If I left it to whim–and I sometimes do–there would be long dry spells. And sometimes there are. I write when the Muse bonks me on the head. She tells me to pay attention. She insists that I grab a pencil, a pen a stick to imprint the earth or sand. She doesn’t command me to write. She puts words at the end of the pen. I watch to see what they say. Sometimes I am delighted, other times, dismayed.
When I was a kid, writing was a school activity plus homework. I wrote my first novel in sixth grade. Really. How presumptuous. I’d win at mumbly peg, shoot hard and straight with a steelie and take all the marbles from the boys for my collection and I’d flop on the bed with Daisy my cat who wasn’t allowed in the house, and I’d write.
In college creativity and writing seem at distant ends of opposing universes. Just meet the deadline. I became quite good at that so it was natural to fall into newspaper writing.
All of those years, whether creativity seemed engaged or not, I wrote as a matter of fact. Of necessity. Give me a deadline and I’m on it. No prob. No regrets. In newspaper writing you can’t go back to correct a prepositional phrase. Of course, if it is a factual error, there is no question about correction. It will be corrected and so will you.
When I moved to the Northwest, I looked for a newspaper to write a weekly column. It did not manifest. And I had a couple of blogs by then anyway. But a blog only has a self imposed deadline. Five years ago I started writing with some friends from Tai Chi. The Muse-icians. We write every Monday morning at my kitchen table, practice writing.
Words are like a good meal, they must be served when hot and savored for spice. It is better than a deadline.
What keeps you writing when the Muse is on vacation?