Freeing the Muse

Up the hill

The road ahead, past the caprock . . .

The past week hasn’t been conducive to good writing. Back to school is always a stressful time, so I haven’t so much as opened a Word file with the intention of writing anything. Why bother? There’s no way that anything coherent is going to come out, anyway.

Fall seems like an empty promise when it’s 100+ degrees outside, as it’s been for the past week, so I decided to look at pictures from cooler days to re-invigorate my imagination. The picture above is one we took at Meridian State Park during a beautiful wet weekend last fall. The road curves around the side of the hill, disappearing from sight. It’s always better to take those curved roads, in my opinion. A straight line is boring. At least a winding road allows your imagination room to roam.

That’s been the most important thing that happened with my writing this week. I broke off all contact with my gaming life and it freed my imagination. I wasn’t obsessing over my game characters anymore, not dwelling on their problems and worrying about the server and all that crud. Instead, I allowed my imagination to just do whatever it wanted to do. My muse was free to do muse-y things like asking “What if?” and saying “Why not?”

That’s an important part of the creative process. You have to have downtime where the only work that’s being done is being done by your subconscious mind.

I didn’t realize how constrained my imagination had become until I wrenched it free of the old familiar gaming world. You can try to free D&D from its roots, but you’re still going to have the stereotypical elves and dwarves and orcs coming out, no matter what. I don’t want to write fantasy that’s infected with those tropes.

I want my world to have its own superstitions, its own myths, its own legends and lies. I absolutely don’t need watered-down Drow, thanks, or any other descendant of Gorean philosophy.  It’s difficult to write any fantastic fiction without referencing Lord of the Rings in some way, but I can at least avoid the stumpy and belligerent dwarves and the elegant and superior elves. And any mention of a person being “half” anything. It’s human or nothing, baby.

The muse needs to be fed as well as freed, so I plan on surfing a thousand unrelated websites and studying any kind of nonsense that comes to mind.

Fun stuff, indeed.



About endurancemom

Writer of fantasy and historical fantasy fiction, mother of 6, former nurse, Catholic convert, wife of 25 years, and general all-around geek. Warning: Do not attempt this at home. View all posts by endurancemom

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