Brittany: What Happened to My Muse?
I always have something in my mental queue. Some of the ideas are very promising. Some are wacky. Some might inspire others. Some inspire me. I had thought that my next writing project would be the sequel to my novel, all about Jillian (the ex-nympho) and her pregnancy from hell. But I’m just not feeling it. It’s winter, it’s cold, and quite frankly, I’m not in the mood to write humor. I want to begin something substantial, the kind of book you want to curl up with by a raging fire, and I have an idea for a good one. It would be a historical romance set in eastern Ohio during WWI, between an American soldier and a German-American girl. The typical “shouldn’t be together, but can’t help themselves” kind of love story. That’s part of the reason I’m reluctant to write the story. It’s been told before. It also requires a lot of research. And it would be the literary equivalent of a drama, when I’m more of a sitcom writer.
So I go back and forth. Jillian and the pregnancy? WWI and love? Back and forth, all day long. I’ve been consumed with it lately, because come February 1st, I’ve got to get started on something. This not writing thing is getting miserable. I’m nervous and irritable, drinking pots of coffee, web surfing. Here, my email, my blog, Facebook, here again. All day long. I’m like an addict going through withdrawal. Don’t know what else to do. Don’t want to do anything else.
There are so many things I should be doing, but aren’t right now, and they’re crowding out the time I have for things I want to do. I’m not even sure how I’ll fit writing in.
I joined Weight Watchers last week, for the fifth or sixth time (I’ve lost count), and part of my weight loss success depends on me going to the gym. It would make sense to go in the mornings when Sam is in preschool, but that conflicts with my only writing window, too. Monday mornings are still free, but Tuesdays are completely taken up by my Weight Watchers meeting. On Wednesdays, I can either go to the gym or take John to a children’s program at the library. Thursdays and Fridays are still free, but I struggle between writing and going to the gym on those days as well. And there’s always something to clean at home. I can’t forget to add that into the mix. I feel chronically overbooked. And I’m so preoccupied with domestic minutia that I don’t have a spare brain cell to devote to making a decision.
I’d like to know where my writing muse ran off to, since she typically provides me with some guidance at times like these. But even if she could get into my head (which is doubtful, as it’s standing room only at the moment), she’d have to body check her way past my ever-increasing contingent of other muses. The paragon-of-Mommyhood Muse. The clean house Muse. The home-cooked-meal-every-night Muse. And the hit-the-gym-instead-of-sitting-on-your-butt Muse. All of whom are currently Jello wrestling for face time with me.
Meanwhile, the one muse I’d like to entertain is nowhere to be found.
I could easily write the Jillian book. I know the story backwards and forwards. In my head, I have a beginning, middle, and end. I know all the main characters, and most of the auxiliary characters, too. I could write this book on auto-pilot, because coming off of Home Improvement I know exactly what tone and momentum I need. I’ve already outlined the book, too. So why don’t I want to write it?
Because I want a challenge.
And isn’t that stupid? I have enough challenges right now. I don’t need another one. But I keep piling them on. I don’t feel successful as a wife, mother, or woman unless I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. And if I can leap one tall building, there’d better be another one on the horizon so I can keep proving myself over and over and over again.
And that’s why I want to write something completely different. To prove to myself more than anyone that I’m not a one-trick pony.
What will my next novel be? I don’t know. But I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I’d like to know how you decide on your next project. What inspires you and what keeps you going?