I recently had the pleasure of meeting my writing muses—my sources of (or against) inspiration. They’re distinct voices in my head which I didn’t know existed until they revealed themselves to me one at a time.
Don’t worry, I don’t need to call my therapist.
The first muse to announce her presence was my Voice of Doubt, VOD, who I nicknamed Voddy. She doesn’t question my ability to write. Voddy knows that I’m a good writer and that one day I’ll become a great writer, and someday superb. What she castigates are my other goals.
Here’s a typical Voddy tirade (she can be a nasty bitch, BTW):
Karen, you’re Twitter lame, a Facebook slacker, and a Pinterest drop-out; you’ll never get more followers. Everything you read says writers don’t make any money and you know that memoirs don’t sell. You’re wasting your time, sucker.
Fortunately, I can shut Voddy down pretty easily when the universe throws me a writer’s bone like a compliment from an editor. Then, I wink at Voddy and say, “Take that, Bitch.”
The next week, my second muse revealed herself. She’s my Voice of Reason, nicknamed VORonica, and she keeps tabs on my writing priorities, which are 1) writing one blog per week, and 2) finishing my memoir manuscript.
Occasionally I’ll write something extra and VORonica will gently admonish me:
Karen, you haven’t touched your manuscript all week. And is your blog done yet? Don’t spend too much time on extra writing. Remember your priorities.
At almost the same time VORonica appeared, another voice arrived with a bang. This voice speaks solely for Medium, a digital writers platform where I post my blogs. Many Medium writers advocate daily posting in order to gain followers. The results, in my humble opinion, is way too much train-of-thought rambling.
My Voice of Medium, VOM, announced her presence with a rant:
POST ON MEDIUM EVERY DAY, KAREN. THAT’S HOW ALL THE REALLY SUCCESSFUL WRITERS DO IT. EVERY DAY. DO IT. DO IT. DO IT.
And as soon as I acknowledged her, she started whining:
I WANT A NICKNAME, TOO, AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS, KAREN. SAY IT. TELL THEM. I WON’T STOP SCREAMING UNTIL YOU DO.
Instantly I knew the nickname she choose. Sitting at my writing table, I actually snickered. My fingers jumped off my keyboard as my hands flew up to cover my mouth. I gasped, “Can she be serious?”
VORonica knew, too. She stepped in: Think carefully, Karen. Do you really want to go there? Will you offend anyone? Be careful.
And from Voddy: It doesn’t matter what you do, sucker. No one reads your stuff anyway.
And VOM, unrelenting: DO IT, KAREN. DO IT. GIVE ME MY NICKNAME. I INSIST.
Well, my stalwart readers, I don’t write fiction but I know that characters will create themselves and forge their own paths. VOM nick-named herself. I wasn’t driving the bus, she was. From now on, she is to be called:
The day she was named, VOMIT’s rant sucked me into writing a time-sucking daily post for Medium.
VORonica reasoned with me:
Stop, Karen. Be true to your priorities. Make your own path. Value quality writing over quantity writing. It’s the writer you strive to be. It’s who you are.
She was right. Immediately, I stopped writing and felt palpable relief. (VORonica is brilliant, don’t you think?)
Now, loyal readers, just when you and I both think we’re done, there’s one last voice, perhaps the most important muse of all, who appeared the following week.
She woke me up early on a Friday, saying, “Get up! There’s writing to be done!” Although I hadn’t yet been formally introduced, I recognized her immediately.
“OK, OK,” I said, and I hopped up, hurried down to get my coffee and start typing before my husband came down for breakfast and tried to talk to me.
This voice, so chipper early in the morning, is Voila!, my Voice of Inspiration. She’s more up than a pot of coffee and brighter than a full moon on a clear night. She has inspired me to crank out page after page on my memoir recently and finally, after 15 years, I finished my full first draft.
And she wants that memoir done, in the hands of an agent, in contract with a publisher, on the NY Times best seller list, and in your hands. (Hey - she’s INSPIRATION, remember?) She’s in cahoots with VORonica on a plan.
I’m anxious to tell you about it but they won’t let me. I’ve spent enough time already on this blog, and they both want me back on the memoir today. They say it was a pleasure to meet you, by the way.
And if you tune in next week, I’ll let you in on their secret. See you then?