Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

After NaNo (and a note from a Muse)

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TGIF all! Not sure why this week has seemed longer than usual; maybe it’s because of the short holiday week last week. Best part of the next week: a warmup! Yes, you heard right, we’ll finally see a week–yes, a whole 5 days–of above-freezing temps. In MN. In December. Of course, we wouldn’t be nearly as excited about it if we hadn’t just suffered through a November where there were more days below freezing than above.

Oh, snap. Gotta run. I’ll get back to you later.

—Okay, she’s gone. Gads, ever since NaNoWriMo started she’s been annoying. Always wanting to force her characters to do things her way. Well, guess what? That didn’t work out so well for her this year. I told her to finish the outline, but who am I, anyway? Only her Muse. That’s right, Muse with a capital M.

So she didn’t finish her outline. Talk about frustrating. I tried to remind her that winning the contest and prepping and submitting the full mss of said contest-winning book to the requesting agent was an absolutely necessary endeavor, but she still needed to spend time on her outline if she wanted to finish the novel in 30 days. Damn, after doing NaNo for nine years, hitting 50k words is nothing, but the book from start to finish is really what she does it for. The outline is her guide, and she’s allowed to wander as long as she keeps the end in sight. Otherwise, she loses focus, as she demonstrated in this year’s NaNo. And last year’s.

 It wouldn’t have mattered so much if she’d just done the next Donovan and Drake book like I suggested back in September. She’s got those stories built in her head already; my personal space is chock full of them. No, she had to reboot the romantic mystery AGAIN. Granted, the story needed a dead body, which it didn’t have the first time around, but brainstorming in August doesn’t help in November if she doesn’t at least draw up a rough timeline.

Piece of advice from one muse to another: Stay on your writer’s ass. I mean it. You know those commercials with the stupid monkey on someone’s back? That needs to be you. It’s your responsibility to bug the hell out of your writer until the only way you stop is when they write. And sometimes they’re so fecking aggravating it makes you want to walkabout for a good long time. Resist the temptation, because you know as soon as you find the perfect spot on that tropical beach, you’ll be yanked back to your writer’s side because she needs to ride her “creative energy”. Creative energy, my ass. The energy is there all the time, she’s just got to use it. I’m here to help her do that; that’s my job.

I just wish I got paid for it.—

Okay, I’m back. Ah, hey, what the –? How does he do that?

On second thought, I guess I’d better just leave it. If I don’t, he’ll do it again. He’s damn persistent that way. Hey, maybe I can get him to write some of my blog posts so he doesn’t have to sneak around and hijack mine (and so I don’t have to do them). Paid? He wants to get paid? He’s lucky I haven’t decided to remake my Muse into a cat.


It’s the week after NaNo, and I hope all my fellow NaNoWriMos are recovering from thirty days of writing. Now, don’t start editing yet. It’s December, the holidays are fast approaching, and you need a break from the story. Set it aside; don’t you dare look at it for a month. At least. Spend time with the family you neglected during November. After the holidays, pull the mss out and jump on the Revision Ride!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

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