Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Musing Resolve

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I’m resisting the urge to close my notebook and toss my pen across the room. I still can’t focus. My mind keeps bouncing around–I should really start thinking about my garden. I love looking through seed catalogs. I can’t wait for it to warm up. Woo-hoo! It’ll be double digits above zero when I walk down the driveway to get the mail. I’ve got a book review to write. No, I really need to write this scene. I’ve got two chapters of beta reading to do this weekend. I love Christmas lights, but I suppose I should put them away. Am I going to be able to finish that blanket I’ve been crocheting for the past–yikes, that long?–before my daughter graduates? Hey, where’s the cat?

Arrgh. This is my brain on a severe lack of resolve. Or rather, focus. Where is my damn Muse?

Aaaannd . . .

*clock ticks echo in the room*

Um.

I set my notebook down (no, I don’t throw it across the room, as satisfying as that would be) and open the door to my writing office.

Nada. No one in sight.

O-kay. I head to the other door, the one that opens onto the beach/woods/field/–you get the picture. Steel-gray clouds brood over wind-roughened water. The Adirondack chairs at the edge of the beach’s sandy shore are empty.

What the hell?

I close the door, fully expecting my Muse to pop in. Except he doesn’t. “Hey,” I say into the empty office, “where are you?”

Nuthin’.

Remember the Batphone from the old Batman show from the 60s? tenor I’ve got one like it (but way cooler) that’s a direct line to my Muse. I pick it up.

No dial tone.

Oh shit.

This isn’t right. He wouldn’t just leave.

Would he?

A curl of dread twists in my gut. He can’t leave. He’s my Muse. I toggle the cradle button. Still no dial tone. Crap. After hanging up the phone, I pace. Where could he be? “Hey, look, I’m sorry about the last few weeks.” My voice echoes in the room. “C’mon. Where are you?”

A knock at the back door. When I open it, my book dragon’s head fills the doorway, her red eyes glowing like Christmas lights against shiny green scales.

dragon1_cr I scratch her chin. “Thanks for coming, but I’m not looking for you right now. Have you seen my Muse?”

She draws back. *Really? I’m a perfectly good muse, you know.*

“I know. But I’m not working on a fantasy right now. I need my Muse. Have you seen him?”

She rolls her eyes. *Maybe.*

“What do you mean, ‘maybe’? Where is he?”

*He told me not to tell.*

“Are you kidding me? He told you? Why can’t he hear me?”

*Oh, he can hear you just fine.*

“Then why isn’t he here?”

She shrugs, stretches one gold-green wing. *He said something about appreciating the work he does. Oh, and something about how it feels to be ignored.*

Oh. My. Gawd. “Seriously? Tell him I need to talk to him.”

*He said I wasn’t supposed to be a go-between. Talk to him yourself. He can hear you.* With that, she turns and shoves into the air, wings sweeping down and kicking up wind as she climbs toward the low clouds.

What the hell? It’s not like this is the first time I’ve ever been stuck. And I’ve got a few extra weeks before my editor gets my manuscript back to me, so I need to finish the draft of Book 2. The notebook helps, but I’ve been letting myself get distracted. I need my Muse to be here.

I close the door. I’m not ignoring him. I’m just … dammit. I’ve been forgetting stuff, stuff that’s important but not writing-important. Life-important. Family stuff. And I’ve had a few discussions–not heated, but more than casual–with my husband about stuff I was supposed to remember but didn’t. I’ve even started bullet journaling to try and get a handle on it.

“You need to focus, love.”

My lungs stop working for a moment. I turn. My Muse is kicked back in one of the recliners in the corner, hands behind his head, legs crossed at the ankles on the footrest.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“Ignoring you. How does it feel?”

“I haven’t been ignoring you. I’ve been thinking about my books–that’s probably why I keep forgetting other stuff.”

He shakes his head. “If you’ve been thinking about your books, why is it you haven’t done any writing since before Christmas?”

“Because …” I falter. “I’ve started working on my presentation for the Writers’ Institute, and I’m doing a beta read. And I finished–”

“Excuses. Whatever happened to spending one or two hours a night writing, hmm? Tell me that.”

“I …” I’ve been slacking. Badly. And every night I chastise myself for it.

My Muse lowers the footrest and pushes out of the chair. “You need to get your shit together, love.” He waves a finger at me as a fedora appears on his head and a bullwhip materializes on his belt. “You’ve got stuff going on, but if you’re serious about this, you have to figure it out. You’ve done it before, why are you having such a hard time now?”

He’s right. And I think a lot of it boils down to waiting for my editor to get my manuscript back to me, because I know I’ll have to work on that. Which is stupid. I’ve got the time now, before I have any deadlines, to work on stuff, especially Book 2. And my presentation, which I actually do have a soft deadline for.

My Muse nods. “And there it is. You know what you should be doing, love, so do it. Hell, schedule it. You know your husband will hold you to it. He’ll send you off to write.”

