Risky Regencies

Muses and Taxes

Short post today and I don’t have great excuses, just TAXES. I procastinated. Again. And I as I sorted through the myriad of boxes where I put the records, not in anything like organized folders, I swore that next year will be better. Again.

Anyway, I have a 10:30 am appointment with the accountant so I gotta rush.

As I was searching for all the receipts of books I’ve purchased in the last year, a goodly number of those being research books, I recalled that I’m supposed to write an article for next month’s Wet Noodle Posse Ezine
called “Ten Tips on Feeding Your Muse.”

I have a few ideas about this, like getting a good night’s sleep (something taxes do not fascilitate) or going to see Washinton DC’s Cherry Blossoms in the Tidal Basin (they peaked yesterday!) I’m not sure I have ten of them, and if I do they are probably in a dozen different boxes upstairs.

So Risky Regencies readers, what are your favorite ways of feeding your muse, that creature who goes on a hunger strike once in a while and leaves you staring blankly at the computer monitor, hands unmoving on the keyboard?

Gotta go. (Yipes, I’ll probably be late!) When I get back, I’ll be looking for at least ten tips on how you feed your muse. I promise to give Risky Regencies credit!

Cheers!, Diane

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Elena Greene
15 years ago

Doing some sort of art project that is fun and low stakes-a form of Artist’s Date. Last year I blogged about one of my favorites: going to the Corning Museum of Glass and making something at the walk in workshop.

Reading a research book that is NOT directly related to my current work-in-progress.

OK, there you have 2 ideas. 🙂

Cara King
15 years ago

I love movies.

That is, I love movies anyway (big surprise!) but I also find they feed the muse. Sitting there, gazing at huge vistas (while hearing stirring music), plus of course gorgeous costumes or interesting-looking people, I feel inspired. I can get ideas, or at least capture an emotion.

I even thought of a bit of dialogue while watching a movie yesterday.

Cara

Kalen Hughes
15 years ago

Books. I spent almost a thousand dollars on books in 2006.

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

I’m baaaaaack. I consoled myself by stopping by the Talbot Outlet and buying a pair of shoes, three pairs of pants and one top.

Elena, I’ve visited the Corning Museum of Glass!! I didn’t know there was a workshop. But what a beautiful place. Decorative glass always seems peaceful to me.

Cara, I’ve overstuffed my Muse with FOUR viewings of 300. FOUR (so far)

Kalen, you are I must be book soulmates. I’m sure I spent that much, but I could not find the documentation…Next year I’ll be organized, though.
Ha!!

But buying research books feeds the Muse big time!

georg
15 years ago

Tea- the full ritual with loose leaf, tea pot, tea kettle, sugar cubes and milk, and if I really feel like procrastinating, baking real scones to have with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and cucumber or cress sandwiches with the crusts cut off and fed to the birds. Nuking a mug internal eh microwave is Not The Same.

Lois
15 years ago

Well, there’s always surf the internet, eat, or play solitaire. . . that tended to work for me in school. 🙂

Lois

Kalen Hughes
15 years ago

Kalen, you are I must be book soulmates. I’m sure I spent that much, but I could not find the documentation…Next year I’ll be organized, though. Ha!!

I buy most of them online, then at the end of the year all I have to do is look up a history of my purchases by year. Amazon and ABE books will both let you do this (or something close enough to work). A couple other sites won’t, so I lost out on some books. A lesson learned.

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Diana, I tried the let’s be super organized, keep a computer spreadsheet of expenses, etc. That went down the drain really fast. So now, I have a manila folder that I start at the beginning of the new year in which anything tax related goes in (donations receipts, book purchase receipts, car license renewals, 1099s, W-2s, childcare, etc. etc.). Then come early March, I take it out and go through it. This way, I don’t have the headache of being too organized throughout the year, but things are in one folder instead of THAT pile of paper that has taken up one table in the study.

Elena Greene
15 years ago

Diane, I think the walk-in workshops at CMOG are a relatively new thing. You can do sandblasting, fusings and make blown glass flowers or beads. Very fun. 🙂

Keira, I use pretty much the same method to track my writing expenses. I throw everything in one folder until it’s time to deal with it. It works.

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

georg, I love your Tea ritual! I must try that one for sure. I tend to be a teabag and microwave tea drinker (hangs head in shame)

Lois, if your way worked, my Muse should weigh a ton!
Seriously, when I think about it, that does work sometimes. It is another way to get away from the dilemma and to let it all germinate in the unconscious.

Kalen and Keira, next year I must write a Ten Tips for Dealing with Your Taxes column!
It was a revelation to me when a friend told me she never saves bill stubs, like for electric, water, cable, etc. When I thought about it over the years when did I ever have to pull out an old bill?

What does kill me is all the paper generated by medical care. I get more of that than anything! I should learn to throw that away too!

Diane

Jane George
15 years ago

I like to go for a walk when the well threatens to run dry. I need a trail relatively close to nature though, not streets. Luckily my area accomodates my muse’s requirements. Showers and baths work well for bringing forth the answers to specific Muse questions, like “Where is the heroine’s brother?” or “How the bleep do I fix that gaping plot hole?”

