The Four Hundred and Fifty-first Post: The One Where I File an E.P.O. against Calliope…

When someone says ‘muse’, I’m sure the image of gauzy dressed women standing in a perpetual gentle summer breeze whispering little phrases into the writer’s ear (maybe with a light nuzzle or a peck on the cheek) comes to mind. After all, muse is a special thing – a spirit of inspiration for the artistic sort.

This is my muse, and it is not all neck kisses and summer breezes.


As much as I was looking forward to pitting myself against the Camp Nanowrimo challenge, I am only a person. I did stumble a little and took a night and a morning off – I was tired from waking up at 4 A.M. and working until 10 P.M. Was I refreshed? Did I feel better? Am I attacking the assignment with a sense of renewed vigor?

Your word count’s a little low for today…

I felt tired, still. I feel a little tired still the next day. As much as I tried to relax for this little time, I couldn’t. The word count and the guilt hung over me like the keyboard of Damocles. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing, but it’s not the romantic, patient love of a parent for a child, or a spouse for one another. It’s the obsessive love of a fan for a star. It’s the love that burns like a dirty grease fire – water doesn’t put it out, it makes it worse.

Can I stop writing? No. My muse won’t let me. Like a Catholic nun, it wields guilt. The God of writing is the God of the Old Testament. It will not suffer false idols. Fire and brimstone await you if your word count is under 2,000 today. Writing is a grim, cheerless religion.

This is also by no means a healthy view of it. Is this what I have to do to become successful? I can’t not write. I’m always thinking about it. I’m always writing stories in my head. I’m always reading to steal notions. Ideas don’t stop in my head. Writing is as much a part of my being as my hands, or eyes or feet. Does anyone else feel like this? Maybe not about writing, but about anything?

Maybe I’m writing this as a roundabout way to ask for help, but I don’t know what kind of help I need? More coffee? Stronger drugs? Realistic expectations?

What am I going to get out of Camp Nano? Physically? Nothing.  A little blast of serotonin for completing a task, but there is no money (unless this gets published). Bragging rights, but to who? Readers of this blog and my writer friends – other people with their own muses and forces driving them. Will they think less of me if I fall? No. Will I think less of myself?

We all know the answer to that.

In the end, I know I have to step back and take an honest stock of this small event. I know I tend to obsess about things like this, so I just need to re-evaluate my priorities and take a good stiff drink.

I’m typing! I’m typing!

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