Hello Fishy Friends and Happy Friday! Today we are welcoming erotic romance author, Nicola Cameron, to the lagoon and she’s brought a pretty hilarious bit about her muse. Nicola writes in many genres including, wait…let me rephrase that. What doesn’t Nicola write? While her muse may have been on hiatus for most of November, it’s clear she and Nicola have a pretty healthy relationship most days! We hope you enjoy this funny bit. Be sure to leave a comment too! Nicola is giving away a copy of Storm Season, the first book in her paranormal erotic Olympic Cove series, plus a sneak preview of the first chapter of Breaker Zone (Book 2). Winner will be chosen at random from commenters on this post. Take it away, Nicola…
The Muse, She Can Be a Real Bitch
I have to tell you, I had great plans for November this year. The first two days of the month were going to correspond with the last two days of my 20th wedding anniversary cruise, which is a lovely way to kick off a month in any case. After that, I would get home and segue straight into National Novel Writing Month by finishing my historical erotic romance Behind the Iron Cross. If I had enough time left over, I would finish the first draft of Olympic Cove Book Two, Breaker Zone for dessert.
My first mistake was that I announced these plans on various social media sites. Have you ever heard the phrase, fate laughs when you make plans? Because that’s pretty much what happened to me.
See, when we got home from the cruise the Other Half and I both started up with a dry, tickly cough. Two days later we were stranded in bed with what our doctor later diagnosed as bronchitis but I suspect was the opening segue of a particularly nasty flu making the rounds. We’re talking fever, gunk in the head and lungs, muscle aches, dizziness, the whole nine yards.
In my case, I also wound up with a nifty case of vertigo that lasted for well over a week. Have you ever tried to write when you feel like throwing up every time you stood up? When you have to wear a sanitary pad because you’re coughing so hard you pee a little each time? When you’re so hot and listless you don’t even want to read (you, the person who would read in her sleep if she could keep her eyes open)?
That was me for the first two weeks of November. Needless to say, those fourteen days were pretty much a miserable, feverish wash. As the third week rolled around, the combination of meds finally kicked in (I now swear by Alka-Seltzer Extreme Cold and Flu tablets) and I started feeling a bit better — I was still barking like a seal, mind you, but at least I could sit up for more than five minutes at a stretch. And since I knew that I really, really needed to get Iron Cross finished before the end of the month, I blearily opened up my Scrivener file and made myself get to work.
Except that my Muse apparently caught my flu, because poof, she was gone. I sometimes joke that she’s down in Bali getting hammered on mojitos, but this time she was totally and completely AFK. I plunged on ahead, aware that the meds I was on was causing me to produce some of the most cringe-inducing crap I’d written since I started this writing gig. But, hey, at least I was making my word count! That’s what editing was for, right?
Oy. I will say right now that, while I did win NaNoWriMo this year, it was simply for getting 50K worth of words down. I’m guessing that maybe 15% of what I wrote is usable. The rest of it is astoundingly horrible drivel due to the fact that I was Not Well and Heavily Medicated, and will need to be ruthlessly pruned with the editorial machete and replaced with, you know, something that’s actually literate.
So November ended with me still coughing (it’s finally getting better, thank you) and wincing every time I saw the Iron Cross file leering at me from my desktop. The only good thing was that I knew I needed to give the manuscript time to settle before I started editing, plus I also had to dive straight into a sewing project for a customer (I design jewelry and soft toys as a sideline) that was going to be 1) very time-consuming, 2) tedious and 3) had to be finished by December 7. One week wasn’t a lot of time for said project, but I figured I could just about do it and get the items off to the customer, then work on Breaker Zone and maybe start editing Iron Cross sometime around Christmas.
The Muse, bless her heart (and I mean that in a Texas curse way) had other plans. As I started cutting and sewing, she sashayed back into town and breathed mojito-scented ideas into my ear on how to fix Iron Cross. And I admit, they were damned good ideas, but I genuinely didn’t have time to stop and take notes. Instead, I sort of mentally noted it, hoped I would remember everything when it came time to edit, and continued to work.
Obviously that didn’t satisfy her need for my attention, because then she started taunting me with an admittedly tasty idea for a M/M vampire paranormal erotic romance set in England. Once again, I mentally filed it and continued sewing. Then she came up with a paranormal erotic romance plot involving bear shifters and espionage. Then it was a contemporary erotic romance about two competing surgeons.
By the time she started blathering on about a Christmas story for Zach and Jerrek, my leads from A Boon by Moonlight, I was wondering whom I’d offended Up There. Between the Iron Cross fix and four new story ideas, plus the fact that I still had to finish Breaker Zone, I was freaking well overwhelmed with pretty new writing toys that I couldn’t play with because I had this damned sewing project to finish.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “a writer writes.” It’s supposed to mean that a writer writes, no matter what. But Lord, there are times when Stuff™ simply gets in the way, and you just have to accept it all as part of the rhythm of the writing life. Writing when you’re not feeling well can be done — hell, I do it all the time — but for Cthulhu’s sake don’t think you have to write if you’re genuinely ill. I promise you, your name will not be stricken from The Great Book of Writers if you say, “Okay, screw this, I need to take a lot of medicine and lie down before I vomit and pass out.” As for writing blocks, don’t wait on the Muse for help, especially if she’s boozing it up in Bali with mine. Sometimes you need to back up and see if you’re going down the wrong path; other times you need to bull right through that bastard and figure you’ll make it all look pretty when you edit. Finally, make your peace with the fact that you will be overwhelmed with good story ideas throughout your life. After all, it’s the reason why we laugh bleakly when someone bounces up to us and says, “I just got this great idea for a story that you should write…” Yeah, so did we, and it’s going to continue to happen all day long and well into the night. Nobody can be expected to remember them all, much less write them down.
Well, maybe Rachel Caine can do it. But I suspect she has clones.
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Loved the post, Nicola! Remember fishy friends to leave a comment for the chance to win Storm Season! Good luck everyone!
Find out more about Nicola and her books at Nicola Cameron Writes!