little five pound babies nearly eleven years ago. I tried to write but just couldn’t muster up the strength or the emotional angst to put ‘good’ words to paper (or in this case the screen). My recommitment to my marriage and the birth of our third child really finished that coffin off and I found myself eagerly throwing dirt over it in an attempt to bury my creative side for good. After all I wasn’t going to be able to become an author because I didn’t have the time, the energy, and the angst. Everything was good in life and good stories only come out of the bad and the dark.
I don’t think I got the lid quite nailed down tight enough because my muse still calls to me. In those quiet moments it still strokes my arm and reminds me that it’s waiting to be let out. After watching a good movie, or reading a good book my muse screams at me to be released and more often than not I do. I’ll sit down and try to talk to it. We write together and the ideas come out broken, hobbled, and formulaic. I’ll sigh and remind him that now’s not the time. He’ll skulk off into the corner and finally climb back into the coffin with an evil laugh and a reminder to me that it’ll be different next time. It rarely is.
Still….it’s there, right in the back of my mind. This thing I’ve left undone. The stories, plots, and characters I’ve dreamed up speak to me in that quiet moment between being awake and being asleep. Maybe it’s time to push past the beginnings I’ve created and settle into the middle. Let the stories breathe. Silence my inner critic so the muse can take full reign for a few hours each day. This seems like more and more of a good idea the more times I give in.
So over the years I’ve gone on to study the art and craft of writing through numerous books published by authors and companies that are devoted to it. Most of those books sit and stare at me even as I write this. I’ve learned a thing or two. I created a few characters that have really resonated with me and one day while I was writing I found out that I was doing it without the angst and anger that I thought I needed to fuel a good tall tale. It wasn’t that I was lacking passion because I felt passion but it was different. I was feeling passion for the story I was working on, for the main character and the world around him. It was amazing and believe it or not the ‘project that will not be named’ was born. It had taken me nearly six years and too many attempts to count to get there but it worked. Maybe it had just been a six year long writer’s block, more than likely it was the evil idea thwarting Inner Critic, whatever it was I learned that the kids had not sucked my muse from me with each time they cried. I am happy and content with life and my family. I’m writing and it’s been fun. I’d like to say it the stuff is good but it probably isn’t. I’ve learned, though, that a first draft isn’t supposed to be good. It’s being written not for others but for me. It has the potential to be good but not yet. More re-writes and edits will be needed before we get to Good but at least now I know I can do it and I don’t need to be the Haunted Writer with Demons to do it.