Romancing the Creative Life in Portland, Oregon
Inspiration Through Doing
Remember those old Nike commercials? “Just do it!” I think sometimes finding my muse is like that. If I just start doing something, anything, on one of my projects, she’ll get interested and show up.
In September, I had the chance to interview author Maureen McQuerry for her Fall, 2008 blog tour (you can read the interview on my writing blog). When asked what advice she would give aspiring authors, she quoted Jane Yolen. “B.I.C.—Butt In Chair.” I’ve noticed this suggestion popping up in my life quite a lot lately.
Earlier this year, I joined an online writing group called Book-in-a-Week. Their motto? BIC HOC TAM. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly. Then, Maureen McQuerry offered the same advice, quoting another author I admire.
Finally, in case I wasn’t quite completely sure that the Universe was trying to tell me something, I got a really great book out of the library on Tuesday. Revision & Self-editing by James Scott Bell (I highly recommend it—this one is definitely a purchase for the writing shelf book). And what does he say on page 16? “Most often the parking of the butt in chair, and the pounding of keys by fingers, is all you need.” To top it off, at the beginning of the first section, he quotes Michael Crichton: “Keep working. Don’t wait for inspiration. Work inspires inspiration. Keep working.”
And today I parked my butt in the chair. I pulled out my notebooks, some note cards, a pack of sticky notes and my pen. And I worked. And you know what? It was hard to stop to work on this post. I just want to keep going now, even though it took me almost two hours to actually get myself to start working.
Now I’m putting my butt back in my writer’s chair. If you’re having trouble getting in touch with your muse, try the B.I.C. method—it seems to be working for me. I hope it will work for you, too. Let me know how it goes!
Kim Switzer is an aspiring novelist and avid dabbler in various visual and fiber arts, especially embroidery, beaded embroidery, oil painting, and her new-found love--art quilting. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, her cat, and various incarnations of her muse. For more information or to contact Kim, you can use the