Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

A Dull Moment?


I really should let my Muse write this week’s post. I can’t think of anything.

Not true. I can think of stuff, just not for a blog post.

Stuff like how I need to change the next scene in my WIP to account for the revised character thread. Or whether I should write a post about starting an outline for NaNoWriMo, even though I’m not doing NaNo this year, but other people might be. Or how my garden is now a den of runaway weeds and sad, sad-looking tomato and pepper plants. Or how my raspberries are bountiful now, while the weather is decent.

Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

It’s October. Oh, boy, where did the time go? Wasn’t it just July? The trees are starting to change here, but I’ve entertained thoughts about driving up north toward Duluth to see the peak colors happening there now. Can’t, though. I’ve got a manuscript to revise so I can get it out to beta readers.

The revisions are going well, but I did spend about a week working through them in my head and on paper before I started. I know there are a mix of planners and pantsers out there, and their own process works well for them. I didn’t used to plan. Back in elementary school and high school, I had the story in my head. No sense writing it down in an outline.

Then came my first NaNo. I chose to write something completely new, not something I’d been playing around with in my head. I knew I needed to plan if I was going to have a prayer of writing 50k words in a month.

I missed the goal that first year, but I came up with a story that surprised me. It wasn’t anything I’d been pondering, but something that grew organically from the process of brainstorming and outlining. It’s not finished, but I’d like to go back to it and write the ending some day.

I learned a lot of things through NaNoWriMo. Outlining gives me a direction when I write, even if I don’t always follow it. I learned to write every day. I learned to kick my inner editor into a cage and lock the door while I write the first draft. I pacify her with platitudes about fixing stuff later, because there will always be at least three or four revisions.

Maybe the most important thing of all, though: I learned confidence. I can write a book in less than two years. I can write fifty thousand words in thirty days. I can outline a book and write from beginning to end without petering out three-quarters of the way through.

I took an online technical writing course through the university a few years ago. The class had a warning in its catalog listing: writing intensive. We’d be writing 12,000 to 20,000 words over the semester, more writing involved in that particular class than any other for that subject. Oh. My. Gawd.

Heh. Child’s play. I could write 50,000 words in one month.

Aced the class.

A writer posted a question in a FB writing group about who had done NaNo and why he should do it. I gave my advice, but as I wrote, I realized my biggest takeaway should be emphasized more than simply writing 50k words in 30 days.

Confidence. It does a writer good.

I’ve got a two-month deadline for my revise and resubmit, including the feedback from beta readers, so my actual revision deadline is about 4-6 weeks. I have no doubts I can do it if I keep my focus.

Thank you, NaNoWriMo, for making me realize I can.



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.

14 thoughts on “A Dull Moment?

  1. I’m not doing Nano this year, but what a great experience last year. It does increase confidence. It also gives a good kick forward to any writing project and provides a great excuse to family members as to why you have to write ALL DAY. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have thought about doing it… but I have so many other things I’m supposed to be doing that I’m not sure I can justify it. Well, no, I take that back. I can justify pretty much anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. Maybe I should give it more thought… of course, I need a story idea first… and I’m not sure I like the one I’ve had in my head lately…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You nailed it on the head with the confidence you get with NaNo. That is so true. Just as it’s also true that having an outline (even if you don’t stick to it) helps when plotting.

    I’ve got the worst deadline of my life right now. Book 3 of PP just got moved up by 8 weeks. Yeah, count ’em–8. I thought I had to the end of December to turn the MS around. Turns out I’ve only got to the first week of November. Guess who’s been marathon writing for the last couple days? I’m going to need all the confidence I can muster to pull this one off.

    Here’s to both of us and kicking butt on deadlines!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG! They moved it up two months? Eek! Maybe I should send my Muse your way (complete with Indiana Jones fedora and bullwhip) to help Mr E keep pushing–er, inspiring you.

      Except I can’t let him stay too long. I need his butt-kicking too šŸ˜€

      Write on, Mae!


  4. Awesome. I never did NaNo-whatever. I just had an idea, thought about while I laid in bed for about two months before I decided to sit down and write the sucker. It was so much fun! It took a month and a half to write the first draft, about 55 or 57,000 words. I forget now. It was nearly two years ago. It has seen many revisions and the edition of 3K words or so. I turn it in to an editor on Thursday, but I’m hoping to finish one more round before then if I can eek out the time. I want to put my best foot forward. Here’s hoping and praying she doesn’t think it’s terrible!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Julie, see you did have something very important to say in your post! Confidence, or rather lack thereof is often the scourge for writers so terrific that Nano helped so much and a resounding endorsement of it. When I finished the first draft of my book that was a real confidence booster as I always believed writing a book was something other people did! Never me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! Absolutely, finishing a book is a confidence booster! Just finishing is a win, but finishing a first draft in a month is a rush šŸ˜€ The toil of revisions, on the other hand, is all the sanding and polishing after you get the piece of furniture assembled. Time-consuming, frustrating on occasion, but if you do it right, you end up with a beautiful piece!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I will be doing Nano this year, it should be a blast.

    Confidence is key when writing, especially for Nano. To keep writing without worrying to much about what you are writing for at least one month.

    I have finished the last two NaNo, hopefully will finish it this year. I have mostly plotted out my story for this year, as a result I feel more prepared then the last two years.

    Good luck with your revisions!


    • Good luck with NaNo again! I think every year they do NaNo, a writer learns a bit more about what works for them. Plotting/outlining turned out to be a good thing for me. I like the planning, I always consider it a guideline, and the characters often take their own paths to the end. Enjoy your November writing marathon, and thanks for stopping by šŸ˜€


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