It hasn't always been this way.
I remember a time - it doesn't seem that long ago - when the words flowed effortlessly. They would wake me in the middle of the night, insistent in their urgency to be released across a page. In the morning I would awake to find them scribbled in a notebook, or jotted on a napkin, and was thankful my muse had woken me enough to record them.
I was distracted during waking hours - one ear tuned to the world around me as the other paid attention to the whirring of words in my mind. Most days it seemed as though I were living dual lives - taking notes in biology while simultaneously scribbling a poem on the opposite page. During the evenings, when the rest of the world was quiet, I'd churn out page after page, an endless stream of verse, prose, lyrics, whatever.
Then one day I woke up and realized I hadn't written a thing in months. I chalked it up to the fact that I was busy working and caring for my son, who was a baby at the time.
The next thing I know years had passed and I'd only managed to churn out what had once been a day's worth or work.
"Am I out of words? Have I completely lost all inspiration? Maybe I'm not really a writer after all."
When grief invaded my life, it forced a surge of words. So much pain, so much anger, so many questions. It had to come out somewhere and it spilled across the page.
Soon I was working as journalist and was again writing on a daily basis, but I was no longer writing for myself. Instead I was writing for everyone else.
"Ok, maybe this is it. Maybe I'm simply destined to write non-fiction. Maybe I've just lost that creative spark."
Meanwhile the stories have been writing themselves. Scenes played out repeatedly - opening lines, entire paragraphs, chapter after chapter - all trapped inside my mind. Tens of thousands of words swirling around in a frenzy.
"Will they disappear if I don't hurry to commit them to ink?"
There's been a recent shift in the winds. Instead of sitting around, waiting for the muse to do all the work, I suppose it's time I realized she's already done her part. Now it's just a matter of me forcing myself to sit down and put it on the page. Hmmm...this could be painful!