Monday, July 7, 2008

If muses exist they are best friends with writers block...

Ah, the writer's desert that is the school holidays. Even though I have time at the computer writing coherently seems near to impossible. I have written some e-mails, some blog comments and of course am now writing this posting but as far as fiction goes, well i'm hopeful that I might get some words down later in the week. Maybe my muse is looking after his/her own kids these two weeks. Although today Justine Larbalestier thumbs her nose at the idea of muses and declares there is no such thing along with her writer friend Maureen Johnson. Writers invoke 'the muse' when they are unable to explain how they get their ideas. Makes me laugh though that muses are out but magic is in. I must admit that I am a bit amazed at what I come up with sometimes when i am writing. After forty something years you'd think I'd have a bit of a handle on how my thinking works. You'd think as its my brain i'd at least be able to exert some kind of control but when i'm writing there really does seem to be some kind of magic involved. If Einstein's thinking suggests we are only using a small proportion of our brains, who knows what they are really capable of. While I REALLY like the idea of the involvement of magic (not so much the muse because thats relying too much on one individuals involvement) I suspect that the sum of all my experiences, reading, watching and thinking is just combining in ways you wouldn't suspect looking at the individual parts. Maybe being a writer is just being someone more able to surrender to those random couplings of individual stuff swirling around in our brains. Fun!

Along with questioning the existence of muses I'm a long time non-believer in the idea of writer's block. Writer's block feeds on its own myth. Give it the time of day and it will wreck havoc on you in reply. If you breathe life into it it will take over like some noxious weed growing out of control. It is what you make of it. There are times when I don't write, or when my writing feels stale and cliched or just deadly dull. But if i chose to name that, it would become something. Instead these are the times when I need a rest, a break, some soul food, some reviving and rejuvenating. Its a time of movies, dog walks, coffees at the cafe with friends, watching the sun come up over Mt Eden, and watching Sponge Bob on tv. Sponge Bob has magic rejuvenating powers and an imagination to die for. Long live Sponge Bob, writer's block is dead.

I am also currently contemplating the benefits of the media. Will appearing in the paper, on radio or tv have an impact on my book sales. There is a cost to me in trying to do this so the question is a valuable one. But can someone who has succeeded in getting media attention demonstrate increased sales due to this attention alone. Its a bit chicken and egg. Do you get media attention because your books are no-brainer best sellers or do your books become no-brainer best sellers because you've had that exposure. Sometimes I curse that I did statistics at university. I think this whole publicity thing is one i'd like to try someday. Maybe its a good time to do it now.

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