Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Gearing up


Moon_Man_840669It’s been a week since my wonderful Mad City (aka Madison) writers’ conference, and I’m digging in. Locked and loaded. Replenishing my stock of craft beer and hunting for just the right atmosphere in my writing office.

Why all the “buckle down and get my sh** together”?

“I found some Moon Man.” My Muse sets a six-pack of craft beer next to the dorm-sized refrigerator.

“Where? I can’t get it in Minnesota, only in Wisconsin.”

He lays a hand on my shoulder. “I’ve got connections, love. Besides, you don’t get any until you get through the blizzard scenes.”

I’m almost there. I should be able to finish those revisions by tomorrow night. “No chocolate?”

He drops into the recliner within arm’s reach of the fridge. Today he’s wearing that burgundy thermal shirt I adore (mostly because it fits him just right) and tan cargo pants, the kind with legs you can unzip and turn into long shorts. They’re perfect for this time of year, with cool mornings and nice warm afternoons.

“Not until you get through the B&E scene. You still need to talk to Sierra about that.” He flips up the footrest and laces his hands behind his head. He’s way too comfortable, if you ask me. “Speaking of, I told her to meet you in a couple days. She’s waiting for my call.”

Uh-huh. I’ll bet she is. I would, too, if it meant listening to his baritone voice with the Aussie accent. “Can you adjust the scenery, please?” Right now, the view from my office window is a wide, grassy field with a tree line in the distance and what I think is a lake beyond that. “Try the mountain cabin by stream.”

“I’ve got a better idea, love.” The view goes blurry. When it comes back into focus, it’s a tropical landscape of a white beach, turquoise water, and palm trees. I can smell the salt and the sea.

“I was hoping to look at something that doesn’t make me want to order umbrella drinks and doze off in the sun.”

My Muse shakes his head. “Fine.” The image changes again, this time into a vision of redwoods and ferns so thick the sunlight is muted. “Better?”

“It’ll do.” I hand him my scene map. “I’m here. I need to be here,” I slide my finger down the column, “by tonight.”

An eyebrow arches. “I haven’t seen you this determined in a long time, love.”

“A positive response to my pitch–from multiple agents, mind you–will do that.” It still hasn’t sunk in. “I need to get this shined up in two months.” It’s my own deadline, but I all but swore I’d hit it.

On that last day of the conference, my writing sister talked about resetting one’s “success-ometer”. We hit our goals, mark our successes, then set new benchmarks to hit. Sure, we can set our goal way out into the future, but it might take weeks, months, or years to get there.spedometer-full-size

By accepting our step-by-step successes, we can feel like we’re moving forward, because we are. The first success might be finishing the first draft of your novel. Then reset the meter to finishing x number of revisions, or sending the story to your critique partners, or sending it out to beta readers. The next success might be revising based on their feedback, then writing the query and synopsis. Maybe include writing the pitch and logline.

Reset the meter to “sending out queries.” My next one, back when I started this journey, was receiving a rejection. Why? Because it meant I’d sent out a query.

My current “success-ometer” is set to getting my WIP in shape by mid-June. I’ve warned the family that Mom (me) won’t be available much until I hit that mark. I’ve got an awesome opportunity I need to grab hold of with both hands. I write with the support of my family and my Writing Sisters. Especially my Writing Sisters, who helped me wrangle my “meh” plot into a “wow” plot, and keep pushing me to improve.

My Muse pries a cap off a bottle of brew and tosses it into the garbage. “Finish up, love. You WIP won’t revise itself.”

Have a great weekend, and Write ON!




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.

10 thoughts on “Gearing up

  1. I like the idea of a success meter and that it continually needs reset. What a great way to view our goals and the marks we hit. Sounds like you are really set to dig in. Sending good vibes to you and your muse. I plan to keep Mr. E busy this weekend, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lots of energy there, Julie. Your success-o-meter sounds like a great tool that is paying off. Glad to hear the agent pitches went well. June is right around the corner, but it sounds like you’re pumped. Hey, what about the garden? Wouldn’t it be great if muses could pitch in and weed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, man, that’d be great, wouldn’t it? A co-worker asked me yesterday about the garden, as I was going on about writing, etc. Er, yeah. Still a little cool, but I could put some stuff in like beets and spinach. The garden’s not tilled yet, and I have my garden babies in the house, so there’s a little time before that new time-draw. And yes, dammit, I’m gonna have a smaller garden this year. Promise!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! As I’m reading this, I’m polishing my first 50 pages (for the last time, I hope) at the Lake Geneva Public Library, sitting at the picture window overlooking the lake. Views can be distracting, but I’m determined to write. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lisa! Yep, I said that about my first 50 … about three times ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish our library was open more so I could do the same, but since my daughter works there now, might be too distracting. Keep writing, Sistah!


  4. I love your โ€œsuccess-meterโ€ idea – yes, every step is a great success! Perhaps a small celebration for each one too! Best of luck with your June deadline – enjoy and wonderful you have your writing sisters to support each other. But you need the chocolate!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooo, I like the idea of a small celebration of each step on the meter. And yes, chocolate! I’ve got some good stuff stashed (not as good as the “real” Mozart chocolate in Salzburg, though), so I’m definitely planning to enjoy that when I hit the next success. Thanks, Annika! Also, I haven’t forgotten about the Liebster Award, but it might be a few weeks yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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