This post, by T.L. Tyson, originally appeared on her blog on 11/1/11.
Like I’ve said a handful times before, I used to be the Queen of beginnings. For the longest time, I wrote stories I never finished. Beginning after beginning, start after start and nothing to show for it, except a truck load of half stories that I never wrapped up. I feel this is the curse of an overactive imagination.
A lot of writers talk about their ‘muse’. This is basically what we call our imagination. Some people even name them, things like Bob and Flutterbutt DeBarnacle, and give them characteristics. The idea of a muse is a bit crazy if you break it down. A lot of non-writers don’t understand why we have them. Well, a muse to a writer is much like an invisible friend is to a child. They keep us company when we’re all alone, or in really boring, never-ending business meetings. In a lot of ways they keep us sane, while giving the world the impression we’re completely off our rocker.
Writers, like fingerprints, are all uniquely different.
Some need complete silence while others need music. There are some people who can create under any circumstances. They have the luxury of being able to shut the world around them out. Others need to lock themselves away, burrowing themselves in a dank, dark cave as far away from humanity as possible. Some even write with their laptops precariously perched on the arm of their couch with the television playing the latest episode of something they can pay little attention to, a cat laying across one arm and a dog’s head in their lap. The later might be close to what I experience on a day to day basis.
But that’s all physical environment and, in reality, there is another environment writers are tested with every day. The mental environment. Humans are moody bastards. We allow the people around us to dictate our moods, as well as the weather and trivial things like how many dishes are in the sink. There are some writers out there who can write no matter what mood they are in. I hate them with my whole heart. Just kidding. Well, sort of. I just went through a very tedious couple of months where I was unable to write a word. Even the outgoing dirty emails I like to send screeched to a halt. (That’s another joke.) For me, I need a mental environment like a soothing rainy day, calm, slightly gray and a total sense of not caring.