Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere



It’s a subdued Tuesday. The weather is gray and has returned to the less-enjoyable cool that reminds us it’s still April in MN. Gray, windy, damp-ish, and bleh. Kinda like my malaise right now.

Writers experience a rollercoaster of varying moods. Our ups are fueled by getting lots of writing done in a day, sending queries out, starting/finishing new stories, or receiving useful feedback from CPs on a project. The down moods are sustained by rejections received from the last batch of queries, a plot stumbling block, or a glance at the calendar showing the volume of real life activities that cut into our writing time.

I love my story and my characters, and so do a number of my beta readers. The book’s been hammered, revised, fine-tuned, polished, and showered with hopeful energy. I’ve got readers anxious for the book, and a beta reader asking for the sequel. Self-publishing is an option, but I’d like to try for the traditional route, at least for a year or two. Rejection is part of the process, and a partial or full request means that I’m doing something right–someone was interested enough to want to see more. It just stings to get the “thanks, but it’s not for me” email. Sometimes the sting is worse, especially when it’s from an agent or publisher we felt would really connect with the book.

My Muse hands me a bottle of craft beer. “I told you not to get your hopes up, love.”

I accept the beer. He already popped the top off and snapped it across the room, nailing the trash bin, as usual. Show-off. It’s a good brew; he managed somehow to get his hands on a flavorful lager I tasted during my writing sisters reunion last year. “I usually don’t. You know that.”

“But because the publisher likes series, you thought they’d be interested. You finally wrote up that series outline just for them.”

“I’ve got the first book done, and the drafts for the next three books written. Hell, I’ve got solid plans for four more books.”

He leans forward, elbows on knees, beer bottle dangling from his fingers. “You knew your contest entry this year wasn’t going to do as well as the one from last year. You were still riding the low from that when you got the rejection. You know better.” He checks his watch. “I’ll give you a few more hours to mope, then we’re going to send out more queries. And then we’re going to dive back into revision mode for your WIP.”

“Hours? I need chocolate. Hell, I need a bubble bath, wine, and chocolate. It’s a delayed reaction to the fifty-plus rejections I’ve gotten since I started this game. I need more than hours. I need days.”

He snorts, finishes his beer, and glares at me with his intense blue eyes. “Bullshit. You’re feeling sorry for yourself. You’re a writer; suck it up. What is it you always say? Art is subjective. Just because you wouldn’t pay thousands of dollars for a piece of canvas painted via jet engine exhaust doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. Remember how you felt about ‘Citizen Kane’?”

“You mean the Orson Welles movie that’s considered one of the best films of all time? Yeah. It sucked.”

“So you say. Just don’t tell that to all the people who like it.” He adds his empty bottle to the recycling bin and pulls a fresh one out of the mini-fridge he keeps stocked. “There’s someone out there who will love your book; it just might take a while to cross paths with him or her. Get your head back in the game, love. You will be ready to write when I get back.”

“When will that be?”

He opens his beer and snaps the bottlecap across the room. This time, he misses the trash. He saunters over, picks the cap up, and drops it in the bin. “Not going to tell you. Just be ready to write.” He vanishes.

I hate it when he does that. Would it kill him to use the door? Sigh. He’s right, of course, but don’t tell him that. He’s smug enough as it is.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep the positive attitude. We are allowed to mope every once in a while. The important part is to remember that we are artists with words, art is very subjective, and above all: don’t quit. We’re writers; we’ll go crazy if we don’t write. So climb out of the funk, strap on that creativity helmet, sharpen your wit, and get back in the game!

Also, take a peek at our new guest blog post over on MeetYourMainCharacter. Don’t forget to check out the Random Topic for the month: Memories of an Aircraft Mechanic.


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.

2 thoughts on “Subdued

  1. Too true. Sometimes being a writer feels a lot like being a punching bag, especially when the rejections are streaming in. But we have to just keep writing! I guess this is my cue to stop moping and get working. 🙂 Thanks for the push!

    Liked by 1 person

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