The Fickleness of the Muse

4 Apr

For those of you who don’t know, my wife and I raise quail.

We recently had a new hatch in the incubators, 120 of the little darlings popping out of their eggs over the span of three days.

Quail incubate for about seventeen days.  Some will be born at Day Sixteen; most on Day Seventeen; and then there are the stragglers on Day Eighteen.

I love the anticipation of the new hatches.  I’ll stand for fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes sometimes, on Day Sixteen, waiting to see a little beak punch through the shell.  Funny thing, though, it never happens when I’m watching.  I’ll stand there and stand there, watching, waiting, and invariably the moment I walk away and start doing something else, I’ll hear the little peep telling me I once again missed an arrival.

Ideas for writing happen the same way for me.


“When inspiration does not come, I go for a walk, go to the movie, talk to a friend, let go… The muse is bound to return again, especially if I turn my back!” Judy Collins

Like my baby quail, my muse shows up when she is damned good and ready, and trying to force her appearance is a fool’s task.  Luckily, I have more than enough things to do, like farming and making coloring books, so I don’t have to stare at the keyboard waiting for an idea to appear. I just go live life and wait for inspiration.

It usually comes quickly!


My “Urban Farming Coloring Book” has officially outsold my last two novels, and it did so in a mere three weeks.

I’m not going to allow myself negative thoughts about my serious writing. I’m just going to be grateful for the sales and move forward.

But I do find it amusing, for whatever reason.


You’ve got things to do and I’ve got things to do, so let’s go do them. Thanks for the visit. I hope you found something of interest.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

28 Responses to “The Fickleness of the Muse”

  1. Janine Huldie April 4, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    I love that feeling when I get inspired. So, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for the reminder as to what that feels like and why I do what I do, as well. Happy Tuesday now!! 🙂

    • Billybuc April 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

      My pleasure, Janine, and thank you for your unwavering support and friendship.

  2. Sarah Potter Writes April 4, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I know all about the negative thoughts creeping in. Those publishers have simply not being looking at the hatching of a great author at the right moment.

    I’ve just emailed you re Shadows Kill, with my editor’s hat on (nothing too heinous to fix to make it totally perfect). It’s a brilliant novel. Just couldn’t put it down, except when forced to do so by the exigences of family life. I hope my comments are helpful.

    I’m so happy that your coloring book is flying. You must see it as a sign. Often when a writer gets noticed for one of his creations, the others follow suit. There are not so many coloring books around as there are crime ones, and you’ve been entrepreneurial enough to jump in early on, while other people are sleeping. That being said, there are not so many paranormal crime novels on the market, which again gives you more of an opportunity to get noticed than if you wrote straight crime.

    I’m very proud of you, my friend 🙂

    • Billybuc April 4, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

      Sarah, that means a great deal to me. Thank you so much. We try new things, try again, try again, keep tinkering, and hopefully, one day, we gain notoriety of the good sort. 🙂 You are appreciated very much.

  3. divalounger April 4, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    I cannot tell you how often I sit with my notebook with nothing coming. My muse, like yours, comes when she is ready–we are planting seedlings right now and I am prepping some lettuce starts for later in the season–dirt helps everything

    • Billybuc April 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

      Goodness, Audrey, lettuce starts? I need to get busy in our small greenhouse, because lettuce starts outside is not going to happen with this rain.

  4. Sally Gulbrandsen April 4, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    I love reading your blog. So good to hear that the colouring book is going well.

    You will be pleased to know that I made another sale today with a PDF Tutorial in my Etsy store so all is good except, did I hear you mention the word ‘rain’? Oh dear, I do hope not though once the lettuces are planted I guess you will be praying for rain again!

    • Billybuc April 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

      Sally, thank you so much for the kind words. Rain seems to be the key word in our lives this year. An area known for rain has far-exceeded expectations. 🙂

      • Billybuc April 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

        And congratulations on your recent sale. That is fantastic!

  5. 1authorcygnetbrown April 4, 2017 at 10:54 pm #

    The muse definitely comes more quickly when you’re doing something else. I often got a lot of housework done when I am writing because I always seem to see all the things that need done. However, while I am doing those things, the muse goes to work and I have something great to write.

