Monday, April 26, 2010

Musing on my muse and writing mojo...

I had a period of adjustment after moving to Austin in January during which I couldn't (or wouldn't) write unless it was work-related. I wouldn't even unpack the boxes marked "home office," just set up my home computer on my desk so Time Warner could hook everything up the first week I got here. My notebook from last year lived in my shoulder bag, but I hadn't been able to write anything but "[fill in the blank] suuuucks" for months.

Every time I logged into my blog, I found good reasons not to write anything. I read old blog posts and they either (a) made me sad or (b) reminded me of when I used to be funny. I also read old blog posts that are still up on the site of the magazine I used to work for and they either (a) made me sad or (b) pissed me off. I also read some of my old essays and wondered if I'd ever get my writing mojo back. Did I accidentally kill my muse? Did I drive her away during one of those weeks last year when I repeatedly told her to "fuck off" and wouldn't get off of the couch? Did I forget to bring her with me to Austin? Did she just get sick of me altogether?

It's taken me a few months to realize all of the above is both bullshit and necessary. I needed some "off" time. I just moved halfway across the country, away from my friends and family and the home that I loved. It's been less than four months. What I really needed to do is cut myself some slack. So I did.

I also decided to put away the 2008/2009-barely-written-in Journal-O-Negativity. I went to a great store here in Austin called Wanderland and bought myself a new notebook and some nice pens. Earlier this month, I started from scratch, writing again. Not just writing again, but writing in a notebook. Not just writing in a notebook, but writing every day. I went back to my 15-year-old "inspiration" notebook. I re-read Writing Down the Bones. And I gave my permission to be my 20-something year old writerself, just stepping out into the world of sharing very personal information, understanding that not every sentence I write has to be brilliant, and even if I'm just writing about how I don't feel like writing, just write anyway to get the pen moving.

It worked. A couple of weeks ago, I unpacked my home office boxes. I threw or gave away anything that reminded me of negativity in my past (why did I pack that crap anyway? Bad juju...). I hung up my inspiration board over my desk. I created my writing space. A new writing space, one that makes me happy every morning when I come downstairs and see my little office in the space where most people have a dining room table. I've nearly filled a third of that new notebook I've had for less than three weeks. Is every word brilliant? Absolutely not. Most of it is crap. But I'm writing again, which also means I'm seeing the world in a different way, which also means I know that one's muse never leaves for good. Mine is lurking around here somewhere; I know she's close by.


  1. Thanks, Joan! There have been a lot of fits and starts, but I've really missed writing regularly here.

  2. It was so nice to visit my feed reader and see Microfamous with the cool number 5 in parenthesis. So I started at the top and stopped here. I really feel you in this post... about how life transitions are hard, forgetting to give myself a break and also accepting and respecting that the down time is necessary and part of the process.

    And I agree that sunscreen tastes like shit. :)

  3. Thank you, Angie! I'm still working on it, but getting comments like yours keeps me motivated! And if you ever find a sunscreen that doesn't taste like shit, please do a blog post about it...I will buy! Chocolate-flavored sunscreen would be nice.


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