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blogpost, south america, writing

I Think My Muse Has ADD

So, I was sitting in a cafe today, having a not-bad cup of coffee and staring another blank sheet of paper in the face. I finished the story I was working on last night in a different cafe (with much better coffee; you wouldn´t believe how hard it is to find a decent cup down thisaway), and I´m really trying to get into the habit of writing everyday, both for the sake of my sanity and because a lot of people whose opinions I respect seem to think it´s a really good idea.

I´m trying, if you will, to change my conception of being a writer from something you are to something you do.

So anyway, there I was, coffee half-gone and going cold, pen a-tapping at the page, and twenty-seven light-blue lines staring back at me, daring me to get scrawling.  Problem was, I was fresh out of ideas at the moment.

Now, usually I´ve got a backlog of ideas long enough to keep anybody working til the cows graduated from Ag School and moved back into the basement to play video games and avoid their student loans, but I´ve given myself a couple of (purely arbitrary, possibly ridiculous) guidelines during this particular creative explosion I´ve been undergoing.  One is no new drafts of old stories (though I´ve certainly got plenty of those lying around, waiting to emerge from their thought-chrysalises).  Another is to only work on ideas I´ve had relatively recently.

And so far it´s worked.  I´ve written five new stories, from five new ideas.  But when I was sitting there this morning, I had nothing.

Now, normally at this point I would step outside and smoke a cigarette or something, but a week ago I took that option off the table, so instead I read a poem from this book I´ve been reading the last few days to help blast my brain clean of all the noise that´s usually going on in there.

Well, I guess it must have worked, because all of a sudden I had not one, not two, but three little ideas germinating in my feverish li´l writer-brain, all of them clamoring for attention and sending shoots and rhizomes into the loamy mush of my conscious mind.

I know, right?  What a terrible problem to have. Woe is me and such.

Thing is, it pretty much shut me down, because I couldn´t pick one to commit to.  Finally I took the one that seemed most insistent and boiled it down to something really short and wrote that down, filling all of half a page in my notebook.  Then I went and took a walk around town, ate some food, and came here to play facebook.  Now I´m blogging.  Point is, I still don´t feel like I´ve done my work for today, because I´m stuck between the two remaining germs.  One has a title and a starting point, both of which I like.  The other one has an underlying theme/metaphor I can see some good possibilities coming out of.  I imagine eventually I´ll do them both, but for now I´m a bit stuck.

I guess the thing to do is go have another cup of coffee and open up my notebook again, see which one clamors the loudest.  I know once I pick things´ll probably fall into place.  I just have to quiet my brain down and listen.

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About Dallas Taylor

Dallas Taylor is the grandson of a rum-runner, a valedictorian, a handyman and a good Catholic girl. He lives and writes in Seattle, and builds things for a living in his spare time. In 2010, he attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop.

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