    • Billybuc April 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

      Glad to have you agree, Donna. You are a prolific writer and it’s always good to hear from the voice of experience. Thank you!

  6. rollyachabotbooks April 5, 2017 at 12:15 am #

    Hi Bill… sounds like you are finely drying out there and having success with the Urban farming… here is a quote for you “Have a Quail of a day.” lol… that one may stick somewhere in your to remember list… slip over and take a peek at my new site


    • Billybuc April 5, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Rolly. I’m on my way to your new site.

      Hugs from Olympia


  7. suziehq April 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    Ii’s always the way, watching and waiting for something and the minute you turn your back . . . .it happens! LOL What a brood you have going now, wow! Congrats on your coloring book sales, thumbs up for gorilla marketing my friend! Have a wonderful week xx

    • Billybuc April 5, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      Thumbs up, Irish! You are doing the same thing in your own way, finding a way to promote your products…thinking outside the box….no wonder I like you so much.

  8. phoenix2327 April 6, 2017 at 8:48 am #

    First off, great news about your colouring book. Not surprised though, it’s quite well done.

    Next, inspiration. Now, this is a pet peeve of mine because so many articles and books say you should write regardless if you’re feeling inspired or not. That the act of writing will bring about the muse. Sometimes it does and inspiration does come. Most times it just brings frustration. What’s a body to do?

    Hope it’s sunny where you are so you can enjoy your day. Remember to post pictures of the new arrivals.

    • Billybuc April 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

      Rain, rain, and more rain here, but it’s a great day to write, so no complaints. I keep forgetting to take picture of the new girls. Thanks for the reminder. If the rains stop long enough for me to get out there I’ll do that today. Thanks, Zulma!

  9. Sageleaf April 6, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    I listened to a podcast a few months ago about a novelist who had published quite a few novels, and was quite successful with them. But then she broke into doing coloring books and let me tell you, that is her bread and butter – she said her four coloring books have outsold her novels by 4 times!
    Not that that’s why we do this. I’ve always been drawn to art, probably a bit more than writing, and have been on a lifelong quest to put these passions (along with a couple others) together to form a cohesive whole.
    For the first time ever, I finally feel like I’m on the right track. It’s been a carefully curated process and with the release of my coloring book soon, I hope that I’ll continue on an upward trajectory. 🙂
    So glad these are going well for you. They’re quite good and quite awesome! Gooood for you and hooray! 🙂

    • Billybuc April 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      Aww, thanks Lil Sis! I’m not artist like you, but I have fun piecing them together and telling a story…teaching a little…can’t help myself, the teacher is always there. 🙂 Hugs from Olympia my dear friend.

  10. Linda Lum April 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    Good morning Bill, and a rainy one it is (yet) again. My muse has been silent lately. Perhaps the problem is that although I turn my back I still occasionally look over my shoulder. Thank you for encouraging us and sharing your knowledge every week.

    • Billybuc April 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

      She’s just taking a break, Linda. Perhaps she has the rainy glooms we all have. I have no doubt she will return. In the meantime, plant some seeds. It will make you feel better.

      Thank you my friend.

  11. Christy B April 6, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    Bill, that’s wonderful news about the coloring book ~ I’m so happy for you!! And great analogy with the quail too. Keep writing and, as you say, don’t let negative thoughts get in the way of that ((hugs))

    • Billybuc April 6, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

      Thank you Christy! Who would have known about the coloring books? And negative thoughts? I don’t spend much time on negativity, my friend. Life is too short.

      hugs from Olympia

  12. Karen Szklany Gault April 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    Sometimes, when my muse is being rather elusive, I wonder if she is waiting for me to do some internal work with myself to make myself ready to receive the gifts she has to give me. That is when I go walk our labyrinth and swing on swings….~:0)

    • Billybuc April 20, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

      Great point, Karen! It’s sort of like being “idea constipated,” and needing a laxative of nature or peacefulness before you can write again. 🙂

  13. Shauna L Bowling May 8, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

    Congratulations on your coloring book sales, Bill! Whodathunkit, huh?

    • Billybuc May 8, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

      Certainly not me, Sha! No way I saw it coming. 🙂 Thanks so much.

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