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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Guest Blog: Sarah Ballance: Your Muse is Better Than My Muse

Dear Every Other Writer in the World,

I'm pretty sure I like your muse better than my own. I read your blogs and your message board posts and I see these great relationships come to light. You meet before dawn with coffee, all fired up to greet the pink sunrise. You enjoy a few stolen moments at lunch, then moonlight after dinner to the soundtrack of furiously clacking keys. I can practically hear the love songs in the background serenading your affair.

When I actually have time to write, my muse sits in the corner like a surly teenager. I can beg him to talk to me all I want, but all I get is that little "yeah, right" kind of head tip – with or without a pseudo-charming smile – and stubborn silence. Sometimes … *sigh* … I catch him texting while I'm talking to him. Needless to say, when he's in one of *those* moods my writing time passes without much progress.

Oh, but he's not a total dud.

The other 22 hours a day – the ones I can't write – he's extraordinary. Whether I'm washing dishes or folding laundry (okay, I don't fold laundry … but I do haul it out of the dryer), driving, paying bills – you name it, and my muse is taunting me with excellent stuff. I spend 90% of my waking hours dying to get to my computer so I can write, and I cope by emailing myself hints of my inspiration, texting my own cell phone, and leaving notes all over the place. And when I finally get a moment to put those utterly brilliant words on the page … GAH! Yep, you guessed it. As soon as I can give my muse my full attention, he's back to glaring at me from the corner like a cat someone shoved out of the sunny spot on a window seat.

Out of sync is an understatement.

I will say there's an upside to such a contentious relationship. When my words finally do hit the screen, it's a celebration like no other. And when I actually finish out a chapter? YEOWZA! Talk about a huge reward for a hard day's (uh, week … okay, MONTH – who asked you, anyway?) work. But really, does it always have to be *so* hard?

Anyway, I just hope the rest of you realize how lucky you are. Your gallant cohorts feed you chocolate-covered strawberries while mine shoots rubber bands at me – the little ones that really sting, no less. Yours whisper sweet nothings while mine yells "whaddya want?" when I tell him it's time to get to work. Your muses are excited about the time they get with you. Mine is excited by the time he gets to taunt me.

You guys are living the ethereal honeymoon. We are SO not.

And now that I've explained myself, perhaps you'll be a little more understanding when you see me sitting in the corner furiously texting myself, trying not to lose that last glimmer of an idea destined to make my next novel great. I'll probably be glaring at you as you share that candlelight romance and wine with your own muse, but that's okay.

Perhaps my muse and I are more alike than I thought.

Sarah wrote her first novel in 2008 because she told someone she couldn't. It was accepted by the first publisher she queried, and the rest, as they say, is history. While the thought of writing fiction initially intimidated her, it has morphed into a favorite pastime since her characters, unlike her kids, actually listen to her … most of the time. To see her books (and you'll want to look plenty at the cover of RUN TO YOU), visit her website at


Renee Vincent said...

Sarah, this has got to be one of the most amusing and well written posts I've read in a long time. (No disrespect to anyone else)

I LOVE your writing...
(Attention romance fans, you have to read Down In Flames by Sarah Ballance - great book)
Your flowery flare for descriptive phrases and anecdotal sentences chock-full of vivid details is unlike any other.

Whether you realize it or not, your muse is alive and well, my dear.

Looking forward to reading Run To You too!

Sarah Ballance said...

WOW, Renee. I keep blinking and your words are still there, so I think you may have actually written them. *wheeze* Thank you SO much for giving me a feel-good jolt of inspiration today! (My muse sure as heck isn't doing anything.) ;c)

C. Zampa said...

Well, hmmmm. I started to say I want to SEE a muse that feeds chocolate covered strawberries to its owner, would only depress me.

While my muse is not a snotty teenager like yours, it IS nevertheless a petulant Italian (you KNEW, did't you, it HAD to be Italian), who turns up his nose at me when it's time to write. But, like you, when I'm otherwise occupied by that good ol' 9-5 job, he's a regular little jibber-jabber.

I LOVE your suggestion of texting yourself and emailing. I need to try that. Show my pouty little bambino muse a thing of two! LOL.
Enjoyed your post. And all I can say is this, Sarah Ballance: your muse may withhold from you and smart off at you, but, boy, when he lets loose, he sure gives you some WONDERFUL words.

I'll forfeit the chocolate covered strawberries in favor of an eloquent meany muse like yours. LOL.

Keep up the beautiful work!

Kim Bowman Author said...

