About Writers, blogging, inspiration, Uncategorized, world-building, Writers Co-op

If It Helps a Writer to Focus, It’s a Muse!

I bought a watch. It’s an automatic watch, the kind with no electronics. It’s all wheels, springs, levers, gears, screws, jewels, a dial and three hands working together in a case with a bezel, crown, crystal, two lugs and a wristband. The sum-total-effect of hundreds of parts is to cause the hands to advance 86,400 seconds a day.
That’s a lot for a little machine, isn’t it?

The purely mechanical nature of the watch calms me because it is predictable. Move along, my watch tells time, there is nothing new to be seen here. The watch is from the old world of Isaac Newton – everything is put together by hand. It grounds me for world-building.

When I have an idea for a story, I have to build the world in which it occurs. The idea has a life of its own, but I have to create the background for it. A good background is one that seems natural, meaning, what is not described can be assumed by the reader. The watch itself reminds me of a time before Clerk Maxwell inspired Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The world was logical, not quantum. Just like the intricate mechanical train of the watch’s parts, everything in Newton’s world connected. And this, really, remains the world we actually live in today. Readers are comfortable with logical plots. So, I build a world out of natural assumptions people assume to be true, and I introduce the story idea in a train of connected plot bits.

I call the watch a muse because it reminds me that for a story to work, the plot has to be put together by hand, adjusted to fit perfectly and made to work with everything else in the story-world.
It’s a great muse.

P.S. This thoughtful blog was inspired by my Lady who asked,
“You bought what!?”


9 thoughts on “If It Helps a Writer to Focus, It’s a Muse!

  1. mimispeike says:

    I can’t relate to the idea of focus. I don’t focus on my story, I am consumed by it. It has taken over my life. I’m on the computer here at two in the morning (and I didn’t just get home from work, I’m on vacation this week) because I have to look at my a-building new site again, evaluate what I did on it today.

    I’ve finally got a look I’m happy with, a banged together treatment with borrowed illustration, to see what works for me in terms of style. I want my pages to have the style of an illustrated book that I might have created in inDesign, where you an do anything. WordPress is limited in terms of design – unless you know coding, I guess, and I damn sure don’t know code – but I’m chiseling and cheating my way around that.

    In addition to the visuals, I have the story to deal with. I’m already making notes on how to bridge the gap to the next novella, which is all written except for an update. My frog is going to be more complex psychologically. What I had in the original version was fun. This will be much more fun.

    Is there a minute of the day when my book is not on my mind? I seriously doubt it. How’s that for focus? What I need to do is to learn how to un-focus. So I can fall asleep, for instance. I’m counting on this beer that’s almost empty to do that for me.

    I’m off to give that bed of mine another try. Bye.

    Liked by 3 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      Well 🙂 sticking to the theme, I recommend you get an old Seth Thomas mantle clock, one with a pendulum. It doesn’t have to keep accurate time. So long as it works, that old-era tick-tock, tick-tock may be just what you need to drift asleep.


  2. Perry Palin says:

    Mimi, — I like your post, but beer would have me in the bathroom in an hour. I prefer a half a tumbler of brandy, or white wine if I have enough of it. Mostly though I haven’t had much trouble sleeping on any occasion since I quit what I hope to be my last day job.

    I understand being consumed by your story. I like that. That’s the way I am when I am writing something. Right now I’m responding to suggestions from a developmental edit, and that’s fun too but not as encompassing.

    Watches — Being left handed I quickly scratched up the few wristwatches I owned, and then went to the pocket watch. I’ve used pocket watches for almost 60 years. When I’m working on our little farm I don’t carry a watch; I don’t care what time it is. When I go out into the country I carry an inexpensive steel cased “dollar watch” (that’s what my father called them) that lost time until I pried off the back to perform an adjustment. When I go to town I carry a gold cased Swiss made going to town watch on a gold chain, an inheritance from an uncle. I don’t see a watch as a muse, but I get it. A real watch is just what GD says it is. People don’t carry watches anymore. They look at their phones. I don’t carry a phone. I gave up my last cell phone with that last day job.

    We have a new puppy. Yesterday I was out with the puppy and I pointed up for her to see a pair of geese flying high overhead. If I’d been looking at a phone, the puppy and I would have both missed seeing the geese.

    I don’t think about muses. Sometimes I am inspired to write something by an old song. I got a nice story from the iconic breakup song At This Moment by Billy Vera. Look that one up on YouTube.

    Liked by 2 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      Wow, what a voice! Thanks, Perry. I’d not heard of Billy Vera.
      & my hat’s off to anybody who can get rid of their cell phone and spend time pointing out geese to puppies. Life could be worse, ‘eh?

      Once upon a time, I wore a three-piece suit and carried an old Elgin railroad pocketwatch in the vest pocket. It was an affectation. But I do have a goldplated Bulova pocketwatch hanging in a bell jar just because it’s, well, from a different age.

      And since I’m here, I must recommend that you try Redbreast Irish whiskey, 12 year old. It’s tasty as a good brandy -you’ll find yourself rolling some on your tongue to identify the flavors.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Most provocative thing watches are. How’s that for syntax! GD, Your story reminds me of the time I almost went into the watch repair business professionally. Except for the fact that I’m only slightly claustrophobic–the usual Watchmakers office is smaller than a closet–I almost decided to put down the 1.5k dollar investment for the tools of the trade. It would have almost been a sum well spent. I have the hands, the eyes, the patience for such work. But not the desire to work in the cramped quarters that are usually devoted in the department stores to watchmaking. I need wide spaces to work in. I am a walker in the working environment.

    I adore the self-winding watch. It’s the least complicated, can be worn by people who cause electric watches to break, and it’s actually the simplest to repair. The only drawback is that if you don’t move enough in your daily activity the watch loses time.

    Thanks for letting me wander down memory lane, the best three years of my college life: working for Mr. Privan, the watchmaker and getting my degree in theatre. He immigrated from a Communist country. Before he could marry his wife, he had to prove to her father that he could make a living. So he became a watchmaker. After that he became a theatre man, the whole nine yards, building stages, writing plays, directing, managing the theatre. He did all this so that he could claim “artist angst” to have permission to leave Poland with his wife. He told me this story in my last term at school, when it came time for me to direct my first play. I had invited him to see the production. He said, “Because of my years in theatre, I turn down your offer, I don’t go to see anything but professional plays.” Of course, I was disappointed, but I was more astounded that he and I shared more than the love of watchmaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GD Deckard says:

      Thanks, Linda.
      What a great story about Mr. Privan. It is easy for us to forget how fortunate we really are. I know one such man. He escaped from behind the Iron Curtain, an Eastern European country, walked to the Atlantic, made his way to Florida and lived in boxcars until he got a job locally. I have the greatest respect for him.

      Serendipity: I found a watch winder in a charity resale shop for $5. Works fine.

      Liked by 1 person

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