Monday, January 18, 2010

Can’t WAIT For the Muse

I'd like to welcome back Tawny Weber to Over Coffee. I always learn a lot from Tawny. She's a gifted writer with a great imagination, but she's also well grounded in the realities of writing. Her topic today, is one that my writing group and I were discussing just recently.

  • How do you write when your Muse takes a hike?

Tawny, of course, has deadlines to meet. That doesn't mean it's an easy skate just because you're an experienced writer/author, but does mean you have to meet your deadlines.

I'll let Tawny tell you how she manages it.

I’m a big believer in the power of writing on the Muse’s wave of inspiration. Those intense “WOW” moments, when the entire story just seems to coalesce into a solid, well-conflicted, strongly motivated plot are amazing! Or when the characters suddenly come together –their actions well-motivated, their inner and outer conflicts clear and empathetic. Or better yet, those moments when the Muse seems to be right there behind you, pushing and motivating and inspiring hours-long writing sessions that require absolutely no stress or forehead-to-desk moments.

  • Seriously, I love those times.

And then there are the other 8500 hours a year. You know the ones. The staring at the screen wondering how many seconds have passed since you wrote that last word. Doodling little flowers on the yellow pad instead of making character notes. Making scary faces out of the sticky-notes on your plotting board instead of scene notes. (oh yeah, I’ve done that) And then there are the stressed-out, written the characters into a corner, wondering if adding murder to a rom-com would fix the mess moments.

Those moments bite. And, IMO, those are the moments that make us writers. Not happy writers, but writers all the same. Because they test us, they prove to us that yes we CAN write. I love those times even more than the good Muse times.


Okay, so maybe it’s a form of self-hypnosis to tell myself these are the moments that make me a writer, but hey, I have so many more of them than the Muse-driven moments, I’ve finally decided to make the best of them.

And you know what, it works. I wrote YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS during a very non-Muse driven time period and honestly, in reflection, think its one of my best stories to date. I wrote it through stress, on a super tight deadline (6 weeks) and while dealing with a bunch of personal problems. And I told myself the entire time that it was going to rock – because I loved the concept. I adore fairy tales and was so excited to have a chance to put my own Blaze-twist on The Frog Prince, which was a story I’ve always loved. I told myself that writing half my familiar word count (30k instead of 60k) was going to make it easier (hahahahaha). And when I finished that story –and finished revising it – I realized that one of the greatest tools in those non-Muse driven times is the ability to lie to myself. Because it worked. Telling myself all those great things worked.

So here’s to those little lies we tell ourselves...

  • Do you ever resort to twisting reality in order to get yourself to do things? Write, exercise, face the unfamiliar? Has it worked? Share with me and I’ll be happy to offer up a copy of any book in my backlist to one kind commenter today :-)


Tawny Weber is usually found dreaming up stories in her California home, surrounded by dogs, cats and kids. When she’s not writing hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze, she’s shopping for the perfect pair of boots or drooling over Johnny Depp pictures (when her husband isn’t looking, of course).

Come by and visit her on the web at


“What?” Jordan asked, trying not to sound as defensive as she felt. As soon as Sebastian thought he had the upper hand, he’d go right back to nagging her to leave.

“There’s only room for one Golden Boy, and you’ve got that position nailed.”

“What a stupid title,” he muttered.

Jordan’s smile widened. Walking through the room, she made sure he had plenty of towels and blankets. Then she headed for the door.

“What’s the matter,” she teased. “You didn’t know that was your primary designation at Machismo? Closely followed by Stud King, of course.”

She expected him to laugh. Instead he looked as if she’d punched him in the belly and called him a pansy.

“What?” she asked, her hand on the doorknob. No wonder she always ended up with losers. She obviously didn’t know how to talk with men. “I’m not poking fun at your masculinity or anything.”

He got this weird look on his face. Almost like panic. Then it was replaced by a set, determined expression that sent a trickle of worry down her spine. Kind of like the kind she got when someone told her she couldn’t do something. A look that warned, ‘Oh, yeah? Watch me.’

Brow furrowed, he strode slowly toward her. Jordan didn’t know why, but she suddenly wanted to run. Stupid. She wasn’t afraid of Sebastian Lane. Except...maybe she was a little afraid of that look on his face. And the way her body reacted to it.

Her thighs quivered. Warmth trickled from her suddenly beaded and aching nipples to deep in her belly. She forced herself to keep breathing normally as he stopped just a few inches from her.

Jordan swallowed, looking up to meet Sebastian’s gaze. A wicked glint sparked in his eyes, but beneath it she saw something else. Something edgy. Dangerous. Sexy as hell.

“Is that why you won’t leave, Princess?” he murmured, planting one hand on the wall next to her head and leaning closer, so the warmth of his body wrapped around her like a silken blanket. “You’re wanting to find out for yourself just how studly I am?”

“Yeah, right,” she dismissed, shooting for sardonic. Instead, she sounded breathless and needy. It was hard to care, though, with Sebastian’s mouth just inches from hers. She stared, noting the laugh lines fanning from those hypnotic eyes and the dark whiskers starting to shadow the sharp edge of his jaw.

“Do you listen to the gossip often? All those whispered reports about how I like it in bed? Whether I’m a traditional, missionary style kind of guy? Or if I play on the kinky side?”

“Who whispers,” she said, her eyes locked on his lips. Smooth, full and enticing, they were right there, tempting her to do something stupid.

