Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

A Fuse for my Muse

33 Comments

Books1“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” ~ William Faulkner

I have a confession. Since the holidays, I’ve lost my muse. Other than my blog posts, my journal, and the hundreds of e-mails I write for my day job, I’ve been full of excuses when it comes to reasons to not write. As I mentioned before, I am easily distracted and can lose my focus in an instant. This past weekend that all changed. I pounded out a short story for an upcoming contest and it was exhilarating. Once again the motivation and desire to make up stories is pumping through my veins.

What sparked the turnaround? Since the New Year, I have been reading like a madwoman. I’ve been plowing through books at a top rate speed. I’ve always been a voracious reader, that’s nothing new. It started when I was a child with the Little Golden Books and grew from there. I always have to be reading a book, sometimes I’ll read several at the same time. I’ll never leave home without a book in my purse. So the fact that I read a lot has always been a constant, but it’s the volume and speed of my reading that changed.

Lately I read to avoid writing. I read to keep my mind busy to avoid the truth; I wasn’t writing. I told myself if I was reading I was entertaining myself in a creative way. In the end, all of the reading I’ve been doing in January and February helped get my creative wheels, that had become so rusty, spinning again.  Last weekend, my laptop was smoking and it felt great!

Do I plan to continue to read at this fast and furious pace? Probably not, since I was using books to fill the hole my missing muse had left. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be reading because I am a reader and as a writer, I can’t afford not to. Not to mention the fact that my TBR bookshelves are filled with over 100 books.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

33 thoughts on “A Fuse for my Muse

  1. I LOVE the Faulkner quote above! It reminds me of a recent reading experience.

    I tried to read the new JK Rowling novel, The Casual Vacancy, figuring it was a guaranteed absorbing read. It’s JK Rowling, right? No matter. The book was terrible. My benchmark is 50 pages – I vow to give a book 50 pages, at which point I decide whether to stick with it. In this case, I couldn’t even make it that far. And after perusing Amazon and Goodreads, it seems thousands of readers agree with me.

    But what I took away from this frustrating experience is what to avoid when I write. It’s amazing how reading inspires writing. I’m glad you’ve got your muse back.

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    • Thanks, Gwen! It is a great quote. Unfortunately I can relate all to well to the last line. 🙂

      Wow, if you couldn’t even make it to page 50, it must have been a dud. You’re not the only person I’ve heard say they thought the book was terrible. I had it in my Amazon cart on pre-order, but after I heard some chatter and read some reviews, I dumped it.

      Thank you again for the mention today on your fantastic blog ~ http://gwenstephens.wordpress.com.

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  2. My mom belongs to several mail book clubs, and she reads a lot! When I go to visit, she always makes sure I leave with more books. Last count of books not yet read and given to me by mom – 40. I am way behind in my reading, and even went back through my bookshelves and pulled out some to reread. With spring around the corner, and days forthcoming that I can once again sit on my balcony outside, I will be setting some time aside to read.

    Here’s to smoking your laptop! ~Mary

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    • I’m the one who gives my mom the books. 🙂 I can’t wait until spring. I also love to sit outside on the patio and read. It’s one of the few ways I can relax.

      Thanks, Mary! I’m hoping my laptop does some smoking this weekend. Have a terrific weekend!

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  3. Congrats on the smokin’ laptop and getting those creative juices flowing again – it’s such a great feeling to nail a piece the way you described.

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  4. I would like to do so much more reading, but Time is an enemy of us all… My best to you.

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  5. I totally understand this! I am like this about my crocheting. I’d lost my desire to do it while in school the past couple years. I was just too tired and had to many other things to do. Since graduation I could not seem to get interested again. I finally got it out last week and got started again on the sweater I’m making for my husband. LOL those few years have added a few pounds to his belly…think I may have to add a couple rows to accommodate it. 🙂 Glad your writing juices are flowing again.

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    • Lol! We won’t let him read your comment, will we? 🙂 I never learned to crochet, but I hear it’s very relaxing. Good luck with the sweater! Thanks for stopping by ~ have a great weekend!

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  6. It’s hard to keep feeding the muse when so many demands are made on our time. Sometimes I feel like the being a successful artist and being a good husband and father are mutually exclusive. At least until financial reward comes.

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    • I agree, Eric. Also, working full-time, like we do puts limits on our writing time. You’ve got so much action on your fantastic blog, I don’t know how you keep up with everything. Have a great weekend!

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  7. Little Golden Books; Jill, another example of how we are somehow twinned!

    I’m so pleased you are back in the groove. I tend to not read as much when I’m writing, so I understand how your level might drop off. But being so inundated in a plethora of words sparked yours, which is fantastic! May you continue that great pace on the keyboard. 🙂

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  8. I’m glad to have come across your blog, interesting post. I agree sometimes I use reading as a distraction from writing. As an equally voracious reader I find that I have to limit my reading to make sure I still have time for writing. Good luck and I look forward to reading more!

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  9. Congrats on finding the muse again!!! Mine is trying to make a return. As for the reading. I love to read too and since you’ve got your muse back do you think you could send the reading desire this way ;D

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  10. I always feel inspired when I start to read – there’s something about looking at creativity that sparks creativity! 😉

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  11. Good on you! There is nothing like a good read to get the juices going, sometimes I just like to go to chapters to be surrounded in all that glossy cover page goodness.

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  12. I’ve had periods where I didn’t read very much. Mostly because of concentration issues… and I love reading, but I’m slow at it most of the time because I have trouble focusing…racing thoughts… Any advice on becoming a faster reader? Anyway, I have to read multiple books at once too.

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    • I go through periods like that myself where I’m not reading as much, but I am always reading something. Trouble with concentration can certainly slow your reading pace. I think my reading pace increased the more I read. Thanks for visiting!

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  13. Congrats at banging out a short story! I do the same thing with regard to reading: read more when I’m trying to avoid writing.

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  14. I think all writers need to take a reading vacation from time to time. I took about 2 weeks off from writing and read 10 books. When I got back to writing I was all excited and inspired to be doing it again, so I feel like the break was totally worthwhile.

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  15. I know this is an older post, Jill, but I had to comment. I had almost stopped reading a few years ago because of having little time due to writing. When my muse left me for two years, I told everyone I’d retired from writing and I believed it. I then began to read voraciously again. For some reason this brought my muse back and now I want to write, write, write. 🙂

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