We’re Calling it Courage {The Writing Life Today}

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(This week I conquered writer’s blog, due in a large part, I know, because of this woman, who gave a killer talk at Allume 2012 on Combating Writer’s Block. Thanks, Kristina!)

I’ve come to the library to write.

I needed a place I could be by myself. The muse does not like the ever-present threat of interruption in a home with 3 young children and a loving husband. Only when they are all sleeping do the words flow smoothly, but that is when I should be sleeping, too.

I hear of women going to coffee shops to write. I never got that. I don’t drink coffee, and I vainly thought I could do this at home. I have all kinds of grand plans for courting the muse from my couch, of training the muse to not mind the constant chatter of children, the chance that they will interrupt. And I still plan to entice the muse to join me in the daylight hours, though my kids come first in those hours. I don’t know how this will work, because the muse seems to like my undivided attention.

But today I missed him–my muse–terribly. I felt that if I did not write soon, I would go insane. And I needed to work on my book, so I escaped to the library.

I am not calling this a failure on my part–failure to make my home a hospitable place for the muse. Oh, no. We are not going to go anywhere near starting what is supposed to be a productive writing session by claiming failure brought us here. We are calling this creativity. Courage. Ingenuity. We are calling this doing whatever it takes to release the pent up words that build in me hour by hour like pressure in a steam canner, but somehow will not release themselves without some cajoling.

The words started coming even on the short drive to our local library. I tried not to speed, to trust they would wait the 3 more minutes it would take to creep along main street under the speed limit, park, run across the snowy parking lot, find a desk, and open the laptop.

The library feels like a wonderful place to write. Our library is full of windows, it’s always as bright as the outdoors in here. And there is stained glass. Somehow I don’t seem to notice that when I’m here with three small children and a heavy bag of books on my arm. And there are words–words surrounding me, books upon books, voices of other successful authors, my personal cloud of witnesses, all say the same thing–”It can be done, and you will do it, if you will embrace the writing life”.

Today, the writing life meant escaping to the Library.

I was only able to escape for just 40 min, but it made all the difference in my day and my soul. I was made to write, and I’d let the holidays crowd out time for writing until I began to doubt I would even be able to get the words out. I felt so much better after having creatively made room for the words to come again. I feel fully alive now.

How do you court the muse?

19 responses to “We’re Calling it Courage {The Writing Life Today}”

  1. Julie Anne Avatar
    Julie Anne

    Oh, the library, I forgot about the library. I need to make an appointment to spend some time at my library! I love the coffee shop, but I get too distracted watching people. 🙂

  2. Sandra at Thistle Co Avatar

    Everyone has to find their own special place where the words pour forth like sweet, limestone water. For me, that’s home but I don’t have children, only animals who constantly interrupt -smile-. As to going to the county library to write…ugh. Perhaps they do their best, but it’s a dismal place…very little natural light, roof leaks so there are buckets everywhere when it rains and people aren’t quiet. I’d rather put up with my animals…at least I love them -smile-.
    As to sleep, my body so needs sleep that I cannot miss it without paying a dear price. So I don’t.
    Glad you were able to write; that’s another blessing in your day.

  3. Jennifer Kindle Avatar

    Thanks for this post, Trina…..you capture my creativity and make me think outside the box. I should sleep when my family sleeps as well but it’s those quiet hours that clarity comes so I need to make more of an effort and stop suppressing!!! My wheels are turning.

  4. Lisa Avatar

    I know what you mean feeling like you’re going to burst if you don’t write! And oh what a feeling of relief after. 🙂 Right now my writing happens in the early morning, before any children are up, or during afternoon quiet time. (Yes – even my 11 year old has to have quiet time!) Depending on our day, quiet time can last from 30-60 min.

  5. Naomi B. Avatar
    Naomi B.

    And welcome back, I’m very glad you got to write!

    When I think of something I quickly write it down, or the main ideas of it, in a notebook I have for that purpose, or in my phone.

