Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

A Tribute


First, Vikes flamed out big time. It was painful to watch. I don’t know what team they brought to the conference title matchup last week, but it sure wasn’t the one they brought to all the other games they actually won.

Ah, well, maybe next year.

So, I’ve been working on my presentation for the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute. I’ve got to turn in my handouts by March. Well, everyone else has to have their handouts turned in, too, so it’s not just me 🙂

WS mug

I’ve mentioned my Writing Sisters and I are doing an author panel. We’ve been discussing a handout for our panel, and a plan for filling the one hour-ish time slot we have. We want to let other writers know what we’ve done as a group and how we’ve managed to stick together for five–almost six–years now.

I’ve shared the story of how we got together. As we’ve been discussing our panel plan via email, we’ve been reminiscing a bit, contemplating a bit, reflecting on our group and why we’ve made it as long as we have.

As I was following the email threads, I realized just how much we mean to each other, and the role we’ve played in not only each other’s writing journeys, but the role we’ve played in each other’s lives.

You know, I was going to post some quotes from that email thread, but there are so many! I will, however, post a quote from our writing mentor, because it is so poignant:

“Compassion and support are so important. Good groups do get inside each other’s lives a bit, so that’s a good point to make. Individuals have to be willing to share, support, respect, nurture each other …”

And another, also from our writing mentor:

“So maybe another rule after compassion, patience, and long-term vision would be to add ‘actively nurture’ the relationship you’ve agreed to be part of, and to respect what that really means in terms of time, heart, and the work involved.”

Okay, one more from one of my Writing Sisters, about the how and the why of forming a writing group:

“I think most people think the ‘why’ is just getting critiques, but as this email exchange shows, it’s much more than that. It’s also small bits of encouragement or large amounts of butt-kicking depending on what’s needed. It’s advice and support about all the obstacles we face that detract from our writing, from medical issues to personal problems. It’s tips and tricks about apps, writing contests, software, research tools, and writing books.”

Bottom line, I was reminded just how much my Sisters mean to me, both to my writing journey and beyond. We haven’t seen each other since our August retreat, but I think about them often. It’s amazing, we were six strangers, then one more, but we “clicked” in a way that I suspect few groups of seven strangers do.

My advice to writers: find your group. It might be one or two other writers who share your passion for spending an afternoon at Caribou Coffee typing away, or a handful who spend a week every year at a little cabin retreat. Maybe you never see each other in person, but the important thing is the encouragement, the feedback, the sharing of successes and failures. The deadline of 30 days or six months and someone to hold you accountable. Other creative minds to bounce ideas off of.

Where do you find these people? Writing conferences, seminars, workshops, retreats. Writing classes that may take place over a couple hours or over a weekend. Online groups of like-minds (SFF writers, horror writers, romance writers, mystery writers, etc). Maybe even the guy or gal you always see sitting at a quiet table in the library hunched over a notebook or laptop.

Yes, you have to put yourself out there. Yes, you have to open up and share your writing and your writing goals. Yes, it’s scary.

But when you find your group, your collective energy will carry you all toward your writing target, may it be getting published, entering a contest, or just finishing a project.

Man, I miss my Sisters! April will be here before we know it 🙂

I’ll sign off with my modus interruptor, who keeps insisting she has the right-of-way when it comes to the prime spot on my lap.

zoey lapcat

Have a great weekend, everyone! Happy Writing!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

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", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, seven 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.

25 thoughts on “A Tribute

  1. Sorry about your Vikings. It’s good to have birches, for sure

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a shame about the Vikings….how could they, I will tell them off.:)

    Now, this idea of finding your own writing friends is wonderful and inspiring. I love reading about you and your writing sisters.
    You spread sunshine Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Yes, tell them off for me, too 😀

      Thank you so much, Miriam! My Writing Sisters have become such a part of my life, it’s hard to remember my writing journey before them. May other writers be fortunate enough to find their own “sisters” (or brothers 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just sharing similar thoughts with my husband earlier this week about what makes good writing partners. I’ve had many through the years. My first really good CP and I worked together for 12 years before she passed away. We were more than critique partners, we were friends. We shared more than our writing life with each other. When she died, I never thought I’d find that kind of connection again. In fact In went through 5 critique partners an several years before finally “clicking” with someone like I did with Karen. We’ve now added a 3rd member to the group, and it’s wonderful. Precisely or the reason that we’re there for each other beyond a regular critique. Those matches aren’t always easy to find but when you do they’re priceless.

