First, a huge thank you to Kayelle and Romance Lives Forever for inviting me to do a mini Muse Therapy Session!
I take it many of you may need a writer’s go-to-gal for your muse “disorders”. Bravo! Me too...and I’m the “therapist”! LOL!
Being Queen or King of your creative domain often requires “therapy” – Muse Therapy that is!
Together, we discover what makes your muses tick. What ticks ‘em off. And what makes them dance like nobody’s watching.
1. Your muses aren’t ticking. They’re ticked off.
2. Your muses are in a funk saying “up yours” instead of upping your page counts.
3. Even great sex or a new pair of shoes can’t rein in your creative divas.
4. The following sessions sound appealing:
** Unleashing Your Inner Sybil
** What Do You Mean I’m Neurotic? No, I’m Not. Well, Not Exactly. But Okay...There Are Times When. Like You Need To Know That. Anyway, I Was Thinking, My Jeep Is Red
** Rorschach For Writers: I See Dead Lines
** Stimulants: When Coffee, Chocolate, and Martinis Aren’t Enough
5. Your word witches are on their way to publishing Oz but the Yellow Brick Road they’re bootscootin’ on...well...the damn thing never ends!
6. Everyone says your writing is a waste of time, a “hobby” that will never “pay-off”.
7. You feel the urge, however, to tell everyone in reason six to (I’m thinking of a phrase that starts with a 4-letter-word and ends with a ‘you’, ‘off’ or ‘me’).
But let’s face reality a bit. Trust me, I’m not in denial. Writing-for-publication is frequently painful. Sometimes as we write the books from our hearts we feel like shouting “This Book Is Fabulous” “I Am A Brilliant Writer”! Other days, it’s more like this quote from improvisational comic Robin Fairbanks:
“Some birds mate for life. There’s no divorce in the aviary world, apparently. I think that’s why they fly into windows, it’s the only way out.”
Using Fairbanks’ analogy, we’re the birds mating for life with our writing careers. Flying into a window instead of battling brutal publishing industry winds isn’t far off base at all...is it?
If you’re like me, it doesn’t even take an entire day to drop from the highs to the lows. I fly between extremes within a couple hours. Okay. Who am I kidding? Let’s get real. I can go from top to bottom in mere minutes.
Lucky for me, though, I’m not the only bird in the crazy tree. And neither are you. Apparently, there are flocks of crazies trying to nest in our writing life trees.
Bibliographic statistic powerhouse Bowker estimates two million manuscripts are turned in per year. But...and boy is this a big ‘ole But...only 2.4% of submitted manuscripts were published.
No wonder writers are crazy!
We “get” that!
Our craziness as writers, in my psychology-major view, is easily boiled down to this conclusion...
The publishing industry makes writers Bi-Polar
What other industry can be mocked by some cute door hanger reading “Writer At Work: Slide a synopsis of your problem under the door and I’ll get back to you in 8 to 10 months...”
So what are we supposed to do for every freakin’ submission’s eight to ten months?!
I suppose and propose that dealing with our bi-polarity is certainly a valiant start.
But what does it mean to be Bi-Polar? The Employer’s Guide to Hidden Disabilities - yeah, that’s right...now leading psychologists are warning employers about writers - defines Bi-Polar Disorder as:
“...what was commonly known as manic-depression, involves cyclical periods of severe depression with periods of extremely elevated or irritable mood known as mania. It affects approximately 2.3 million adult Americans – about 1.2 percent of the population. Cycles, or episodes...typically recur and may become more frequent, often disrupting work, family and social life. When in the depressed cycle...symptoms of a depressive disorder [occur]. When in the manic cycle, the individual may be overactive, overtalkative, and have a great deal of energy...social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment...A variety of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder...”
Recognize the numbers two million and roughly 2%? Yep, publishing numbers. Go figure! A writer’s success rate mirrors the percentage of the population diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Writers don’t need pills, people! We need publishers!
Face it...as writers, some days we shout “I Suck!” while other days we’re strutting our stuff declaring “I’m a Genius!”
RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and bestselling author Jennifer Greene aka Alison Hart “gets” our sanity struggle. “Since we’re talking about mental craziness in general,” she says, “I have to say that multiple personalities aren’t just for criminals any more. This is so ideal for writers...”
