Edging toward the 3 Day Novel Contest: Court Your Muse with These Three Questions

Hullo my pretties!

I remember when we had postcards!

Here we are again, almost mid-august and I am thinking about what I might play with during the annual 3 Day Novel Contest.

I haven’t felt the kiss of the Muse in the usual way. No full blown story idea has landed in my heart yet.

There have been a few characters popping up to whisper in my ear. More about their… ways of being in the world… than any specific story they’d like to share with us. But that’s cool. At least they are here, making themselves known, right?

There have been some thoughts of interesting STRUCTURES I might play with.
• What if I make a ZINE?
• What if I do linked stories this year, since I very much want to spend the coming year working on … shorter things.

Today I am here to play with some prompts that might open the door a bit wider for my musing Muse.
I decided to do this “in public” because… Maybe these prompts will help you as well—whether you plan to play with me on the contest weekend, or are just seeking some inspiration and contact with your muse.

OK. Diving in.

What have I been pondering?

LONELINESS The seeming truth that there are so many people in today’s world who feel alone. Who lack connection with others. The pandemic exacerbated this, I imagine, but I have seen it at work in my own life and the lives of others since I landed on this planet. I think of the Hitorigurashi, hikikomori, and the Kodokushi or Lonely Death phenomenon in Japan.

That ongoing blue feeling of … NEVER doing (being) ENOUGH. As so beautifully touched upon in A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers. I have wrestled with this feeling my whole life. Wrestled and also simply… sat with it as an existential truth, just part of my existence.

Wow – this feels a bit sad, eh? Hmm.

And yet… to continue in this vein…

My mind is also obsessed with the current CLIMATE–both the climate crisis we find ourselves in and the climate of our country, the big country to the south of us, and so many others. The polarization. The deep anger being felt and expressed by so many citizens.

What am I yearning for?

JOY – simple joys found in nature, in connection with other humans and all manner of beings. This is linked to COMFORT and CONNECTION, I believe.

WAYS TO TEND to others without draining myself. The story tending and the work I do with writers is right up there with tending to family, friends and any being I meet along the way.

all of these tying back to…SIMPLICITY.

What questions might I want to ask (of myself or characters or my readers)?

  • Where do you find joy?
  • What wakes you in the night, or where does your mind go when you find yourself staring at the ceiling at 3AM?
  • Can you share one moment of bliss with me? What was happening? Where were you? Who was with you? How… oh how did it feel. Was it linked to connection? Did you feel at home here on earth?
  • Can you tell me about your despair and will sharing it lighten the load?
  • Can you tell me a funny story? I’d love to hear a funny story.

That would be a nice way to spend a weekend, yeah? In the company of these curious folk. Exploring these questions.

How are things going for you?


If you’re still reaching towards an idea for the labour day weekend, pour yourself a tasty beverage and spend some time with these three questions and see what rises to the surface.

What have I been pondering?
What am I yearning for?
What questions might I want to ask (of myself or characters or my readers)?

I’d love to hear how it goes.

Take care.
Happy scribbling ~pam

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Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Activist Poet

Poetry, essays and other musings by Cathy Standiford

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Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Activist Poet

Poetry, essays and other musings by Cathy Standiford

Keeping the Dream

The Healing Journey and Covert Abuse

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