He will. He has in the past. “You’ll stay here, right?”

A crooked smile brightens his face. “Me and my whip.”

I think I hear the Indiana Jones theme song in the background.

Another weekend, and dammit, I will work on my draft. Or my presentation. My son is heading back to school, so that’s one distraction out of the way. After a break in routine courtesy of the holidays, it always seems to take extra effort to get back into it. And we might even crack the freezing temperature this week–heat wave!

Have a good weekend all, and get some writing done. I will. Promise.

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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 have 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. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", will be released in March, 2019, by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). 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, three 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.

24 thoughts on “Musing Resolve

  1. An entertaining post, Julie, but I feel your pain, too. I hope this weekend turns the corner for you and you build some momentum! I find December extremely distracting and crazy busy. Then January sets in and things slow down. Carve out some time on the calendar, my friend. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Diana! And you are so right, December is sooo distracting and yes, busy! Sunny out today, with temps in the low teens. Though about a walk, but I’ll wait until tomorrow when temps are in the low 20s. Funny how 23 degrees sound so warm this time of year, but in November it’s sooo cold. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You do entertain us greatly with your muse and the antics between you two. A full story in itself.
    I do feel though that you are under pressure. Stress is not good so let some things wait and
    concentrate on what you see as number one.
    I don’t want to see you ill, runaway muse or not.
    You will get it right, I am sure.
    Miriam

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Miriam! Tomorrow the temps are supposed to be in the “reasonable” range: low 20s (F), so I think a walk might be in order. I find getting outside really helps. It’s been so cold lately, though, that being inside is so much more appealing! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie, now I get it about having a ManMuse! Heโ€™s strict and on the job in an entertaing way. Love the dialogue. Charlotte (the librarian) & Willow (flower child) the new Muse have taken up permanent residence in my writing study. Once I told them about your ManMuse they took up the competition and settled in forever. Charlotte has me researching again to get the facts right about travel abroad in 1960. Willow keeps me looking over the WIP main characterโ€™s shoulder (third person limited with a few more characters) to add what she sees, hears & smells. Iโ€™m busy keeping up. They even made me promise to write everyday. One gives me handfuls of flowers, and the other nothing but stern looks over her glasses! Iโ€™m not ever going to tell them about MuseManโ€™s fedora or bull whip. Happy writing this weekend! ๐Ÿ“šChristine

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Christine! Yes, he’s strict, which I need, but not so much I can’t stand it ๐Ÿ˜€ I love that your Muses tag-team on you, kinda like ‘good cop, bad cop’ ๐Ÿ™‚ My problem is sometimes I get so lost in research–rabbit hole, indeed–that I lose writing time. Even when I make notes to come back later and fill in the blanks. Write on this weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Can I borrow your Muse, mine ran away. -) While I wait for him…it’s back to my writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I feel like Mr.E. has been playing hide and seek with me. Every now and then I get a jolt of creative adrenalin, but more often than not it’s like plodding through word count mud. I’ve made some progress but nothing to Snoopy dance about. Here’s hoping we both become inspired and kick butt with our WIPS. Happy writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I love it–plodding through word count mud! I did manage to write a scene for a different book, so I felt good about getting at least some writing done, even if it wasn’t Book 2 or my other WIP. And I suspect my Muse was hanging out with Mr. E. Hopefully he doesn’t make disappearing like that a bad habit ๐Ÿ˜€ Write on!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Iโ€™m just glad you didnโ€™t fling that notebook across the room!! That would be sacrilege! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€ Well, at least the dragon seems to be faithful but not the muse you need for now and yours has turned up. Perhaps he can understand being ignored during the mad time called Christmas… good luck with the writing as life falls back a bit to normal. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I kinda feel a little bad for my dragon, because I’m not writing on my fantasies right now, but at least she isn’t helping my Muse ignore me ๐Ÿ˜€ I started getting back into the groove this weekend, even if I wasn’t writing on Book 2 or my other WIP, so I feel pretty good about that. And I’ll be working on my presentation, so that should get some creative juices going. Have a great week, Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay, so first I’m all shamefully excited that I get an indirect mention in the first paragraph. Then I’m reading along and enjoying the story, taking some notes on ways to word things even. Then I get to the part about the stuff that’s distracting you and get a mention again. Dang. Now I feel like your muse needs to use his bullwhip on me. So sorry to be one of those things that’s holding you back from getting your own shit done. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Sorry. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you???

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope your muse is helping you by now. . . Julie, I just write words, brain storm and keep on going until something works out for my blog. It isn’t nearly the same pressure but I was just recommending writing words until something, a spark ignites you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Robin! Yes, he’s helping me, although he did vanish for a while–I think he went on a pub crawl with Mr. E. I’ve been trying the “just write” method, and I’ve actually worked through some issues with the plot, so it works, sort of. It isn’t WIP stuff, but it’ll help when I start revising. Have a great weekend!

      Like

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