Contrary Muse: How Does Your Writing Grow?


Ever been frustrated while writing?

I know, STOOPID question. So if we all experience it, what is the solution?

I used to be able to stay up after the kids were in bed and write until three a.m. Heck, I used to be able to write while the selfsame kids ran around me, screaming and causing themselves bodily injury.

Now…not so much. I’m nodding off at about ten o’clock each night. Don’t ask me to get up early. No, I’m too artistic a soul to be an early bird. For realz, people.

I suppose it’s possible I’ve developed A.D.D. during my autumn years, but for whatever reason I cannot seems to write these days without complete and total non-interruption from the outside world. It’s gotten to the point where if I really want to write, I need to book a hotel room for the weekend. I can crank out 20K words that way. But my wallet scoffs at such indulgence on a regular basis.

I know a private office might help, but all available rooms are occupied by the afore-mentioned offspring. My neighbour raises hounds across the valley and I fear I will run screaming over yonder if I hear them baying for one more second–should I attempt to write outdoors. Oh, have I mentioned I homeschool? Which also means every table area is covered with books, books, and more books–and not the fun kind. It seems I have no place to go.

My bathroom is echoey…and also is a bathroom.

My basement is drafty.

My bedroom has the only flat screen TV with the Roku.

I’m at my wit’s end.

So I’m asking you, with a hint of desperation, what are your little secrets to extruding a bit of word count from your daily life?

Do you have a motivational calendar with pithy sayings each day to rev you up?

Do you read your prior day’s word count for inspiration?

Do you have a contractor who will build an office add-on for free?

Do you angle your legs in uncomfortable positions and meditate?

Have you sold your soul to Calliope?


She does seem pretty nice.

But back to my desperate plea.



About bellastreet

Living so close to Nashville has provoked Bella to take up fiddle lessons. Until her tunes no longer sound like amorous alley cats, she writes romance with a touch of weird. Visit her at
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13 Responses to Contrary Muse: How Does Your Writing Grow?

  1. JoanReeves says:

    Love that picture! That’s just how I feel sometimes.


  2. E. Ayers says:

    You’re not alone! I hear that from so many writers. That’s why writer retreats are so important for them. Me? I can’t write while at Starbucks. I can’t edit. I can barely read. But I can talk.
    My children are are furry. (The two-legged ones moved away a long time ago.) My house is quiet. My neighborhood is quiet. I can multitask, but I cannot write when there’s noise. Even at my “day” job, I preferred to work in the evenings because all was quiet. My concentration went up.

    When my girls were little, we had siesta time since they were too old for naps. Phone off the hook, note on the door, no TV, they had to stay on their beds. They did not have to sleep. This became reading time. I’d find them sound asleep after an hour. It gave me a much needed break. Would something like that work for your crew? No games, no TV. Just total quiet. You just might find they will begin to look forward to this time alone with a chance to read a good book. And it would give you 1-2 hours of quiet a day to write.


  3. Jill James says:

    I didn’t really write seriously until my baby was in high school. But, I love writing at B&N, Panera Bread, or Starbuck’s. If I had known I could write with all that noise I might have started years earlier. Homeschooling mommies are angels. You couldn’t pay me enough to have my children 24/7 without a school break.


    • bellastreet says:

      I had a friend who would call me in the morning and say ‘What do you hear?’ I’d listen, and say ‘Nothing’. She then said ‘That’s because my kids are in school.’
      You might be onto something, Jill. LOL


  4. Have you checked your local library? Mine has several study rooms set up with two chairs in each and a sturdy door separating the room from the rest of the world. Nice and quiet, and FREE!


  5. susanrhughes says:

    I’m lucky if I can get a half hour to write each day. I sneak away to the computer and my kids find me. After they go to bed I’m too tired!


  6. leighmorgan1 says:

    I love the photo, Bella. It sure elicits a mood ;). I try to write everyday but Sunday. Some days word-count is good, a solid 1500-3500 words. Some days the word count sucks. Some days it soars (rare). I have no real insights as to why, but I will tell you now that I’m revising and rewriting the first third of Defending Destiny, I’ve started listening to EPIC music on u-tube. Not my usual cup of tea since a lot of it is darkly gothic and my stories are not, but I’ve found that I can pull up the music and it’s timed (20 minutes, 1/2 hour, hour etc.). I set the music, then I do typing sprints until it ends. I don’t edit the new words while I’m sprinting. Then I get up and do something else, tea, stretch, pet my hounds. It has increased my productivity. We’ll see if it is sustainable long term. I print out the new words, read them on the eliptical….which helps because I can’t edit and I’m working my increasing tail…sigh. Then I set the magical-music u-tube timer and do it again. I do have a chunk of day, most days to write when it’s just me and my animals. I’ve tried writing at the coffee shop, and I like that too, but I’ve found that to be the most productive with that, I’m better with pen and paper and then I type it when I get home. Then I can edit as I type. I seem to be slower than most of the main street authors, so I’m not sure that my way, which keeps changing as I go, is necessarily good for anyone :). Maybe you could lock everyone away in the dungeon and try a 20 minute sprint and see if it works for you.


  7. Carol says:

    I certainly feel for you, Bella! My situation is different, but finding a place and time to write is frustrating. Sprints are great! 2-4 per day gives you more words than you realize. 🙂


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