Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Time Management (Or, Not!)

I love blogging. I only entered the blogosphere back in February of this year, and I jumped in head first, exhilarated by the hard splash. I set myself on a twice a week posting schedule and honored it for many months. Then it became once a week. (You know what I'm talking about.) And somewhere between once a week and today, I got lost. And I'm disappointed in myself - my harshest critic.

You must understand...the biggest compliment-insult my husband bestows on me is that I'm too efficient. (He's trying to insult me, but I take it with pride.) Never was I a procrastinator - not in childhood and certainly not in adulthood. No, siree. You'll never find me putting off until tomorrow what I can get done and check off my list NOW.

So if procrastination isn't my vice, why haven't I been blogging? Or writing, for that matter? I blame it on my muse. Many of my blogfriends reference a variety of amusing muses (I just wanted to type that), often posting muse avatars to inspire them daily, but I've never gone that route. Admittedly, I've never been able to clearly identify the source of my inspiration...either it was there or it wasn't, and I simply waited (rather patiently, I might add).

But last week I got pissed off. Since the school year resumed, when I've bumped into friends who ask about my writing, I've heard myself say, "My muse went on summer vacation and never came back." It's a charming enough response that elicits smiles, but every time I said it, I was afraid it was true. What if the unknown source of my inspiration never returned? I thought I'd die.

Then I found it. It started with a conversation in October in New York, where I got the idea for my next book. I let it sit for a while, brew inside my head and take shape. Then I picked up my copy of Hollis Gillespie's Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood, and I felt inspired. (If you're not familiar with this book, check it out. It's pee-in-your-pants funny while also being touchingly poignant and beautifully written.) I sat down and started the Preface of my new book and was already on a roll when my lovely blog buddy, Nicole Ducleroir, said I HAD to read Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

How could Nicole know that I was writing my own memoir and troubled over the narcissistic nature of the whole project? She couldn't, of course. But that, my friends, is an example of serendipity. By picking up King's memoir (already half-way through), I found the courage and attitude necessary to move on with  my own project.

So I thank you, Nicole. And I thank Hollis and Steve, too. (Yeah, we're not really on a first-name basis, but hey, this is MY blog.) I still can't promise you'll be seeing me post regularly, but at least I'm writing...and that's a beautiful feeling.


  1. I'm glad you're back in the groove again!

    I'm buwy writing my nanomuddle and although it's a mess there are parts that are fun. Once November is over I may try to get back to the real work: trying to produce a short or flash story that has any hope at all of publication!

  2. Hi Wendy! I'm so excited to hear your next project is a memoir, first of all, and second that On Writing has turned out to be as useful to you as it has been for me. I know that's a book I'll read over and over. Did I tell you what my copy looks like? There are paper clips on at least twenty different pages, highlighted passages on almost every page, and notes scrawled in many margins.

    Amazing muses -- love that!

    I've been cutting out a lot of my blogging time to concentrate on finishing my MS. It's the hardest writing project I've ever attempted, and I keep changing things and re-starting chapters and replacing characters. Ugh. I just have to believe in this process, and pray my personal process evolves each time I write a new book. 'Cause I really hope the next time around is less painful :P

    Thinking of you! Best of luck with the memoir!!!

  3. I love "On Writing" and cannot believe how often I find myself quoting it -- not verbatim -- in my writers group.

    You know, often I find that my personal "muse" happens to be someone else's work. For me, reading almost anything by Colson Whitehead is rather inspiring.

    (Well, not Apex Hides the Hurt. He has two that are firmly entrenched in my all-time top ten list, but that one just didn't feel like he was bringing his A-game. Maybe I placed the bar too high after reading The Intuitionist. I don't know.)

    Anyhow, I'm glad your muse is speaking to you again!! :)

  4. Yay! Glad Nicole told you about that book because it's one of my favs. And I'm so glad you've been sparkled with inspiration pixie dust. Keep at it! :)

  5. Thanks, you guys, for not forgetting about me and for cheering me on!

  6. It was a sign! I try to pay attention to those little coincidences - they usually mean something.

    You keep writing, we'll wait...

  7. Hi Wendy - good luck in getting back to your writing. It is a wonderful thing.

  8. Aw, honey. I'm glad you've found your mojo...and it was simply resting comfortably in a beach chair and sipping a margarita. There was never anything to worry about.

    Happy writing! It's a wonderful feeling, right?

  9. I know it's hard but don't beat yourself up when you find you haven't been sitting down to write much. Sometimes the well runs dry and you need to let it fill up again. Sometimes there's no reason at all why you take time off. Just happens.

    Plus it should cheer you to know that when you return to blogging, people will return like swallows or butterlies. Or whatever that metaphor is. Personally I'd freak out if thousands upon thousands of winged bugs alighted onto my house all at once. But, you know, everyone is different.