Love & Sex Magazine

Writer’s Block

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

Five years ago, in the introduction to “Concubine“, I wrote:

I must admit that I’m surprised I’ve been able to deliver [a new story] every month; I always used to say that unlike my dependable and constant Muse of Nonfiction, my Muse of Fiction was like a sulky girlfriend:  when she wanted me she demanded my undivided attention, but when she didn’t want me I couldn’t even get her on the phone.  But ever since “The Trick”, she has visited me without fail at least once per month, usually without my even having to beg her…

ClioI repeated the joke in the foreword to Ladies of the Night, and until last year it was true.  But as my available time shrank and my commitments increased, I found that inspiration often came more slowly, and I had to beg a lot more often.  Fewer of my stories were (in my own opinion) really inspired or especially memorable, and the ones that were revealed a lot more of my soul than was the norm before.  Several of the stories came to me literally hours before publication, then this past February I cheated by letting someone else tell a story, and last month I quietly and unceremoniously slipped another type of essay into the usual story slot.  But if I keep doing that y’all are going to notice, so here we are.  Some ideas were bouncing around my brain, but as of this writing none of them has gelled and I’m very tired and about to go and get myself a milkshake.  So what I’m thinking is, I’m going to take a brief hiatus from fiction; the next story I think of will be an exclusive for my new book, The Forms of Things Unknown, which I plan to start compiling this coming week.  I know this kind of sucks, but consider that I’ve had an almost unbroken run of one story per month for six years; that’s 72 stories in all.  That’s really very damned good; I don’t think many writers are that prolific.  I also don’t think my Muse has really returned to her old sulky ways; she’s probably just tired and wants a little vacation.  Or maybe she’s suffering from PMS, or thinks I’ve been neglecting her.  Maybe this is her way of getting me to do the book.  But one way or another, I’m sure she’ll be sending me inspiration again in short order, and I’ll soon be serving up new tales on a regular basis again.  And if not, it was a good thing while it lasted!


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