“The talk about you is done in giggles and shouts. And traditional is the last word associated with your preferences.”

“And you’re wondering?”

“Only about your stamina.”

His grin was fast, appreciative and the final straw for Jordan. She couldn’t stop herself. She ran her tongue over her bottom lip. Just the tip of it.

That’s all it took. Sebastian’s eyes went from amused to molten. Then he lowered his head. Excitement did a happy sprint through Jordan’s tummy, her heart keeping pace. Desire, hot, wild and intense flamed through her.


Like a whisper, his lips brushed hers. Just barely a taste, a hint of the decadent deliciousness yet to come. Her breath lodged tight in her chest. Her heart pounded so hard she was sure he could feel it against his mouth.

Then he pulled back. Eyes closed, he shook his head and turned away. Jordan almost screamed in protest. She wanted her kiss, dammit. It was all she could do not to grab him back as he strode toward the bed.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Tawny, I'm so glad you're here with us today.

Help yourself to the coffee and goodies on the breakfast bar.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a topic close to my heart. I've been having problems, not only getting motivated, but being excited about my writing after losing my brother in November. Caring about it--tho I've always loved writing and creating--yet not caring. Very strange in some ways.

After reading your article, maybe I need to go back and LOOK at those three projects again with different eyes. As another friend mentioned, just because you feel what your writing is pure junk at the time, doesn't mean it IS junk.

Tawny said...

Sia, thank you for the lovely welcome - and for the goodies!!! Ooooh, muffins. Yum.

I can totally relate to what you're saying. Writing comes from our hearts, and when we're stressed or hurting, it can be really hard to find the heart to write. Even if we try to pull on those experiences, on the emotion or energy we're going through, the actual work of putting it on the page is a huge challenge.

But I think your friend is wise and worth listening to. I know I often feel like whatever I've written is pure crap *g* but I send it to my amazing CP, Beth Andrews, anyway. And she tells me if it's crap, or more often than not, she tells me which parts aren't crap and helps me see through the stress to the story I'm trying to write.

Does that makes sense?

~Sia McKye~ said...

Absolutely. It helps when you have another set of eyes to look things over. I think we're our own harshest critic.

Thanks for sharing that though.

Mason Canyon said...

Tawny, loved the post. Sounds like you do okay with your muse by your side.

Sia, thanks for introducing me to another great author and some wonderful new books to check out.

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the great excerpt. I have never twisted reality to get things done. I'll have to try it and see if my ever growing to do list will get smaller.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog article, Sia!

If I had more time I'd spend it writing and posting - however, work and my capstone paper keeps me occupied!

Rita C McIntosh

Olivia Cunning said...

I'm going to have to try lying to myself, because waiting for the muse to arrive in battle dress with plot-points blazing isn't working for some reason, and that next deadline gets a little closer every day.

Kat Sheridan said...

Hi, Tawny, and the excerpt is very hot! Sounds like a fun book!

I'm often Muse-less, and have been lazy about writing. That's a New Year's resolution of mine, to write--or at least doing something writerly--every day, with or without the muse. Mine's a jealous, tempermental little thing, and I found that if I write without her, eventually she shows up, points out all the places I went astray without her, throws her hands in the air, and jumps in to fix things. But at least there are words on the page TO fix!

Sia, sending hugs, and admonishing you to be kind and patient with yourself! And grabbing a lemon poppyseed muffin as I dash off to do something writerly!

Helen Ginger said...

I do tend to work better under deadlines. Otherwise, I get distracted, unfocused. The muse may not be there at that time, but I still keep writing.

Straight From Hel

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Sia! Hey, Miss Tawny! Two of my faves here in one spot. Tawny, congratulations on the Frog book - there's been a lot of buzz about it! That excerpt was fab!

Laughed at you liking the slog moments better than the zone moments. Yeah, right, I believe you even though thousands wouldn't ;-)

When the muse takes a hike, and sadly my muse seems to be training for the Olympics ELSEWHERE!, all you can do is plug on and hope you're not writing dreck. I find the page count thing works for me - I only have to sit there until I've written so many pages and then I'm FREEEEEE!

Tawny said...

Hi Mason :-)

I will say, my Muse is a blessing. When she's there *g*

Hey there, Rebekah :-)

I'm a huge believer in the art of positive thinking, even if the positive thinking requires a little twist to keep it upbeat LOL I hope it works for you -let me know.

Tawny said...

Hi Rita,

Life does have a way of keeping us busy, doesn't it?! Its easy to lose out on writing time.

LOL Olivia - see, you've nailed it. It really is lovely when the Muse is there, carrying her fair share. But really, she's so often not, we have to bust our tushes to get it done on our own.

Tawny said...

Thanks so much, Kat :-) And YAY you, it sounds like you have a firm handle on what works with your Muse and for your writing. Isn't figuring it out most of the battle?! So you should be all set to kick writing tush.

Helen, I'm so right there with you!! Deadlines are my bestest friend *g*

Tawny said...

Anna!!! Fave people? Right back atchya ;-)

Thanks for the kudos for Frog... I am really happy with the story and hope readers feel the same *g*

As for the Muse - exactly!!! What can we do in those muse-less states but plant our butts in the chair and force ourselves to get through the words.

It takes incredible discipline (I bow to you) to keep your tush planted until the page count is reached. I always feel like I'm training for a marathon when I'm writing. Its a lesson in frustration, nagging and self-lectures to during the first few chapters, but once I'm in writing shape... it's still work, but it's a whole lot easier *g*