When the Muse Takes Me
John Mc Caffrey
I have never been one for self-imposed writing schedules. I know many writers do, but it doesn’t work for me. I may not write for weeks, then hit the keys hard for a few months, averaging about 2500-5000 words a day. I read that Stephen King can write as many as 50k words a day, which just amazes me. The only time I ever set a goal was when I wrote my first novel, and I set myself a dead line for a particular month I wanted to be finished. I only just made it.
Usually I write late at night, long after everyone’s gone to bed. I find it adds mood to the material. I always have music playing when I write, either classical or new age, volume turned low. If I have notes I’m following, I’ll have those strewn on the desk in front of me and a cup of tea. Then I just go at it until I find a place where I want to stop. Sometimes, I need to stop; closing a scene or chapter. I often like to stop at crucial changes to gain a fresh perspective the following day. To allow what I’ve written to simmer overnight. These are my prolific times.
I wrote Nora’s Wish during one of these prolific times. It held me to the keys for days until I was able to finish it. Some stories have that effect on me, as if they take on a life of their own, demanding to be written. I felt a connection with the major characters in Nora’s Wish, and as a result, many parts of the book almost seemed to write itself. A little strange perhaps, but that’s the way it felt. It’s much the same way when I write anything, especially when I’m dealing with the characters, often times it’s as if they speak to me, and I just jot down what they’re saying.
Not all of what I consider my writing time is about the creative process, or should I say, tapping away at the keys. I also put aside a lot of time for editing, rewriting, and reading what I wrote the day before. I’ll process ideas, going over my notes when I’m able to read them, (I have horrible penmanship), elaborating or discarding plots. I don’t web surf or go on social media when I’m writing. I don’t answer the phone or start rearranging my desk. I stay focused on the task at hand and every now and then, if I’m lucky, everything around me ceases to exist. I enter that creative area of my brain where nothing matters except for what I’m writing. Hours can pass during these times and it’s usually when I’m at my most prolific and most creative. I don’t get writers block, and to be frank, I don’t believe it exists. When I’m in the mood for writing, I can always find something to do. It’s all about the craft and the desire to be better at it than you were the day before.
by John Mc Caffrey
Ben Jameson is a bitter retiree residing at Willow Manor, a home for the aged or those in need of care, and has nothing more to do than await the inevitable conclusion of a life wasted. Forgotten by his family, his days are marked by the solitary existence of books, loneliness, and regret.
A chance meeting with a terminally ill resident named Nora, and her unshakeable optimism in the face of her eventual demise, rekindles emotions he was certain were gone forever. Nora reawakens his ability to love, and with her compassion and her companionship, he comes to realize that even a life as wasted as his own can be salvaged and, given the right incentive, is still worth living.
As Nora’s health declines, they both dare to hope that the magic of a strange pendant Ben purchased from an antique shop as a gift for Nora will overcome the odds, offering them more time with one another.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — John Mc Caffrey writes tales of horror, the supernatural, science fiction, and fantasy. He was born in Illinois and grew up on the south side of Chicago. While still in grade school, he developed a passion for reading through the works of Tolkien, Poe, and Lovecraft as well as being addicted to watching Hammer Film’s at the local Saturday matinee. Today he lives in Northern Indiana with his wife where he writes in his spare time.