I used to think I was a patient person, then I started writing. The first draft was a lesson in instant gratification. I sat down to write and five weeks later a 105,000 word novel lay before me. And then the work began. Every writer knows the nightmare of an idle muse while polishing a novel. Edit, revise, proof read, and then get critiques so you can edit, revise, and proof read all over again. It’s not sexy, it’s work. And, all the while the muse is whispering in your ear, “How ‘bout you and me dim the lights, open a bottle of wine, and together we can create something new.”
Book 1 is complete at 110,000 words and 21 chapters. It’s working its way through the critique process, but at a chapter every other week, that’s a 42 week process. I’m not sure I can stand 42 weeks of a pouting muse. I could find someone online and swap manuscripts to make it through the process faster, but there is no way on the god’s green earth I will send my manuscript anywhere electronically.
During graduate school a professor of mine submitted one of my term papers to a journal under his name. I didn’t know until I was searching journal articles for a subsequent project that I came across my own term paper. Anyone who has had their work plagiarized knows the gut wrenching feeling that comes from seeing another person represent your work as their own. Thankfully, I still had the graded paper in my possession. It took 3 months of mediation with the school’s ombudsman and the journal to get his name removed and replaced with mine. So, with that demon in my past, I deal exclusively in paper. And it’s slow . . . horribly . . . painfully . . . slow.
In the mean time I wrote book 2, which is complete at 105,000 words and currently being edited. I wrote another article for the magazine and submitted a short story to a fiction contest. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t alleviate the need to see book 1 complete, which I don’t expect to happen until about the first of June.
Nor does it help that every time I look at the computer it accuses me of neglect. Book 3 is begging to be written; the trilogy has become a jealous mistress. And I want to write it, I do. It’s just that book 2 needs edited first and there is still work to do on book 1.
And did I mention that I have another idea for a city spotlight for the magazine? The muse keeps saying, “Ask Steve . . . send in a proposal . . . you know he’ll want it.” I tell my muse, “I won’t have time for a photo-shoot until June, so there’s no point in starting a new document now.” And then, there’s this nagging new idea for another fiction contest. Taking on a life of its own, my muse begs, prods, and cajoles in equal measure; pleading like a wanton woman, “Take me now!” Oh, that I could give into that pleasure. Some people need a muse, some people need discipline. I need to discipline my muse. And with any luck, it will learn to have a little patience too.