Tales From My IWP Writers Workshop – On Delinquency, Or When Your Muse Goes MIA

I’m now officially three weeks behind in my writing for the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women course. I’ve spent the past two weeks cycling through various stages of panic, as the final ‘lecture’ will be posted this week, then the course closes on the 21st at midnight. Which means I have one week to churn out three assignments. Well, two, since I’m now waist deep into assignment three, finally.

nerves
HELP ME!!!!

This assignment has completely kicked me out of my comfort zone. The focus for week three is cast and plot, and we’re required to write a story with at least four major characters. Four. With different points of view. You know how many stories I’ve written lately with more than two major characters, in the third person? NONE! So I’ve been freaking out for two weeks, trying to get an idea – any idea – to take root in my head so I can write SOMETHING, because I’m not about to just punk out of the class after two submissions. Every idea I had sounded trite and foolish, or just didn’t gain traction as I tried to outline how I wanted the story to unfold.

I’ve tried ye olde approach of “just sit down and write whatever comes to you.” See above for results. I tried to beg and bribe my Muse to come sit with me, but girlfriend had better things to do, apparently. Nothing. Worked.

Perhaps it was because I had set a goal of writing something that was not based on my own life. I guess that was too much of a shock to my system, especially since I’d have to do it all in third person. After two, almost three weeks of nothing, I finally said to hell with it, and went back spelunking into the cave of my memories and experiences. So, yeah, I’m writing about myself again. *Shrugs* I guess in times like these, it pays to have had a sucky childhood. And isn’t it interesting how I couldn’t find my inner child for the week one assignment, but I’ve not been able to let Little Tracey go since then?

I don't even know if this quote is legit. But I don't care. I've bled, and I'm tired.
I don’t even know if this quote is legit. But I don’t care. I’ve bled, and I’m tired.

I have never been this behind on an assignment ever in my life, and I’m still kinda panicked that I won’t be able to finish everything in time, especially as I’d wanted to get enough points for the certificate of completion. Oh, well.

I found something I could build a decent story on, draped up Le Muse, sat down with her – pinned her to the dining room chair, and I’ve been writing this story old school style – with pencil and paper – since 3:30. I’m not finished, but I can hardly look at another word right now, so I’m going to bed, and I’ll finish up and fine-tune tomorrow. I need to submit by Wednesday, so I can start working on week four’s assignment. I might don’t make it all the way to submitting the week six assignment, but rest assured, I’m writing that story. If I manage to get outside of myself and write something palatable, I might even share it here. Yay, y’all!

I tip my hat to any writer who manages to churn out book after book – hell, even a one book – whether it is high art or schlock. It takes A LOT to sit before a computer or a pad of paper and stare at nothing, and then from there, create a whole world. So yes, even the Twilight and 50 Shades ladies get my respect on this day. More power to y’all, and teach me your ways!

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