But your thoughts will soon be wandering
the way they always do
When you’re ridin’ sixteen hours
and there’s nothin’ much to do
Turn the Page ~ Bob Seger
What happened to me? I was cruising along on my creative highway, seeing inspiration through the windshield when the creative world went dark. It wasn’t a road block. The highway just vanished. Darkness closed in and not even the headlights could penetrate. First the frustration, then the fear and finally resignation that it was gone. That was nine months ago.
I had high hopes for creating a series of muses to share each week. It would go in cycles and then the cycles crumbled, not to return. Through all the pressure I tried to put on myself to hit the publishing deadline, I felt I was forcing it. Some of the writings that were published showed the effects and eventually, even the attempts ended with a blank screen. Throwing my figurative hands up, I let days, weeks, and then months pass without attempting to write more than a project plan or email. The creativity had gone into hiding and I let it go. The muse had abandoned me, or had I abandoned the muse.
Last year, I started enjoying audio books on my somewhat long commute to the office. As the year wrapped up, I was deep into many series that I would have never had time to read in the normal sense. The hour long trip to the office or back home was enjoyable. I would avoid phone calls (before you scream at me, I have a hands free system in my car), and just slip away in the fantasy world of Heinlein, Abercrombie, and others. My drive time was filled with enjoyment that only good stories can produce.
A few weeks ago, I was waiting on a business call on my commute and didn’t want to get into a story only to stop in the middle. I turned on the music of my iPod and let my mind drive. The darkness that was encapsulating my creative muse started to fade. I listened to the lyrics and an idea crept to life. I played the song again and built on the idea. By the time I was in the driveway, a story was born. The darkness cleared to a murky shadow and words flowed out of me to the screen once again.
It seems that in my enjoyment of the audio books, I was concentrating on the stories so much that I was not letting my thoughts flow or develop. I was escaping into their stories without working on my own. This isn’t necessarily bad but stifled the creativity that not only helped to produce thoughts like this but also my writing and planning in my job. My muse had now returned.
I will not give up my audio books but I am going to work to temper them with times of creative thoughts and to ration out the stories of others with my own voice and expression. My writing started back up a few years ago from listening to music and pulling thoughts from the lyrics. The first few published posts from over four years ago were based solely on that style of writing. I forgot my muse. I lost my way in the darkness. Let the light shine again and the words flow out.
Until next time…