Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chasing the Muse

Some seasons of my life are fast-paced, bustling, and packed with people and activities. There are times when I'm juggling multiple projects, and/or jumping planes every couple weekends to go somewhere and speak. And I like it that way.

If you peered onto my official personality profile you'd see it says I work best when I have (among other things):
  • A lot of interaction with people.
  • Freedom from routine.
  • Opportunities to meet new people and make friends.
  • A fast pace with a lot of variety.
  • New environments in which to work and/or play.

Even so, sometimes during my bustling seasons I long for an extended block of time to pull in and fully focus on just one thing. To settle down single-minded and delve deep into something. This month I get that chance.

My February calender is nearly clear this month, except for the course I'm teaching at the university and just a few social dates I've made with friends. My calender is cleared but it's far from empty. 

I'm writing a book.

That means this season is rich and full of ideas and words. My days are spent chasing thoughts and studying scriptures. Trying to nail concepts down with letters. It is hard work, much harder than one would think. Much harder than even I expect.

Some days it's slow and plodding work as I struggle to grasp the tiger by the tail. Other days fly by in a flash with a gasp of motivated longing for more time to do this gloriously creative task. 

When the plodding days come I tend to analyze what made the flying days fly, and I try to recreate that. Fix the same drink. Return to the same coffee shop. Put on the same music.

Ah, but it can never be recreated. It can only be called. Even then, it doesn't always come.

She's fickle that way, my muse.

Nonetheless, to chase her is a noble endeavor. And I'm grateful for this extended opportunity to do it. Even if it does leave me feverish, with little time to cook. What are you working on at the present?


  1. Hi Rachel,

    Congratulations on your book! What is it about? (You can practice your ten second elevator blurp to me.)

    Happy studying the rest of this week. I have been enjoying studying in coffee shops too as my MOPS message on Thursday approaches. I would welcome your prayers as well. I am eager to meet these women too.

    Jennifer Dougan

    Jennifer Dougan

    1. How did the MOPS message go today, Jennifer?

      Climb aboard the elevator with me. Push the top floor ... Do you have a mental list of things you want to change about yourself? A list of things you are certain God would like you to change? Does the list overwhelm you to the point of paralyzing you? What if I gave you a simple, proven tool to actually do something about one thing this year? You can lose your long list of sweeping promises to start this and stop that, and instead pick just one word to be your focus. I'll walk you through the process of affecting life change with just one word - a process that is becoming a nationwide movement: the My One Word movement. Are you interested?

  2. Good morning Rachel,

    I would love to be a fly on your wall to see how you manage to create chapters that home right in on what I need to hear. I have found the minute I have a specific topic or idea that I'm "supposed" to write about my muse gets up and goes on holiday. She's out there having fun and I'm sitting at a viciously mute keyboard drawing blanks out of my arsenal. Frankly, I don't even have to have a specific topic. Just the notion that my list of devotion readers is "expecting" something inspiring from me makes my free flowing "ah hahs" become "helllooooooooos?". :0)

    I am quite glad you know how to work around such things, Rachel. I'm looking forward to your next, sure to be inspiring and right on target, body of work!

    Blessed morning to you!


    1. Thanks for your vote of confidence. Believe me, Leah, I experience that "hellllloooooo?" phenomena too. Frustrating, isn't it? It tests the resolve of every writer.

  3. I am sharing some of your devotions on one of my FB pages. You have some good insight that I believe will help others as it has helped me.

  4. Hi Rachel, Funny that you should talk about writing a book....and then ask what we are working on. I had finished my book and got discouraged when I couldn't find an agent or a publisher. So I put it away thinking that I had gotten God's message wrong and this book was mainly for me and my own growth. However I continue to get nudges and coincidental reminders that I gave up too soon and that I need to continue pushing on with it. The latest was reading that Dr. Suess was rejected 25 times before his first book sold millions of copies! I don't want to sell millions, but maybe give support and help to other women going though difficult times.. I know that part of my problem is believing that it's not written well enough. And then I remind myself that the idea for it was definitely God inspired so how could I go wrong. Could really use some feelback.......

    1. Hi Diane. Sometimes God has us write stuff just for our own growth. Often in fact.

      And sometimes He has us write stuff to be shared with others. At times He has us write something now - for us - and further down the road He has us dust that off, revisit it and then share it with others. Maybe that's what is going on with you and this manuscript now?

      You said you feel part of the problem may be that it is not well enough written. That could be true. You may have to work on the craft a while, tweak it and resubmit it. Did any of the agents or publishers who looked at it give you any feedback? There are services like The Writing Spa that can help you spiff up the writing if that is what it needs.

      Maybe it is written well enough. Is there a local English teacher that could look at it for you to help you determine if the writing needs more work or not? Or a writer's critique group you could join?

      There are conferences like the She Speaks conference where you can meet with publishers and agents once you decide that is the next step.

      Pray for God to show you what the next step is for now, and to help you take that step in faith and in His timing. Hope this helps!


Chime in.