When wrangling the Muse is as dangerous as patting a cat?

I’m sure most people would not consider patting a cat to be a dangerous pastime, but then most people haven’t met my cat. Jackson didn’t earn his nickname of The Demon Cat for being cute and cuddly.


The trouble is that he looks cute and cuddly, with soft soft fur and the ability to make me forget that he is more likely to eat me than let me pat him. He likes to slink up to people, acting like he wants a pat, only to sink the teeth in when they try. He’s definitely the kind of cat who likes to be admired from afar. It’s okay for him to breech your personal space, but you risk life and limb if you attempt to breech his.


Honestly, considering he shares a name with one of my characters that is just as handsome yet dangerous, I shouldn’t be surprised when I wind up wounded. (More on the similarities between the cat Jackson and the character Jackson in a future post.)


Anyway, patting my cat is a dangerous prospect, not one to be undertaken lightly, and the same can be said for my muse on occasion.


Most of the time she behaves herself, finding inspiration wherever we go and making sure my creative well is filled with fresh and exciting story ideas, and letting me extract some on them without sinking her teeth into me. But sometimes she decides that the well is off limits and no amount of hair-pulling, begging or bribery gets her to change her mind. That is when it is time to back away from the muse and give her some space to work out her issues.


Sometimes those issues are resolved in the time it takes me to have a quick nap. Other times she needs longer and I read a book or two, or catch up on one of the television shows I have stockpiled on DVD. Then, once she is convinced the well is in no danger of being depleted of all precious resources, she lets me dip a hand in again and the words flow once more.


After having neglected my muse over the busy Christmas period she wasn’t inclined to let me near the well after I sent the kids off to school. But after much apologising on my part, a stint of catching up on season nine of Stargate SG1, binge watching seasons one and two of The 100, and a little light reading thrown in, she has forgiven me. The well is open, the muse is happy and it’s time to get back to writing.


Now, I wonder if the cat will let me pat him today?   20160128_115340

Multi-Tasking and the Muse

As I write this I am at my desk, sandwiched in the dining area, while two metres to my right builders are hammering and sawing away as they work on a room extension. Not exactly the best environment for me to be creating the sequel to Lost Reaper, Winged Reaper. I’m three quarters of the way through the first draft and continually getting distracted by anything and everything, not just the building project happening in my backyard.

I can console myself with the knowledge that the building project will not last forever, and that at the end of it not only will I have gained a new bedroom, but this will free up space for me to create my very own library/study that I can read and write in to my heart’s content. But even though the builders will eventually leave, many other distractions remain.

As a stay-at-home mum, with one child at school and another at kindergarten part of the week, the hours I have to write without interruption are few and far between. I try to set myself goals for each day, gluing myself to the desk until I’ve achieved my word count, but some days it is a struggle to even get near the computer. My family and friends all know I’ll be home so some days I have a stream of visitors popping in for a cuppa and a chat. Then there are the days the school or kindergarten rings and I have to race off to pick up a sick child. And don’t get me started on the phone calls. I mean, seriously, some days I swear the telemarketers have my picture up on the wall and are throwing darts at it, I get that many calls.

So I’ve learned to steal a few moments here and there. Doing the dishes, washing my hair, getting the washing in, these are great times to ponder a plot point or work out the kinks in a bit of dialogue. Driving in the car, radio off, once I’ve dropped the kids off or I am on my way to pick them up is another great moment to consider what happens next in my story. But more often than not, it’s after I’ve gone to bed that my muse starts to fill my head with ideas. I keep a notebook handy for late night flashes of inspiration and wake up the next day eager to get to the computer and turn those flashes into a story. I’ll be even more eager to get to work once I have a brand new study to hide away in.

So, what keeps you awake at night? Is it your muse or are you too tired from a day of multi-tasking to do anything but sleep and dream big?