Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Isn’t My Muse Listening to Me?

by Anna Kathryn Lanier

Even though I know my day to post is coming up, I always procrastinate writing my piece.  This week has been especially hard, as I have been dealing with an infected tooth, which has given me a lot a pain.  So, here it is, the morning of the 14th and I am just now writing my post.

Actually, my life has been pretty busy all year and my writing has suffered.  My muse has taken a vacation, along with my characters, who used to talk to me all the time. It’s rather odd not to have them in my head, wanting attention.  Recently, however, a couple, literally, has returned.

My tag line is ‘Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats.’  That’s because the last four stories I’ve had published have Western settings, one is historical, the other three are contemporaries with cowboys.  Most of the stories I have started but not worked on in a while are also Western set.

There’s Kaitlyn and Gage, high school sweethearts who went their separate ways in college. This story is based on the Carrie Underwood’s song “Last Name,” where the gal wakes up married and doesn’t remember the name of the guy she was with the night before, let alone what her new last name is.  Yep, Kaitlyn and Gage meet up in Reno or Vegas and tie the knot, while drunk and neither really remembers it.  Another story is one I started about 5 years ago.  Admittedly, I’ve never quite figured out Gordon’s GMC, but shouldn’t he be telling me that? Talking to me, explaining things?  Nope, he’s as silent as a tomb.

Oh, and then there’s the historical story I want to write about the couple on the Wagon Train heading west.  I’ve done a lot of research on this subject, as the class on Pioneering Women of the West I gave in August can attest.  Are Garrison and Sam talking to me?  No, they aren’t.

So, with all these Western stories in my mind, who is talking to me? Jane and Marcus, a Regency couple, that’s who! I love Jane and Marcus and I love their story, but I really want to write a western story right now. And a short western story would be even better.  Jane and Marcus have a rather complicated romance.  I’m not sure I can write it in a  short way. But they are the ones who decided to take up residency in my head and my muse has decided to let them.

I really am glad, that after the dry spell, someone is talking.  I will work on Marcus and Jane’s story, but I’m hoping for a simple, sexy cowboy story to show up, too.

I’m heading to the Northwest Houston RWA Chapter’s Lone Star Conference this weekend. I hope to get some spark there!  Everyone have a great weekend!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats


  1. It is amazing how we write better when the characters and idea are the ones we want to work on and not the ones we have to work on. I'm kind of in the same position. I HAVE to finish the last Petticoat book, Hank's story, but that isn't the one that the characters are vivid in my head. It's the new series I plan to write when I finish Hanks' story that is forefront. But Hank's story is the one that I'm writing. I've had too many people asking for it.

    Have fun at the conference! You'll come back energized from that.

  2. Sorry about the tooth, my friend, and I totally relate with demanding characters in your head. I've had many in mine, but lately, the one I wanted to speak to me turned mute. Luckily, she's talking again and I'm back on track. I have a few other stories in the works, but like you, I love being stuck in the old west.

    I was going to the Southern Festival of Books this weekend in Nashville...even paid my money, but wearing a heart monitor and dealing with the rash from the leads has turned my mood sour. I'm going to stay home and write, and promote myself on the Kindle Forums where it will probably do me more good. Of course, I was looking forward to the networking, but I guess they will be other opps. :( Hope you have fun at your event and come back inspired and ready to "type."


  3. Anna Kathryn, My muse has been on strike lately. LOL I was trying to write something that was someone else's idea and it didn't work for me. I know many authors write whatever an editor wants, but I lose the "sparkle" when I try that. So, I am back working on what I love--western historicals.

  4. Anna--I do hope you are well enough to enjoy your trip.
    My muse demands I write short things, now, when at the beginning everything was looooong--all nine of them, and every one published. I was asked to write a short story for an anthology--Western--and I ended up writing three stories for three different anthologies. I love these 22,000 word stories.

    But I do have a WWI story at 20,000 words, and the thing is over a year old. I want it to be novel length...but like you, my characters shut their mouths, and will not open them.

    I had a vivid dream last night about a cowboy and a girl who was helping him move out of a house. It
    seems they didn't think of the other as a love interest until they,each carrying a box, got a little stuck when they tried to enter the door from different directions. So, they froze and stared at each other, I don't know what this is about...but I'm remembering it!
    Thanks for your interesting post--let your Regency couple have their way so you can return to the ranch.

  5. Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know I'm not the only person with a stubborn muse.

  6. Dear, I so understand your pain...I'm trying to work on my next Contemp Romantic Suspense, but this English Earl, who is dying, keeps coming into my head...his daughters need to marry before he goes because he promised his wife before she died he'd find the girls happy homes. The first girl meets a highlander...AND I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT SCOTTISH PEOPLE AT ALL!

  7. I agree, this year has been stressing. The three month long repairs to my kitchen took precedence over the story I'd already started writing. I'm finally finishing it now that my kitchen is done, and I have secondary characters in this story about to take off with their own adventure. It's crazy controlling characters at times. :-)

    Enjoy the conference! When you're rested your muse will come back strong.

  8. It's very interesting to get a glimpse into the mind of a writer.

  9. Sending hugs, Anna Kathryn. It sounds like you've been having a difficult time. I bet the conference will brighten you life up. Introduce your muse to a couple of cowboys while you're there and maybe they will decide to come out and play. One can hope anyway.

    It seems a lot of us have been sidetracked by life lately. My day in the ER and then those drugs...well, one's muse doesn't seem to work very well under those circumstances. :)

    I entered the GH so now have to make sure my Broken Promise is shaped up and ready to win. If persistence is an attribute, I want to make sure to earn mine.

    One sorta of cool thing that came from my knee problem is that the physcial therapist has his office in the historic Smith Flat House. I actually used to go there for meals when it was a restaurant and learned about the entrance to the gold mine that was hidden when they built the house (a hotel at the time) to conceal the tunnel. It's where I got part of my plot line for my story I am entering in the GH. One of my online teachers thinks there's a reason I have returned to the Smith Flat House and she might be right. On my first session I found out there is a ghost haunting the place. My muse is starting to focus again. Isn't it strange what will make this happen???

  10. Anna Kathryn, First off I feel for you with the infected tooth pain. There is nothing worse, in my opinion. As for characters who take a vacation and others who show up in their place, I wonder what people (other than writers) think about that. Yes, it's true! And no, we are not crazy. LOL

    I do think you need to tell Jane and Marcus' story since they are being so insistent. Whatever the case, I look forward to reading anything you write! :)

    Have fun at the conference!!!
    ~ Ashley


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.