The Muse likes sweat.
This is a saying I adhere to. It means that, at least in my own experience, inspiration strikes about two hours after I set my rump on a chair and began slaving away at the keyboard.
I want to tell you a few more things about that.
When I first began this crazy project (publishing at least one thousand words each day), I knew that I had done something similar already. Last year, between February and May, I pushed myself to write at least 1,000 words each day.
It was an interesting challenge, and it allowed me to develop my writing muscles. One of the most interesting takeaways from the experience was that, by the end, on some days I was just typing out notes on world building or characters to fill out my quota.
Even though the grand total exceeded 150,000 words in little more than three months, none of it was, in a way, meaningful. Only a few short stories came out of that grand exercise and I did not feel satisfied.
So this year I wanted to do something similar, but try to publish it, so that I could a) be accountable b) get over my fear of publishing.
I started this project with three great fears. Here’s what happened so far:
I managed to write each and every day. Even when my head felt like lead, even when I was so tired I wanted nothing more than to throw myself on a bed, I pushed through.
There have been moments when I felt like losing touch with the story. And yet, I felt like in every chapter I managed to push something interesting out, like a facet of a character, or a cool world building element.
This was the worst one. I dreaded the ‘silent months’ between starting to push something out and receiving some feedback. It’s a matter I’d like to express better at another time, but the short of it was Patina helped me get into the habit, keep the habit.
No matter what, knowing I have to sit down and push 1,000 more of this story for the past two months has incredibly improved my mood, my self-confidence and my approach to writing.
I never felt like I was truly getting lost. Just like Sadja or the Hunter in the dark forest, I would get a flash of inspiration about a character, or a cool scene to develop, or a piece of dialogue I really wanted to get through.
And I think it all comes from the willingness to stick to it, no matter what happens. Which has been one of my weakest points for the past decades.
These past two months I have been staring my worse fear right in the face.
It has done me a fat lot of good.
I’ll keep my Muse sweaty.