Let’s look at another example of “nutsy” writer behaviors. See if this anecdote has you and your muses thinking ‘yep...that’s me’.
Meet Staci, a single mom who’s a mad scientist by day-job and an unpublished, struggling writer of elf stories whenever she can fit it into her schedule – which, thanks to my Muse Therapy Online Classes, is now every morning at 4:30 A.M.
Staci went from thinking Bi-Polarity concerned “sexually confused polar bears” to taking serious stock of her ‘I Suck’ writing-for-publication moments. She put it this way:
“I’m a genius. Because I’ve determined that when I suck at writing, I do it with style and panache. I do not allow myself to wallow in misery, self pity, my insecurities, or bi-polar-ed-ness any longer than is necessary for my brain to register that something inside me isn’t happy. I know, I sound like a hard ass, but the truth is I can’t [wallow in misery]. Because if I do, then I become a victim and I made a promise to myself that I would not be a victim of my own and/or others’ insecurities. If I do it right, then it’s my kudos. I do it wrong, then it’s a learning opportunity for me to do it right the next time. I just suck it up and move on.
And if that doesn’t do it, then I just sit back and think on how different the world would be if some of the world’s most notable people just sat back and said (after running into a stumbling block)...I give up.”
Like Staci figured out, to deal with the doubts in our crazy writing-for-publication journeys, at the very first moment you have them, you must acknowledge you have them. I know that sounds too simple, but it’s the absolute truth. Only after you’ve stepped up and recognized your doubts and how they make you feel, can you then find fun and fabulous methods to send them packing.
We learn how to do just that in Muse Therapy! Whether it’s identifying and naming your muses, collaging your ideas, or using LOL signs and great author quotes and books, it’s all about what makes your muses keep dancing and cranking out pages even when the doubt demons aren’t cheering you on!
You must stare down the doubt monsters. When you do, you’re onto something major. You know the demons are there, but you’re ready to learn how to beat ‘em!
So what are some fun and fabulous tips to keep your “nuttiest parts” in the corner? What do we do on those terrific days when our muses are dancing like more than Stella has her groove back and then the polar opposite days when the damn mailman rears his arrogant ass with one of the following pearls of rejection? What can we do about our career path’s inherent bi-polarity?
Here are a few tricks that keep my Carrie Squad forging ahead toward Bestsellerdom:
1. Use bitchy signs and sayings. Here’s a peek at a few of my favorite mood-inspiring quips:
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘...holy shit...what a ride!’” – Mavis Leyrer of Seattle, age 83
“Do Not Disturb: Mind at Work (Disturbed Mind?)”
“Back off! I’m on a roll!”
Keep a Word Document or a Shoebox filled with quotes that inspire you. Here are a few useful tidbits from my “Quotes To Live & Love By” document:
“When the world says, ‘Give up’, Hope whispers,’Try it one more time.’” --- Author Unknown
“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” --- Mark Twain
“Even though you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” --- Will Rogers
How about collecting fun and fabulous comics that make you LOL and keep you goin’ for the gusto?
Writing is our job, BITCHOKs! We’ve got to keep our butts in our chairs and our hands on our keyboards!
We get past the doubt – the ‘I Suck’ (Shitty Mailman Syndrome) – by writing through it and producing the ‘I’m a Genius’ moments!
But what if the feisty glam girls of your bestseller are still pouting? What if they’re demanding you dig deeper to uncover their inner conflicts, make them work-it harder for your characters?
Don’t worry. You’re among many creative gods and goddesses battling the same devils...regardless whether or not we’re wearing Prada.
Throughout my Muse Therapy sessions, we explore each of these disorders. We divulge each disorder’s preferred behavioral manifestations then discover fabulous tricks to banish them from our writing kingdoms.
I hope to see you “in therapy” either during my online class sessions or during my live workshops. Check my website http://www.DDScott.com for dates and locations.
‘Til then...keep your muses happy. Pamper them silly. They’ll be glad you did and so will you.
And in the mean time, what are some ways you can deal with publishing’s bi-polarity that won’t get you booked into your county jail?
How do you get through your I Suck and I’m a Genius moments?
There’s plenty of room for your troubles and ideas in our writing-for-publication nuthouse so chime in...!
Sexy, Sassy, Smart Muse Therapy Wishes --- D. D. Scott