The muse didn’t show up. I realized halfway through the day that he wasn’t going to brighten my day with his pretty self and feed me some solid inspiration. Luckily, the writing still soared from his last visit and when that wore off, I did what writers do: I hunkered down at my laptop and wrote some more. Word after word after word, until I finished the scene I wanted to get on paper. It took some convincing and a lot of tea, but it worked. Like it always works when the muse doesn’t show his face.


After I was satisfied with what I had written, I went out – and right at that moment the sun chased the rain – to meet with fellow author Jim Averbeck (Read his books! They’re awesome!). We talked about books and projects and publishing, and about the days that we want to give up this whole writing business and the days that we know we can’t stop because this is what we have to do. It was wonderful and encouraging, particularly when we realized that we were both working on a project that is close to our hearts.


It’s not an automatic thing, this writing business. There’s a few vital concepts I always need to remind myself of when the muse fails me:

  1.  My muse is an inspirational beast and he feeds me well when he’s around, but he doesn’t own me. I am the writer and I decide what to write and what not, when to write and when not. Read Screw the Muse if you want to know what I mean.
  2. Scrivener is not my boss. It doesn’t pay me a bonus when I reach my word count target or punish me with a malus when I don’t. It just recalculates like a GPS recalculates your route when you take a wrong turn. Without questions. Without scolding. Without repercussions. You open your project the next day et voilá: new numbers (this is where my subconscious interrupts: who again fed Scrivener that overall word count and deadline? Oh, yeah. Me…).
  3. It’s a DRAFT! It does not have to be perfect the first time round. This is a particularly challenging concept to grasp for the hardcore perfectionist that is me. But I know there will be numerous, if not countless, revision rounds where at least half of what I write will end up in the bin. So: It’s a DRAFT! Stop thinking and bloody WRITE!


Oh, and on my way back to the hotel I decided that I won’t leave San Francisco until I’ve finished this manuscript. I will stay put and not break the flow.



One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, ISBN 9781481405140.