My Muse Is Not A Demon by Karen Fayeth

Photo by Paulo Carrolo on Unsplash

“My mind is like a carnival?” Karen Fayeth



I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write.

Is exactly what I wrote when trying that age old advice for writer’s block:

Sit down and write something, anything. Just get words on the page.

I’m not saying it is bad advice. Quite the contrary. But repeating the sentences isn’t working.

Oh, I know, I’ll try my old trick of using a random word generator.

*click* The word is: carnival.

A juicy word! Here we go.

Heeeere we go.

Go.

Ugh.

My mind is like a carnival?

That’s it, that’s all she wrote.

It’s more like the carnival that left town. Quiet. Dead. Random bits of debris blowing around.

That was almost lyrical and then it wasn’t. A sudden gust of wind that just as suddenly went still.

So goes the ongoing wrestling match with my demons. Well, not demons, that’s an unfair characterization. My Muse is not a demon and my demons are not Muses.

There are those who would say that having writer’s block is simply lack of discipline. Just sit down and write words is the cure.

I get the point but I think it’s unfair. I have always prided myself on being a disciplined writer. I don’t take for granted my ability to quite easily write a thousand words a day. It takes me about twenty minutes.

So when I say I’m blocked, it’s not for lack of words. Knocking out a thousand words with no purpose is unfulfilling. What I yearn for is that pull, that feeling of being in the flow, when the words that flow from my fingertips are not just words but a cohesive chain with something to say.

I have read the experts like Natalie GoldbergAnne Lamott, and Julia Cameron. They are all right and they are all wrong. Their guidance matters and at some point they have all helped me.

The best thing for me to remember is that the good words don’t go away forever. Writer’s block isn’t permanent. That is the focus that keeps me going, knowing they will return and we will flow together again.

But until that happens, I am both thirsty and hungry and yearn for pretty words and meaty thoughts and the satiation I can only feel after feasting on a good turn of phrase.

Until then, I will keep ahold of that good juicy random word. I will work it over like a bad tooth until I find the story that flows from the word carnival. I’ll carry it around in my virtual rucksack until I figure out how to build the word and sentences and phrases that go beyond “my mind is like a carnival.”

Somehow. Somewhere.

My carnival awaits.


Karen Fayeth (Oh Fair New Mexico): Raised most of my life in New Mexico, my job brought me to Northern California. I don’t usually identify myself as a Californian, simply a New Mexican living in California. In the first couple years after moving, I distanced myself from my home state thinking it backward and remote. Then I began to visit home more frequently and truly learned a love for my home state that only comes by gaining perspective. I’m a writer, a crafter, a photographer and labor at a “real job” during the days.

The Medium Platform, May Be a Good Place to Display Your Work – First Impressions from Karen Fayeth and Jamie Dedes

Medium.com logo / Public Domain

“Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives.” Medium About



Karen Fayeth (Oh Fair New Mexico) and I have been playing on Medium for about six weeks or so, checking it out and – each for our own reasons – are reservedly pleased. This is a online publishing platform started in 2012 by Evan Williams, former chairman and CEO of Twitter. It offers the opportunity to share “stories.”  They don’t say “posts.” These stories can be poems, flash fiction, fiction, creative nonfiction, opinion pieces and so forth. Today, we share our first impressions of Medium. We do plan to continue our experiments with Medium, at least for awhile. Should you decide to come along for the ride, do follow us so that we can follow you. / J.D.


First Impressions: Karen Fayeth (Oh Fair New Mexico and Karen on Medium)

I have been blogging since 2007 so going over to Medium felt at first like giving up a lot of control. The more I use the site, the more I have come to appreciate the ease of creating, editing and posting stories. They are doing all the management and maintenance of the site and I can just write. That is pretty cool.

That said, Medium does work in many ways like a social media site. By that I mean you  have to have plenty of followers and claps to get your work seen, and I don’t have a particularly large network. In the early days, Jamie was kind enough to give me a boost via her network, which is robust, and I’m grateful for the reads and comments. I’m slowly building my own network via reading and commenting on stories. I’ve also befriended some wonderful writers on the platform.

There are some writers who make a lot of money on Medium, and it’s easy to get caught up in feeling like I have to be at that level. There are lots and lots of stories on the site about how to make money on Medium and I did find myself feeling anxious, as though I had to write as often as they did and I had to make as much money as they did, and if I didn’t I was a failure. I’m a lot more sanguine now as there is NO WAY I can hold down a full time job and write 2 or 3 posts a day.

Now about the money, in the three months so far, the most I have made in a single month is $7.46. One might say that is a pittance, but to me, I’m actually getting paid to write. It’s small but it’s something.

During the week of November 17th, I challenged myself to write a post every day and while it was a lot of fun it was also a lot of hard work. As expected some of the stories did better than others.

I did try using a service that drives clicks to a link for one of my stories to see if sheer volume of clicks would help. That post has 550 clicks but only 35 reads, so it has made a grand total of .08. The earnings model really does depend on Medium users clicking the link and reading the story.

So to sum it all up, I would say I’m still learning and I’m cautiously optimistic.

KAREN FAYETH: Raised most of my life in New Mexico, my job brought me to Northern California. I don’t usually identify myself as a Californian, simply a New Mexican living in California. In the first couple years after moving, I distanced myself from my home state thinking it backward and remote. Then I began to visit home more frequently and truly learned a love for my home state that only comes by gaining perspective. I’m a writer, a crafter, a photographer and labor at a “real job” during the days.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day, The BeZine, and Jamie on Medium)

My focus is a bit different than Karen’s. I’m in search of platforms where I can have my say. I’m considering Spillwords and a few others as well. These for myself and on behalf of both off-and-online friends who post their poems on Facebook but are looking for somewhere more visually appealing to collect and showcase their work for access by others. These are folks who don’t want the burden or expense of a blog.

Medium might be ideal:

  1. It is in effect a minimalist blogging platform, easy and intuitive to use.
  2. Everything is maintained. No work on your part.
  3. No advertising. No clutter.

Other pros depending on what you are looking for:

  1. Ability to social network, if inclined.
  2. Potential to earn back your monthly $5 USD investment. I’d say posting poetry is not going to net much. Payments are based on time it takes to read. Poems will net you a few cents each. So far for November, I’ve earned $2.69. That’s with a couple of short stories thrown in.
  3. You get a “friends link” to go with each “story.” You can use your friends link in texts and emails and on Facebook, Twitter, or other micro-blogging and social media networks.

Possible Cons:

  1. Medium uses Strip for payments, which may work in counties where you haven’t been able to take advantage of opportunities that make payments via PayPal. You’ll have to do your homework on that. Neither PayPal nor Strip is available everywhere around the world.
  2. If as I am you are already heavily networking elsewhere, Medium might be just a bit too much of an addition.

You are able to register and feature your poems on Medium without a paying membership. They won’t be shared among Medium community members. Unlike Twitter, however, readers don’t have to be registered to read and folks outside the Medium Community can view your work whether or not you are a paying member.

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Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications:  Jamie Dedes, Versifier of Truth, Womawords Literary Press, November 19, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton