People in my writers group look at me funny when I tell them I warm up my muse by working on 100-word stories to picture prompts on “Friday Fictioneers”. That just doesn’t seem serious to some of them. Well, that’s the whole point – I’m playing. But I’m playing with my creative mind, preparing to get down to the serious stuff.
Since I retired, discipline isn’t the problem — I mean the discipline that used to be involved in just trying to find the strength to either write after a ten-hour day or get up at the crack of dawn before a ten-hour day. Once I retired, that just fell away. It takes no discipline for me to wake up to a new day, sit on my glassed-in breezeway (sunny or not), drink coffee and read a good book. Then, primed with caffeine and a dose of literature, I get dressed (pjs are deadly for me), sit at my desk and start with either the aforementioned prompt, a journal entry or maybe I’ll work on a friendly blog post. Then, as I said, I get down to the “serious” stuff of writing novels or short stories. (A lot of my short stories grow straight out of the prompts, etc., but for some reason, never the novels.) Sometimes I could cry to think of so much of my life being wasted on “earning a living”! But, of course, it was never really wasted – it all goes into those prompts, journal entries, blogs — and the serious stuff.
Maybe if I had tried warming up with prompts or journal entries from the beginning, I might have found the strength I needed. Because the real discipline is in getting the muse to stick around if the serious stuff starts to bog down in the middle. But that’s another story.