Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Close Eyes, Jump In


Sunday was the opening bell for my self-imposed NaNoWriMo. I aim for 2,000 words per day, which should get me to 50,000 words by the end of the month with a 6,000 word buffer.

The key being those 2k words. Every. Single. Day.

Which is the whole point of doing NaNo in the first place, at least in my mind. Everywhere we turn for writing advice, someone–well, many someones–say those three famous words: Write Every Day. And we all nod, smile, and make a mental commitment to do just that. And we do it today, tomorrow, and the next day, and maybe the next.

Then we skip a day because (pick one or more reasons): child sick, parent sick, self sick, sister had baby, sister-in-law had baby, daughter had baby, someone graduated and there’s a party, someone retired and there’s a party, there’s a party, the friend you haven’t seen in years is in town for one day only, the dog finally managed to swallow that stupid sock he’s been chewing on for the past week, etc.

Okay, we’ll get back to it tomorrow. We write a day, then something else comes up. So, we skip another day. And the next day something else comes up. Before we know it, it’s been a week and we haven’t written a word.

Sound familiar?

Yep, been there. Visit there on a regular basis, which just gives my guilt plenty of fodder for dragging my creative energy down. At least now I’ve learned (and yes, it took a looong while to learn it) I need to just sit down, pull out the pencil and paper (because it’s faster and more convenient than my laptop), and just scribble something. Anything. It especially helps when I write a note to my Muse; it’s like a siren’s call to him. And I need to do it every single day. Luckily, I now get paid to write–I switched from an IT career to technical writing, so technically I do write every day.

I’m talking creative writing. I’m talking the stuff I want to write. And I know nothing will get written in any reasonable amount of time if I don’t write every day. Hence, NaNoWriMo. Ten years ago I decided to try it for the sole purpose of forcing myself to get into the habit of writing every day. In October of that year, I started getting up at 4:30 in the morning so I’d have at least an hour to write before the kids got up. And it worked well, at least until I changed jobs and acquired a 45-60 minute commute (depending on weather and traffic). Now, I don’t write in the morning except on weekends. And I’ve fallen out of my daily writing habit. And I need to write a new book because I didn’t structure it right the first time when I tried writing it during NaNo a couple years back.

According to the experts (whomever they may be), a new habit takes about 21 to 28 days to form (but no one’s really proven that out, so we’ll just use the numbers as a ballpark). NaNoWriMo is perfect, then, because it’s 30 days. So, in theory, if you want to “win” NaNo, you have to write every day. And since I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing every day since the daily schedule-shattering chaos of the holidays, I need to do something to get that habit back. There’s still time to join the marathon–any takers?

Oh, BTW, so far I’m on par with my word count for two days in. I’ll try to remember to post my actual word count on Saturday–accountability is key. If I tell you all I’ll do it, well, I’d better do it. And I’d better make the quota so I don’t look bad 🙂

So, a take on Dory’s little ditty from Finding Nemo: Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing.



Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have 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. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six 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.

2 thoughts on “Close Eyes, Jump In

  1. My best wishes on your 2k words per day goal Julie. I know from personal experience how rewarding that writing goal can be — especially in discovering by the end of the day those 4 or 5 more new pages of completed text. Since I’ve written for several decades I also know there are occasionally times when the details of life can interfere and make hitting that goal a bit challenging. So, just in case it happens to you, since it did to me, don’t feel discouraged. Simply make a commitment to catch up over the next day or two. I so much admire your commitment. May those words flow swiftly!. ~ Rick


    • Thanks, Rick! I’m not quite hitting 2k words a day, but as you said, some days I hit over 2k, some less than 2k. I’m keeping my eye on the daily quota, and so far I’ve been able to keep up. I know that if I don’t commit to something like NaNo, where I have to just WRITE to make it to 50k, it takes forever to get the whole story down. Once it’s out of my head into a tangible form, I can dig into polishing it into something good. And thank you for your wonderful nature photography; your last pics of Death Valley were spectacular!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s