15 February 2012

Rule of Triangles



We all know the basic food pyramid:


We also know that if we eat accordingly and get plenty of physical exercise, our body shape will range somewhere in the desirable area of the following shape:


No extremes, of course, but notice the position of the triangles.

We also know we'd like to be able to achieve such a shape with a food pyramid more like the following:


Or perhaps this:


But, as is the law of triangles, the body shape that results from these pyramid almost inevitably looks like this:

Again, notice the position of the two merged triangles.

Writing is much the same way, and it's the pattern of this blog's name.

Most writers are not brilliant the first go-round, and inevitably every writer wishes this could be their writing pyramid:

Muse
Muddling

An unheard of (but anticipated) amount of inspiration coupled with a negligible amount of brainwork with Musing generously interspersed in between. But when was the last time such a book came out?

Is there a writer out there who has used this method and found that it works? I haven't heard of one. Of course published authors seem to simply snap their fingers and make amazing stories appear as we look up our Amazon recommendations. But think about it; that's not really true, is it. This process just doesn't work.

Of course Musing belongs in the body of the triangle, but the real writing process looks more like this: 

Muse
Muddling

Even Edison couldn't invent a way out of this rule of triangles. And if you think about it, why should he have? The formula, the process, works. For centuries it's worked, and the great writers have surrendered to it and succeeded. They must have—our bookshelves are lined with their work. 

Of course creativity is ponderous and even frustrating at times. But you can't break the law of triangles and get the same result you would get if you'd gone about things the right way. Remember the food pyramids? Hercules, fellow Greek deity to the Muses, maintained that the gods help those who help themselves. Can't expect the gods to grace you unless you're determined to muddle through as best you can first, right?

Are you frustrated with your writer's block, your lack of time, the constant false starts and rewrites? You're not the only one. There are myriads like you, all working their way through the process. I'm one of them, and I know several in my own neighborhood just like me—and just like you. We're muddling through, musing about every turn and option we can, and hoping for that one percent of inspiration—pure Muse—that makes the process worthwhile and the ideas memorable. 

So here's to the inimitable process: 
Muddling —MusingMuse

And to the creators who muddle through it, overcome it, and emerge successful.

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