LOL! This sounds so much like my muse I think they're long lost brothers!! Very funny and very amusing. But also very true. Thank you

Sarah Ballance said...

Is there a plot to make me cry today? LOL! Thank YOU, Zampa! And, I might add, your muse may be a petulant Italian but he sure does know how to romance you when the time is right.

Plug for Zampa: Her first novel released just yesterday, and it's one of the most poignant, beautifully written stories I've ever read. And since TODAY is Zampa's birthday, perhaps you'd like to check it out?

Thank you for such kind, thoughtful words. You rock the crit partner thing! (BACK OFF, ya'll ... she's MINE! LOL.)

Sarah Ballance said...

Hi, Kim! Thank GOODNESS I'm not alone. I'll think of you next time I take a rubberband to the eyelashes, LOL. Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello!

Renee Vincent said...

Well, Happy Birthday Zampa!!!

C. Zampa said...

Sarah Ballance, you little snitch, you! But, well, as long as it's only my 28th time to turn 30, I won't pop you over the noggin!

Thank you both for the wishes!

And back at you, Sarah. You're the best.

Anonymous said...

I think my muse and yours are cousins. I spend more time thinking about writing and what I will write when I finally have the time than I do actually writing. I'm envious of your texting ability! Not something I do or have my phone set up for. Post-it notes and scraps of paper are my substitutes. LOTS of scraps of paper.

Congratulations on getting a chapter written in a month AND the publication of Down In Flames


Sarah Ballance said...

Polly - you nailed it. FAR more time thinking about writing than writing (even during my writing time, I'm afraid. LOL.) And I lose my paper notes and accidentally delete my texts AND I currently have 2,682 email messages in my inbox. I can't FIND those emails to myself! LOL. Thanks for stopping by and commiserating. Good to know I didn't pick the only miscreant in the bunch. ;c)

Melissa Pickering said...

Wait... you guys have a muse??? I want one!!! (insert my 4 yr old's whine here) I didn't know I was supposed to have one. I feel left out. The Army has my husband 30 hours a day, so I guess he's out of the running. I usually just picture everything going on as if I were watching a really awesome, epic movie.

And I do email myself, and text myself, and leave a notepad by my bed in case I happen to have an epiphany or something while I sleep, but more often than not, I find it missing because one of the kids stole it to do their homework.

When the days' work is done, and I look forward to those few quiet moments I'll have to myself, low and behold! there is my husband, acutally home - covered in red clay filth. I get a quick kiss, an arm-full of disgusting clothes and stinky been-worn-for-three-days nasty green sicks and a "Can you wash these, I need them for tomorrow."

Romantic and inspiring, huh?

Lily Harlem said...

Sarah - fab post, had me giggling and nodding my head in agreement, my muse is similar, but drives me nuts because of his nocturnal habits, just as I'm drifting off he's on at me, lifting my eye lids and saying 'go and turn on the laptop...' which I don't, I have to sleep sometime, and then in the morning, before the dawn breaks, he's harping on in my ear, 'quick, get up now, go and indulge me' - also not an option, bed is too warm and cosy!Then in the day, he yawns and complains he's too tired! Sullen teenager - oh, yes I know all about it :-)

Melissa Pickering said...

Oh, and Happy Birthday, CZ! I hope you liked your surprise, and congrats on your first novel!!!!

Melissa Pickering said...

That should be socks, not sicks.... but hey, whatever. I do have a house full of "sicks" right now.

Katalina Leon said...

I loved this post! My inner muse is a flirt with everyone else but makes me beg for it. I do love him and couldn't live without him.

Sarah Ballance said...

Hi, Melissa! And OMG, now I know why you look forward to taking your hero to bed each night (er, that would be in the laptop) - he might give you animal parts, but at least you don't have to wash them! ;c) I'm STILL shuddering over that drink-from-a-bladder thing! At any rate, your muse probably just cowers when he sees that tough guy walk through the door. (Or - in both our cases - the muse is hiding from the kids. ERGH.)

Sarah Ballance said...

LOL Lily! (My youngest daughter's name is Lillian - we call her Lily bean.) I'm with you. Stay up late(r)? Get out of bed in the morning? PSHAW! I can see me getting up, making something hot to drink, and settling down with my computer only to get ... NADA. Can't you hear him now? "Just wanted to see if you'd actually get up." LOL. Thanks for commiserating! ;c) Why isn't there a muse boot camp? Hmph.

Sarah Ballance said...

Katalina ... you made it about sex. I love you dearly. Thanks for a GOOD laugh!

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