The Muse

Muse - Roger Ebert LOW RES

“Today,” I told myself at 6am, “you will not get out of the chair until the first draft of the blog post about our Funding Demonstration Project is done.”

I have written pieces of that post. I have written four different introductions, three different outlines. I have written notes to myself about style, about what to tackle in what order.

I’ve decided that what was to be one post will make more sense as five posts.

None of which has gotten this complex and layered post written.

“Today,” I told myself at 6am, “you will write it. Period.”

As of this moment it is 2:30 pm. I have written and rewritten. I have cut and pasted. I’ve drawn roadmaps of multi-colored arrows connecting disparate thoughts. I have crossed out entire sections in the blood red felt tip the kids used to call Excalibur.

The beginning became the end and then became the middle. I’ve scrapped 90% of three pages that took an hour to get “just right,” turning all that babble into a single paragraph. I’ve gone back to the drawing board – literally, my white board – where I’ve sketched and outlined and drawn more arrows, bigger this time, in dry erase marker vs. gel pens. 

And then the “Aha.” Yes! This might actually work! Start here, move this there, then this, then this. Oh my stars, I think I’ve finally found the flow!

In the days leading up to today, I gave myself an out. “I’m outlining,” I told myself. “I’m thinking it through.”

“The muse visits while you are writing,” said Roger Ebert, “not before.” The harder the writing, the more the answer will only be found by writing my way into it, writing my way through it, writing my way out and around – and then stepping back, and seeing that the muse has found me.

At least that is where the muse caught up with me today, at 2:30 pm. While I was writing, not before.

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