Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Leader Board


One wall of my writing office is now home to a dry-erase board where a grid is laid out. In the leftmost column is a list of projects, including WIPs and NaNo drafts that have been set aside while I’m working on my latest project, whatever that might be.

The other columns have titles like Current WIP, Shelved, Querying, Requests, Contests, Querying on Hold, Next WIP, NaNo Draft, and Sh** Can. I’ve got one project marked in the Shelved column, one in the Querying on Hold column, and a bunch in the NaNo Draft column.

I stand back and ponder my options. I’ve spent so much time lately on my current WIP, I need a break. The question is, do I pull out one of the “Next WIPs”, or do I start a column labeled “New Projects”?

My Muse reaches past me, brushing against my shoulder, to point at one project. “Why is this marked for the bin? This one has potential.”

I dot the title with my marker. “Because it’s the one where I finally figured out I needed to split it into two different projects.” I point to another title. “This is the one I haven’t worked on yet. The other part is my current WIP.”

“Speaking of, what’s the plan with that one? You done with it or what?”

I’m really close to marking that one in the Querying column. I think I need to let it rest a bit. “Not sure.”

My Muse rests an arm around my shoulders. “It’s okay to take a break, love. Take a day or two.”

“I need more than a couple days. I’ve got months of real-life stuff I’m behind on. My son is moving to college next week, and I haven’t caught up with some of that yet. Reviewing move-in schedules and that stuff. He hasn’t even looked up his books yet.”

“So why are you staring at the leader board? Go, do your RL stuff. I’ll just hang out here, maybe give Mr. E a call.”

Mae said she’s on a deadline with the third Point Pleasant book. I think Mr. E will be quite busy for a while.”

My Muse stands to face me in front of the board, crosses his arms on his broad chest. His royal blue muscle shirt leaves his biceps exposed. Mmm. Looks like he’s spent some time in the sun; no farmer’s tan for him (you know, the one that stops where the t-shirt sleeves start). “Okay, love, what’s wrong? There’s something eating at you.”

“Once I’m satisfied my WIP is ready for subbing, I don’t know what to work on next. I was going to work on ‘Spring Brook’ since I’ve got an outline started–needs a new title–but I keep coming back to my WIP characters. My writing sisters love the WIP and the characters, and so do I. I don’t know if I should start laying out another book with them instead. I feel like I should wait to see how much interest there is for my WIP first, but I need to work on something.”

“Well, you have your epic fantasy,” he turns and points to it on the board. “You’ve got your contemporary fantasy.”

“Ugh. That needs an overhaul.”

“You’ve got the next three books in the Donovan and Drake series.”

I shake my head. “I don’t want to spend time on those until the first one is picked up.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Really? So, you’re dismissing the option of self-publishing that series? I’m crushed.”

He’s only bummed because Donovan has a lot in common with him. They’re both handsome Australians. “I’m not dismissing it. I need the other books to be as polished as the first one so I can release them relatively quickly.” Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea, since the drafts of the other books are finished.

“And the problem with that?”

“I’m not as connected to Donovan and Drake right now. I’m in tune with my WIP characters, since I’ve been working with them for the past, er, long time.”

“And maybe you need to let them rest.” He lays a hand on my shoulder and squeezes. “Take a break for a couple days. Catch up on stuff. You’ll figure it out.” He lets go and heads toward the door. “I still think you should work with Donovan and Drake.”

“I’m sure you do.”

What do you do when you finish one project? Do you know what your next project will be? Do you pull a draft out of the queue or do you start outlining something fresh? I usually start something new for NaNo, but I’m hoping there will be interest in my WIP, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll be working with a mentor on it. If not, maybe I will try another Quinn and Sierra story for NaNoWriMo.

Decisions, decisions!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Keep on writing!






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.

11 thoughts on “Leader Board

  1. Hmmm…Mr. E. has been avoiding me lately. I think there have been pub crawls on the sly with your muse 🙂

    You have so many good projects to choose from. I think if you give it a bit longer you’re bound to feel a strong pull in one direction or another (sounds like you already have some preferences going on).

    I normally have another story percolating and clamoring for attention whenever I’m working on a book. Normally at the halfway point of the current WIP, I might start making random notes for the one that’s clamoring for attention. I’ve got two ideas already for after I finish book 3 of the Point Pleasant Series. One is a trunk novel that needs an overhaul and the other is something brand new that Mr. E. is doing a fair share of pestering about.

    Tomorrow I’ll be diving back into writing. Today, I think the pool is calling. Have a great writing weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, maybe you’re right. My Muse has been suspiciously absent for periods of time lately. 🙂 Since it isn’t quite so hot today, I think I’ll spend some time weeding. Ugh. It rained the past couple days, so I had an excuse to stay inside.

      Heh–lucky duck with a pool and everything! I’ll be lounging by my imaginary pool in my daydreams 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So interesting, Julie, that you have so many projects floating around! I’m amazed. I’m a one project at a time girl. One project, start to end, full immersion, no distractions. As I’m doing my final final draft I begin visualizing the next, but not until then. Your muse is right that it’s okay to take a break for some RL. Sometimes that’s all it takes for the next step to percolate to the surface 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Impressive that you’ve got several things going on at once. Cool that your muse is so supportive.
    Ummm… cat pictures?!?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great to hear you buzzing with work, balancing projects! I have kept a couple of projects on the go before but nothing more.

    Liked by 1 person

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