Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.
Authors, you might think you are in control of your writing. In your mind, you control where the story leads and what words are formed to create the world for your reader. But the truth is that most of the time you are not. Okay, you never are. You just think you are at times.
You Have No Control
The stark reality is that your muse is the one controlling your fingers as you type. You place your fingers on the keyboard and begin to type. The words in your head should appear on the screen. Well...
What you want is not always what you get because you are just along for the ride, an out of control ride. Don’t believe me? Here are seven warning signs that your muse is the one really in control of your writing.
#1 – Thoughts Always on Your Story
Do you find yourself watching a television show with your thoughts go back to the story you’ve been working on? How about when you are driving to work or listening to a speech at a conference? Suddenly, your mind is taking something you just saw or heard. You realize how it could play into your story. No matter where you are or what you are doing, your thoughts end up focusing on the story. You can’t help yourself. Your muse is in control and determined that you will finish the story on her deadline. Nothing will stop her.
#2 – Scenes Get Written You Never Recall Typing
You go back over a chapter and stop. You read a section over again that caught your eye and cannot for the life of you remember ever writing it. You know you had to have done it, but it is not familiar. Nothing about it rings a bell…But you love it! The scene is perfect. The truth is that while you thought you were writing what you originally had planned for that scene, your muse was secretly writing what she wanted. You just now realized it.
#3 – You Can’t Write the Words You Want
You’re in the midst of a scene. You have the exact words you want to write, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot type them out. Other words appear on the screen. You delete them and start over only to find that same words you don’t want to type show up. The words you write will not appear. Why? Because you are not in control.
#4 – Characters are Doing Things You Didn’t Expect
This is a sure sign your muse is in control of your writing. You are typing away at your computer when all of a sudden you stop and say, “Whoa! Where did that come from? I didn’t want my character to do that.” You go back to change the scene, but you can’t. No matter what you type, the voice in your head says, “That is not what I would do.” Your characters have begun to tell you what they will say and do. You are no longer in control.
#5 – Everyday Actions Become Story Ideas
No matter where you are, something you see or hear gives you an idea for a story. It could be a bird landing on a stop sign to how someone is eating their messy plate of hot wings. It really could be anything that inspires you. You try to avoid it. You direct your thoughts elsewhere but it doesn’t work. You are not in control and stories come out of nowhere slamming into your brain.
#6 – You Get Up in the Middle of the Night to Finish a Scene
You went to bed on time. Your mind was clear and ready for the Sandman to come visit. You even drifted off to sleep with no trouble and nothing to aid you. Suddenly your eyes open. It is still dark. You glance at the clock to see it is only one in the morning. Confused as to why you are awake, your mind quickly begins to shift through scenes in your book. The strange part is that it is of scenes you haven’t written yet. While you were sleeping, your muse was planning it all and now wants you to wake up and get it all written down. Now!
#7 – You Never Get Your Way
When your muse is in control, you never get your way. It will be hard to accept, but now that you are a writer it is a fact of life. What you want doesn’t matter. Your muse will tell you how plots will go and how characters will act. She will direct you on when to write and when to live the rest of your life. She runs every aspect of what you do.
Think you are in control as a writer? Think again.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 14, 2017:
Things to notice and to think about! Seems we might as well give in to the Muse.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 14, 2017:
LOL, what a cute way to explain our muses. Cute, but so true!! :)