  6. Naomi B. Avatar
    Naomi B.

    When you are a Christian, I think the Holy Spirit uses your muse ? You must keep your spirit and heart and muse open to the Holy Spirit’s teachings..I think when you pray and spend time with God and life with Him and for Him and through Him, your muse will flow out of Him..or something like that.
    All you need to do is watch out that your muse does not flow out of yourself at times, pushing God away for a little while.
    I have no idea if this makes sense but I was thinking something like this… 😉

    1. Trina Avatar

      Naomi, I think you are right! Whoever or whatever the ‘muse’ is (some part of our subconscious mind, right?) it, too is under the Holy Spirit’s control. That makes so much sense. Thank you for your words.

    2. Jennifer Kindle Avatar

      great words, Naomi…I’ve written from self before instead of under God’s guidance and….never good…well, maybe sometimes good but never great or inspired!

  7. Dawn @ The Momma Knows Avatar

    First , I have always wanted to go to a coffee shop or bakery or library to write but I’ve never done it. And second, I discovered that voice to text works with the WordPress app on my phone! When the muse is kicking me, I can open WP, hit the little mic key, and talk to my phone. It doesn’t capitalize or add punctuation , but I can save it as draft to edit later. And did I feel SO smart when I figured that out two weeks ago?! You betcha!! 😀

  8. Shannon Coe Avatar

    I love where you mention the drive and trying not to speed. I feel that burning need too. What a great post for me. I am not courting, I am suppressing my
    muse this week. How horrible of me! Thanks for this post. I am going to entice mine. She is a girl. Do you have a name for your muse?

    1. Trina Avatar

      oh, oh, oh! no suppressing the muse allowed! (says one who does so every night as she tries to sleep! lol)

      My muse has an identity crisis because I tend to confuse or mix him with the idea that the Holy Spirit is a Christian writer’s true muse. Yet, if one is not a believer, yet one still has a muse, where does he/she come from? Yeah, I get my muse and the Holy Spirit confused. Can anyone help me out on this?

      I really don’t know if mine is a girl or a guy. For some reason, I feel it is a guy. This post may have been the first time I assigned him a gender.

    2. Jennifer Kindle Avatar

      I’ve been suppressing too!!!

  9. Rachel Avatar

    Hmmm…. quiet time, like naps, work best for me. But oftentimes I do find that I need to sleep when my family sleeps! Escaping to coffee shops is also nice, but rarely happens. Glad you enjoyed a beautiful few minutes at the library!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Oh, naps, glorious naps…but only one of mine naps anymore…nevertheless, we shall conquer this challenge!!! I think me and the library are going to become best friends this winter….

  10. stacey Avatar

    When I read Madeleine L’engle talk of learning to write in the midst of chaos I wished for that discipline, but then we are all gifted differently. I too know what feeds the words, and I try so hard to capture them when they decide to show up.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Oh, Stacy…I love Madeliene L’engle, but I’m not familiar enough with her nonfiction to know which book you’re referring to–can you share where you read that? I really do want to cultivate that discipline…

      1. stacey Avatar

        I believe it was Circle of Quiet. I just read that recently, and knowing the subject matter I do believe that is where she wrote that. She may have written it else where as well, for some of her nonfiction memior style books overlap. I have also read Two-Part Invention but I am pretty sure she talks more about the writing process int Circle.

  11. Natasha Metzler Avatar

    I talk to myself. Honest to goodness. I pick some mundane task (for several years now it has been during milking…) and just talk to myself as I work. Eventually, I stop, run to grab a pen and paper, and start writing.
    Of course, that’s when my husband comes by, shakes his head. and starts changing the milkers that I forgot about. lol!

    1. Trina Avatar

      This is a great idea…I know I often come upon a truth or idea while engaged in conversation with a friend…wonder if it would work talking to myself???
      Are you an audio learner, I wonder?
      I would like to be a fly on the wall of your barn sometime. LOL

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