Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

A New Year, a Writing Project, and a Renewed Focus

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Now that everyone has (hopefully) recovered from the New Year revelries (you have recovered, right?), it’s time to take advantage of this last “holiday” weekend before getting back into the normal rhythm of everyday life. You know what I mean. Daily schedules have been thrown out of whack since Thanksgiving due to shopping, parties, preparing for parties, cleaning up after parties, more shopping, cooking, etc. And can’t forget the kids being on Christmas break. I’m so glad school starts back up on Monday!

Okay, got your New Year’s writing goals set?

No? What do you mean, no?

Can you write 500 words by tomorrow night? Really, 500 words isn’t much; this post is about 570 words long. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, even a recap of the kids opening presents under the tree, or watching the ball drop on television, or the less-than-tasty fruitcake your “favorite” aunt brought to the family gathering. I’ll bet you can do it. Describe in detail the delectable dessert your sister made, the luscious chocolate one with hints of raspberry and mocha. Compare it to clouds, write how the flavor reminded you of that Christmas years ago when Grandma accidentally burned the ham and had to substitute sloppy joes, and how the dessert totally made up for it.

Write a never-to-be-seen-by-anyone-who’s-related-to-you vignette about how embarrassed/pissed off you were when your brother showed up to watch the bowl games with six of his buddies in tow when you specifically told him the kids had the flu and you didn’t want any extra company because you weren’t feeling too good yourself. And how you knew you should have told him not to come over at all. Make sure you tell him he’s hosting bowl game day next year.

Set a writing project target. Take that pristine 2015 calendar, and put a sticker on January 31st, along with a note to write the first chapter of that book you’ve been meaning to write for the past decade. Just the first chapter. Give yourself an extra bonus if you get two chapters written. There’s your writing goal for the year: two chapters a month. Bonus points if you write more. One hour of writing a day: a half-hour while drinking coffee in the morning, and a half-hour before Jimmy Fallon comes on in the evening. And yes, recording your dictation of the chapter(s) during your commute to and from work counts, once you type it (or let the speech-to-text program do it for you).

Sound doable? Call up your best friend, the one who knows you’ve been talking about writing forever, and tell them they’re in charge of keeping you honest. Make sure they’re also the friend who can inspire you to keep going. I’m rebooting a mystery from NaNo 2013. My target is a complete rewrite by Feb 28, NaNoWriMo style. That boils down to 2,000 words a day, every day, in February. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you ever wondered what an immigration attorney’s day looks like? What does a South African think about MN winters? Ever wonder what a counterintelligence analyst does? MeetYourMainCharacter.com will be a resource for writers searching for details about everyday experiences, and some not-so-everyday experiences, to help you round out your characters and bring authenticity to your work. Ask us to help you. If we haven’t lived an experience ourselves, we probably know someone who has. Watch for news of the website launch in the next week or so.


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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