Tuesday, February 5

Back in the Saddle Again!

By Ava Cuvay

By this point in my life, I should be more away of the ebb and flow of my muse. This year, exactly  
like last year, and maybe even before then, the fickle gal took a 5-month hiatus. It left me staring at my computer flogging myself that I should be working on the next book or beginning the illustrations for the second children’s book I promised everyone by the holidays.

But, nope. Not a word typed or pen to drawing tablet since mid-September.

Being a frustrated artist really sucks. The pressure and desire to perform blocked by the utter impotence of creativity. I know some authors advise you write regardless of whether you feel inspired or not… the importance being in training your body and mind that “this is the time we write,” much like we try to train cats that “this is the time mommy sleeps so no playing with your jingly toys in bed and no sitting on my head.” I guess my muse has a distinct feline-like personality, because it does what it damn well wants and I just have to adjust my lifestyle accordingly. Albeit not without a lot of whining and complaining on my part, not that the muse pays any heed.

But then Indiana was hit with what the news and social media made out to be the worst snowstorm since the earth was formed. Lucky me, my kiddos’ school system was closed for two days. And I actually found time to do something crazy: work on my illustrations. And what had previously been stabs at mal-formed creatures turned into usable scenes. Like when the words on the page begin to flow from the fingertips, as if they have a life of their own and we’re merely the conduit through which they find their destination. My illustrations took life!

And then another, even crazier, thing happened: I got together with some author pals and wrote. I wrote actual words. Complete sentences with conflict and character insight, and I’m even pretty sure most of them will make it through the editing process!

And OOOOOHHHHHHH! how wonderful it feels! The muse has returned from her vacation (and really, who can blame her for leaving all this icky weather and the stress of the holidays behind?) and we’re both ready to get back in that saddle again and ride. My worries are eased that I’m not a real writer because a real writer would never go so long without writing. My fear that I only had one children’s book “inside me” is kicked to the curb. My regret that this wild ride known as writing, with all its ups and downs and unexpected turns, might be over is gone.

I just had to be in a slump for a long while, I guess, so I could fully appreciate being out of that slump. Yep, my muse is definitely a cat!

Anyone else? ;-)


  1. Isn't that the worst feeling? I went through something similar last year and was never so happy as when the first *idea* popped into my head and wouldn't let go. Because it was an idea, a real one, and that seemed like half the battle!

  2. I guess we have to suffer through a writing drought to fully appreciate how wonderful it is when the writing flows. Sort of like how great spring feels after a long, cold winter. I'm happy for you, Ava!

  3. I know the feeling well! Congrats on climbing back on the bucking bronco, may your words be many.

  4. So glad your muse came back! It does make for rough times, but it sounds like you made good use of the polar vortex.

  5. i bet your illustrations are wonderful. your cat pics are really cute!