    It’s wonderful you have such a strong connection with your writing sisters, Julie. You’re going to have so much fun in April!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you found someone to take Karen’s place in your life! Those connections, the fellow writers, are so important, I think, even if we don’t think we need them. And yes, someone to be there beyond the critique! You’re right, it’s hard to find someone you “connect” with, but once you find that person or people, there’s so much value in that relationship even beyond writing.

      I can’t wait for April! We’re renting a house, so it’ll be like a mini-retreat. Just looking forward to seeing my Sisters again (besides, I need their help with a few things 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. P.S. Raven says Zoey has the right idea! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I had a lap kitty!! Nice that you’ll be speaking on this topic. I’m sure it will help a lot of people. And thanks for branching out to me when you already have six other women to be helping and encouraging along!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie, love your beautiful kitty! I have two dogs that interrupt me! Agree, a writing partner or more is important. My long time co-author, writing partner died last year. A new friend & screenwriter replaced her and it’s been a great writing partnership. I learned and now love to write dialogue, and she is a master at tightening up sentences and deleting words. I’ve helped her with scene ideas and rewrites. You really can’t write in a vacuum. Let us know what you plan to present at the conference. 📚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Christine! So glad you’ve found another writing partner–they are sooo valuable! Before my Sisters, I knew writers needed critique partners, or at least other writers to help with the process (reading, critiquing, etc), but once we found each other, I knew these fellow writers would help me get to the next level in my writing journey.

      I’ll be posting bits and pieces from my presentation in the coming weeks. If nothing else, you’ll be my test audience! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It is really nice to hear of your sisters who are writing and supportive of writing, Julie. Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a lovely post, Julie, and so true of really successful writing groups… they are much more than critique groups. The quotes remind me of one definition of “family” – a group of people with whom you learn, grow, struggle, make mistakes, and still are loved and cherished.” That’s something to celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Julie, your post extols all the virtue of a writing group; it’s full of compassion, love, understanding … being gentle with us yet giving us a kick up the butt to get out there and find our group. Inspirational!! You and a few others here on WP encouraged me to join one, which I did and since we’ve become good friends, supportive and active in our various writing pursuits! Thank you! 😀❤️ Ps. Too bad about the Vikings…that sounds too painful to watch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay! So glad you decided to join a group, and even better that you’ve become good friends! Sometimes it takes a few tries to find a good group. And yes, the Vikings were painful to watch, but honestly, I think I would’ve been more surprised if they had actually won. The last time they didn’t choke in the conference championship game was forty years ago. So, disappointing, yes. Completely unexpected, naw.

      Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t have a writing group, Julie, but I am craving one. I looked for one in my community and so far have not found my ‘tribe.’ I’m going to drill back in your post to see how your group got together. It is lonely at times to be a writer and as a relative newbie, I can get into my own head, and talk myself into thinking I’m not very good at it. That’s when I need some sisters to help lift me out of my funk and forge on with confidence. Sorry about your Vikings. They were not the same team in the last play off game. I would have loved to see a Vikings/Patriots match up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and me both, Molly! After how the Eagles fans treated the Vikings after they won, I have to root for the Patriots this weekend. As for your tribe, I’m not sure where you are, but check around for some writing classes or workshops in your area. Those are often good places to meet other writers who you might “click” with. Another option is FB–there are a LOT of writing groups on FB; in fact we have a group for our Writing Sisters. I belong to a few other groups, a couple of which are for mystery writers. There is a group where you can at least start a search for a critique partner, and maybe someone there knows of a group for humor writers like you. Look for Sub It Club CRITIQUE PARTNER MATCHUP on FB. Let me know if you have trouble 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I knew you’d have some good suggestions, Julie. I am in a small, private FB sharing group and it is wonderfully supportive. But not in my genre. I am part of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop group but there is some competition and it is a large group. I’ll keep looking for a smaller group that offers the support and critique and I’ll keep in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, and I am so glad you are cheering for the Patriots, too, by the way. I wasn’t going to ask you because I didn’t want to ruin our perfect friendship. Hahahaha!

        Liked by 1 person

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