When my oldest son was a toddler, he threw some hellacious tantrums. They almost always surprised me, but I handled them pretty well. Calm. Loving. But also firm. He learned pitching a fit would only exhaust him, not get him what he really wanted. I like to think he also learned that I’d always love him and be there for him, even when he made mistakes. Meanwhile, I grew more adept at spotting when he was tired or hungry before he melted down.
So what does this have to do with writing?
My muse has been throwing a big ‘ol tantrum for quite a while now. It used to be I could write everyday, all the time, anywhere. By degrees, I’ve lost this ability. I’ve tried everything I could think of to FORCE myself to write the way I used to, including hiring a writing coach and renting office space so I’d get away from the distractions at the house–but nothing’s really worked. Eventually, I decided to view my muse’s tantrum as an opportunity to try writing a different way. Not constant. Not fast. Not intense.
Not as an escape.
Not the way it used to be, but rather the way it obviously needs to be right now–a way that leaves room for watching TV and reading for pleasure and hanging out with my family again.
I’m enjoying all of it. My life is more balanced. I still feel guilty for not writing as much as I once did, but at the same time, I’m giving my muse the space she needs to get over her tantrum–and convince her I’ll stick by her and love her even when she’s difficult.
A specific benefit of giving my muse some space? I finally watched all the current episodes of The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey. Now I know what all the fuss was about. Are you a fan of either one?