Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Roll Up Those Sleeves


My Muse enters my writing office as I tap the printout of my WIP into order. “Here.” He hands me a shiny blue box with German script on it and four chocolate treats inside. “It’s the good kind. From Salzburg.” He sets down a variety six-pack of beer labeled from the New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin. “Don’t say I never gave you anything. You feeling better today?”

“So far.” Yesterday was an exercise in keeping a rein on my agitation. Not sure why I was so crabby, but at least I managed to not bitch too much. And I did get a walk in at lunchtime. It should’ve been a glorious day, with the wonderful weather and no kids at home.

He leans a hip on the corner of my desk. “Well?”

“‘Well’ what?”

“Sorry you didn’t get a mentor again this year, but at least you got some feedback. They made good suggestions, you know.”

“I know.”

“Your writing sisters confirmed their suggestions, so why are you reluctant to dig in?”

“I’m not reluctant. Look,” I heft the 300-page printout, “I’ve got my WIP right here. I’m ready. Are you ready?”

He stares at me. I get that itchy feeling that makes me want to squirm. “Say it, love.”

“Say what?”

He sighs. “If you say it, you can deal with it.”

Not sure about that. One of my blogging writer acquaintances has a raven named Doubt. My version isn’t a raven. It’s more like one of those shadow creatures that stalk you just outside your peripheral vision so you know it’s there, but you can never quite see it.


“Fine. Writer’s doubt.” There. I said it. That doesn’t mean I feel any better about it.


I lean back in my chair and stare at the stack of paper on my desk. “Isn’t it enough that I’m not sure I can accomplish what I need to do? Isn’t it enough that I feel so inadequate as a writer because I can’t see the things that are so obvious now since other writers pointed them out? I should be able to ‘see’ those issues.”

“Experience gives you that ability, love. Experience, practice, and learning from your peers and mentor. You’re learning. Look at all the things you notice now that you didn’t five years ago.”

“I still should be able to find that stuff myself.”

“That’s why you have critique partners and writing sisters, because you’re too close to the book. You know that.”

Yes, I know that. And I thank all the powers that be that I have such a wonderful group of fellow writers to work with. I thank all the writers who are so generous with sharing their knowledge and time to help others in this fickle journey we’re on.

“Hey.” He crouches beside me. Wow, his eyes seem particularly blue today for some reason. He waves a scolding finger at me. “Do not get distracted. Focus on this story. You were playing around with another idea yesterday. Don’t do that.”

“It was a good idea. And I could even do it as a ‘book by blog’ thing.”

“Maybe so, but you need to focus on one thing at a time, at least until you get through your deep revisions.” He straightens, sits on the edge of my desk. “You ready to do this?”

I take a deep breath. Am I ready? I catch a glimpse of a dark something flitting by.

The view outside my writing office, currently the scene of a temperate rain forest ala Washington state, shimmers with a short-lived breeze. A flat, rounded head peeks in through the window, green eyes wide.

8-26-2016 10-00-50 AM

“Your conscience is ready to slay your writer’s doubt. Are you ready?” my Muse asks.

I give my manuscript a final tap on the desk. I think the Night Fury guise of my conscience helps me over that last hurdle.

“Let’s do this.”


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 “Roll Up Those Sleeves

  1. I’m glad your Night Fury conscious is pushing you past doubt. Every writer suffers it, and every writer misses issues that our CPs catch for us. I panic and doubt with everything I finish and everything I release. I think it’s the nature of the beast, but we love what we do so we plod bravely ahead. It sounds like you got valuable and helpful advice. Good for you on moving ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae! Every time I think about the writers I’m acquainted with, especially my Writing Sisters, I can’t believe how fortunate I am to know so many great people. Doubt is a constant shadow out there, and we all have to shove around it. Or kick its ass. Or sic the Night Fury on it πŸ˜€ Have a great weekend, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha. Loved that. So true. I hate when I think my ms is great and then someone points something out, and I’m like, “Crap, you’re right. Why didn’t I see that?” Also, with Toothless on your side, you can do no wrong. You might lose a leg in the process… but still worth it! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We all go through that, Julie. Experienced writers know that they can’t see everything and that other eyes are necessary. It’s part of the process and a vital one. So, you are normal. Ha ha. Put aside the doubt and trust the process. You are on the last leg of this book’s journey. Go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A wise supportive muse in your moments of doubt. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€Everyone must suffer from this, mine is more of a dark overshadowing cloud with glimpses of sunlight! Your writing sisters sound a wonderful bunch of experienced and friendly group – you have accomplished so much, it is with their help you’ll fine tune your WIP. Wishing you best of luck and savour those chocolates! πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

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