Welcome to “Convincing the Muse”

Maya Angelou described her writing process as persistence:

“When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.'”

When I was 11, a muse decided to sit on top of my history textbook and tell me to write instead of study. More than a decade later, that muse rather watch and re-watch YouTube clips of 1950s-era Academy Award acceptance speeches.

But the last few years of creative drought have to do with more than procrastination (and having a full-time job). Sylvia Plath once said the “worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt” — and as I’ve gotten older, I understand what she meant. I used to think more life experience would help: Unfortunately, it also comes with the crippling realization that I’m not the only one with a story to tell or the ability to tell it. Sometimes, the words just don’t work in my favor.

But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up.

Convincing the Muse is an act of selfishness. It’s a site meant to encourage and challenge my writing. Yes, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (another writing idol, or “writol”), said “Write for one person.” In this case, that one person is not you, internet explorer, but me.

But since you’re here anyway, here’s what you’ll find:

  • Excerpts are spoiler-free samples from larger projects that I’ll share once in a while. When you see these, you’ll know I’m either in a committed relationship with what I’m writing or need to make a grand romantic gesture to win back its heart.
  • Nonfiction are observations, descriptions and commentary based on real-life experiences. Stay tuned for some refreshed content from my old blog when I’m feeling lazy or busy working on something big.
  • Poetry doesn’t happen often, so don’t get your iambic (pants)ameter in a twist.
  • Short stories will be far and few between because they can be harder to write than novels.
  • Vignettes are stabs of dialogue or description that come to me when doing dishes, painting my nails, walking to work, pretending to meditate or completing other mundane activities.
  • Writespiration are photographs, songs, quotes, advice or anything else that cloud-seeds a brainstorm. Want to skip my work and start your own? Use the “Writespiration” tab up top to go straight to some shots of creative adrenaline.

If this seems like an unnecessarily strategic approach, know that my father is an engineer and my mother used to make index-card itineraries for family trips to Disney World. Over-organizing and perpetual planning are as snugly woven into my DNA as my eye color and risk for colon cancer.

Sometimes the muse decides to do stand-up comedy. Other times it broods in a one-muse angst play. You’ll find a lot of genres, moods, and characters among the posts. Some pieces will sing, and others will get stage fright from being published too soon. But they all have one thing in common: They’re proof that I’m ready to get to work.

Come at me, muse. I’m serious.

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