Fear of Losing My Muse

by Ashlynmathews on February 26, 2013

Last night, while the hubby and I watched reruns of Castle, I told him I wanted two things— a tattoo and colored contacts, preferably hazel. Brown eyes are totally boring and a fairy tattoo will be lovely somewhere on my body. He vetoed both ideas. He knows I made those suggestions because I’m antsy, waiting for my muse to return.  

I’ve been avoiding the computer. I’m afraid the motivation to write is gone, lost somewhere in the piles of what I call my hectic life. When I admitted this fear, my therapist reassured me the creative spark will return. After all, these stories have lived inside me since junior high school.

But what happens when a passion evolves into an obsession? Slowly, my nights of writing stretched into early mornings during the work week. On weekends, I spent the whole day writing. Suddenly, I lived and breathe writing. Everything else fell to the wayside. Nothing else mattered.

I believed everyone saw my crash and burn coming except for me. I took on too much, attempting to write four books for three series on top of starting a trilogy. I don’t know why or how I came up with the idea of trying to release four full length books a year. So much creative energy went into those stories that I had nothing left to give to everyone around me— my friends and family.

If you’ve followed my journey to publication through this blog, you know I’ve been trying to find a balance between my writing and my life for a long time now. I thought I was close to achieving it. In reality, I was stumbling along until I fell flat on my face. I had failed to recognize what was important to me— my friends and family. I’m hoping by salvaging the meaningful relationships in my life, the spark of passion and creativity will return.

Song on replay: Overjoyed by Matchbox Twenty

Quote of the week: “The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”~ Carl Jung

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Redding February 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm

For it wasn’t the writing the burned me out, but the promoting. At this point, I don’t think I have it me to be successful in this business. I find the promoting so soul sucking.
cmr

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Ashlynmathews February 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Chris,
Promotion is a soul sucker. Discoverability is the key but how to stand out in a crowded market. I think success is relative and if even one person was affected by your writing in a positive manner, then I believe you to be a success. Keep on going. My editor told me this is a marathon, not a sprint :). And my therapist said I’m the tortoise and not the hare, lol.

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Mary Merrell February 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Hi Ashlyn, I feel your pain. All I want to do is write. I didn’t take it to the level you did, but my goals were bigger than my tummy too. My husband doesn’t think it’s worthwhile. He calls it sitting on my ass all day. We have a business together and that’s all he does, but it’s his passion and he can’t understand that writing is mine and I’m as deeply into it as he is with our vertical gardening business. Which I love too. Heck, I came up with the planters. Every time I write, I feel he’s looking at me and thinking I’m wasting my time. But if I don’t write, I’ll get angry, because my creative juices are allowed to flow. With enough time to write, and Chris I agree, then there’s the marketing which is like me trying to say the alphabet backwards, it doesn’t come natural and it’s a soul-sucking struggle. If I could make more money through my writing, maybe my husband would see that it has value, and maybe I wouldn’t have to find another job. The company I worked for went out of business last fall. I love staying home, writing and planting the succulents in our verticals frames. Thank you for allowing me to rant a little as I totally can understand where you’re coming from. Find yourself a happy medium. Mary E. Merrell

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Ashlynmathews February 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Mary,
I don’t mind the ranting at all. One of my hubby’s friends asked how my books were doing and hubby said okay but I was more in the red than black. Friend asked, “Then why does she do it at all?” I make enough in my job not to have to do (write) at all. Yet like you, once I was bitten by the writing bug, I couldn’t let go. I needed an outlet for my creative energy or else I get very cranky and moody. My husband understands a little more now. I think he didn’t want me to pursue the publication and then be disappointed if it didn’t work out. He didn’t realize I’d be the opposite- going, going, going until the writing took over my life :(. I’m sure finding a happy medium is obtainable. That’ll continue to be my goal. Good luck with your writing. And tell the hubby, he’s lucky to have a wonderful wife :).

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Maggie Jaimeson February 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Hugs to you Ashlyn. Balance is definitely the key. I’ve been where you are. It took me about a month to recover. My suggestion is to give yourself a deadline to return (plenty of time like a month), and then sit yourself down and start writing something, anything–even if it is a short story about a cat looking for food. Just get past that lump of fear.

For me, having a deadline when I had to face the computer again was really important. Otherwise my fear of not getting my muse would take over and I would avoid it forever. Don’t let fear win. You are too good for that to happen.

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Ashlynmathews February 26, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Maggie,
Thanks for the advice. I really do like the deadline idea and will give it a try 🙂

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Chris Redding February 27, 2013 at 3:23 am

My DH is a bottom line kind of guy. If the bottom line is not in red, he doesn’t understand why I would do it. I’ve been at this for 14 years so I’ve already covered a lot of this marathon. But without support it is hard to do it alone. And DH wants me to go back to work full time and I really doubt I will be able to juggle that and writing so effectively I’m probably done in 2013.
cmr

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Mary Merrell February 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

Hey Chris, I understand. I am currently job searching and needing a job, but wondering how I’m going to accomplish my writing goals at the same time. My hubby sees things in black and red as well. I hope you are not done in 2013. Mary E. Merrell

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Chris Redding February 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thank Mary.
cmr

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Ashlynmathews February 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I agree with Mary, Chris. I hope you’re not done for 2013. Your creative self needs an outlet and if writing does it for you, keep going. Find the time and the balance. Maybe reinvent yourself. 14 years is a long time. However, if you enjoy it, why not continue?

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Chris Redding February 28, 2013 at 3:27 am

Not sure I have the fire in me anymore.
cmr

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Melia Alexander March 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Hi Ashlyn. I don’t know how I missed this post. I’ve been writing, and working an intense, full-time job for the past eleven years. It’s doable, but making every moment of every day count for something takes a ton of work. For me, it’s worth it.

Then again, I’m still an author wannabee, so what do I know?

HUGS,
Melia

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