The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Finding Your Muse While Sunning in Mexico

This past week I was fortunate enough to head to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for a much needed vacation. From the beach sand that felt like baby powder cascading across my feet, to the aquamarine ocean that felt like holy water washing away several months of stress and anxiety off my tired body, the entire trip was exactly what I needed to recharge and reconnect my long illusive muse.

So thrilled to be “away from it all”, I didn’t even care that the airline (which shall remain nameless) misplaced our luggage for a good dozen or so hours and, since for the first time in my life, I didn’t pack at least one change of clothes and a bathing suit in my carry-on bag, I was stuck wearing the same clothes for nearly twenty four hours.

Whatever. I was in paradise.

No cell phone, no computer, no daily work grind, no commute, no constant interruptions – just me, a few of my favorite family members, my notebook and a couple of great romance novels to read. Oh, and did I mention the all-inclusive bar and buffet. Paradise with a capital P.

So with no bathing suit, a Melon Bowl in one hand and my notebook in another hand, I headed for the beach and sat under an umbrella, letting the warm breeze rolling off the water caress my skin, skimming the sand with my ghostly white New Englander toes, and waited for my muse to show up.

And she didn’t. She, at least mine is a she, was pissed off at me and for good reason. I’ve been neglecting her (and me) for months now. Just because I changed the scenery didn’t mean she would magically appear. It didn’t matter that I was finally ready to be hit by some serious writing inspiration.

Deterred, but not down and out, I gulped a few swigs of my cocktail and starting free-writing in my notebook. I firmly believe putting any words to paper is soul cleansing for a writer, so even if it was gobbledygook, it was a better than the non-writing agony I had been experiencing these last few months.

I ended up free-writing for a few days and outlined a couple of new manuscript ideas, but my current work in progress was still stuck with a muddled middle. However, just before leaving Mexico, my muse was finally willing to say hello and help me plot more of my current WIP. It was a welcome exchange. My characters were thrilled by her presence as well.

It was then I realized my muse was with me all along. I had just let life get too cluttered and claustrophobic in the past few months to realize it. So, if I’ve learned anything from my vacation it’s that we can’t let life strangle us too much, and we need to find time to recharge every day so we don’t get separated from ourselves and/or our muses. My muse, she likes me just fine, and doesn’t try to punish me. She’s around even when I’m too busy to notice her. She wants to help me, her vessel, write the love stories that fill my heart.

Another vacation lesson: whenever you get a chance, do things you have never done before (actions that might inflict bodily harm to yourself and/or others excluded, of course), especially if you are uncertain of the outcome, like:
  • Go to the swing set bar and actually sway on a swing while drinking a Cerveza.
  • Claim that you are allergies to most knits, break out in hives easily and the Benadryl is in your make-up kit when your luggage is “delayed” and an airline is uncooperative...luggage is mysteriously located and brought directly to your hotel room expeditiously.
  • Go snorkeling even though you have never worn flippers a day in your life and its pouring rain outside. You are going to get wet anyways. Just remember to get out of the water if lightning starts.
  • Tell your deepest secrets to trusted confidants while gazing up at the stars and lying on the beach.
  • Flirt with a “pissed” British chap with a killer accent. When in Mexico....

P.S. If you are wondering what a Melon Bowl is it’s a fruity drink with lots of different liquors thrown in that I highly recommend, preferably two at a time.


Isabel Roman said...

Wow. Beautiful picture! Willing to share more for those of us NOT vacationing in Mexico? ;)

I agree, sometimes it takes a bit to get your muse back, but letting her (he/it/whatever) find you doesn’t' always work. You have to go search (he/she/it) out! A chocolate bribe may not be amiss, too.

Penelope said...

Tara, What a great post! And I agree with Isabel...why don't you post a whole bunch of those gorgeous pictures so we can all live vicariously through you. I wanna hear more about the British guy....!!!!! And Melon Bowls are on the next Quirky menu!

Dalton Diaz said...

I'm so glad you and your muse had such a great time. So what was the Brit "pissed" about? Did they lose his luggage, too? Or is that a British term for starched?
Can't wait to hear more and see more pics. Welcome home!

Dalton Diaz said...

I have added it to our vacation list - and we had ruled out Mexico! Thank you.
So, where's a pic of the Brit???

Michelle Picard said...

So, sounds like everyone wants to take a group trip to your Mexico destination and take a look at the Brit together. Glad you're back, but more glad you got the chance to slip away.

Victoria Morgan said...

I think the Quirky Ladies need to book this trip.... Let's start a fund. I'm sure I can find my long lost writing muse down there with a melon ball in each hand and flirting with your Brit. Was he cute? Details please. What beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!