On taxes:
I took Stephanie Feagan’s on-line Taxes for Writers class and wrote off my writing expenses for the first time this year even though I have not yet made dime one. My CPA supported my deductions and I even got the math right! However, when I told him it took me all afternoon to figure out the depreciation form, he told me to stick to what I’m good at. (I hope he meant writing. And I better go get busy so I can have something in the plus column next year!)

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Jane George,

I should take a walk…I have not found showers or baths to be conducive to anything but getting clean. But I’ve heard that alot from other people.

Re: Taxes. Stef is a member of the Wet Noodle Posse, as is our Risky Janet Mullany. What a cool lady.

I deducted writing expenses for about 3 or 4 years until I sold in 2004. Only today did the accountant ask if I’d made a profit. (I did)

Judy T
Judy T
15 years ago

I suppose it depends on the circumstances. Allowing myself to be creative in other areas seems to help, sort of like exercising different muscles but the whole body benefits. I like baking (I know you don’t, Diane, so it’s no help to you). But I’ve recently discovered that my best avenue is someplace crowded. I excape through the writing. Then later, when I type in what I’ve written, I’m able to flesh out and expand the original ideas. I’ve also found switching to a different WIP (even simply outlining one) helps.

As for taxes, I’ve one box for anything that I might need. I’ve a lovely little cross-cut shredder for taxes older than seven years and receipts like groceries, etc. I also having a document with running tabs. It takes a few seconds to update each time, but saves my sanity in the end.

Tracy Grant
15 years ago

Most of mine have already been mentioned–movies, music, reading, visiting writing-related websites :-), getting up from the computer and doing something else that takes thought but not *that* much thought (working out, house work) so I can still work through the book-related problem. Probably the most effective though is just forcing myself to get *something* written :-).

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Judy T
Yes! You’ve said that before, that you go someplace crowded! It is counter intuitive, but brilliant, because it is people who can spark ideas. Must remember that.

Re: Taxes. I think I’m going to do that. I’ll try to confine my boxes to only two – Taxes and non-taxes. And I made an exel spreadsheet, so I might as well use it! I already entered books on it.

Tracy, you are right. just getting “something” on paper is a good thing!

Susan Wilbanks
15 years ago

Like Elena, I make a point of regularly reading nonfiction/history that doesn’t have anything obvious to do with any of the projects in my pipeline. I feel like that keeps me from getting too stale or narrowly focused and ensures that I’ll get new ideas to add to my pipeline/mental back burner.

Also, music–both listening to it and developing soundtracks for my projects and singing in my church choir. I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but one of the pleasures of choir for me is that it’s a creative, challenging endeavor where I’ve already proven myself good enough, unlike writing, where I’m still trying to find my niche and get that first call from a publisher.

Jane George
15 years ago

Diane,
Congrats on the profit!! Thanks for telling me you deducted before you sold, too. It’s my way of taking it seriously, and making it happen.

And Stef’s class was fabulous. Now I’ve got spreadsheets… and a clue. 🙂

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Jane George, I even used to console myself about rejection letters, telling myself at least I had something to show the IRS!

Jane George
15 years ago

Ha ha ha hahaha… I pulled one out of the mailbox today and thought the exact same thing!

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

I feed my muse with movies and new experiences — sometimes just driving down a road I haven’t taken before. I don’t do that one as often with the new gas prices but sometimes I think it’s worth it.

I also love to walk into bookstores or libraries and just wander through the rows of books. I don’t check any out — just look at all the titles on the rows and know that mine are in good company.

As for taxes, I keep folders for most categories and once a month, rent a movie that I’ve been wanting to see. Then I put all my papers in the appropriate folder, ready to be tallied in March for taxes. That way I don’t mind doing the paperwork, catch up on a movie I was wanting to see, and have most papers ready when I have to get organized for tax season.

And I’ve deducted for writing for years. Figured those rejection letters were good for something! (just had a call from my accountant and we get a refund!! This is a big deal in our household.)

Terry M (who is having trouble with blogger and couldn’t find her identity!)

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Diane, you know that the profit means you aren’t spending enough on books. 🙂

Judy T
Judy T
15 years ago

And thanks for the sleep tip. I hadn’t thought of that, and it really does help.

Todd
15 years ago

Doing scientific research is not the same as writing a book–I guess that’s an obvious statement–but you do need to have creative ideas sometimes. For me, it often works when two ideas that I’ve picked up in different places hook together. So I try to keep my focus from getting too narrow, or I’ll never bump into the two ideas. 🙂

Weirdly enough, on at least two occasions I actually consciously decided “I will have an idea now,” and I did! Can’t say that it works very often, though.

As for taxes…haven’t even started yet. 🙁 Don’t tell my wife, though!

Todd-who-is-sure-it-will-take-no-more-than-half-an-hour

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Todd,
A half hour?? Ha ha ha Poor deluded soul.

I like that “I’ll have an idea now.” Must try that. It is better than, “Oh, my gosh, I’ll never have another idea in my life!”

Todd
15 years ago

Diane wrote:

A half hour?? Ha ha ha Poor deluded soul.

Shhh! Shhh! Don’t tell my wife!

Todd-who-may-have-vaguely-implied-that-the-taxes-were-all-taken-care-of

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