Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Back to school, sort of


So, I can say I’m procrastinating on doing my homework because I’m writing my blog post instead, right?

Saying I have homework seems much more enjoyable now than it did way back in high school. Homework back then was a chore, something to dread. Even my college-aged kids groan when I ask them about their homework. (Sometimes in the middle of the summer I would even ask them if they had any homework, just to bug them 😀 )

As a writer, one of the things we do is strive to improve our craft. We read books about plotting, creating believable characters, using realistic dialog. We know–and have maybe even read–the “classic” how-tos: Writing the Breakout Novel, The First Five Pages, Techniques of the Selling Writer, and The Writer’s Journey, among countless others. We go to conferences and seminars. We even–gasp–take online classes!

That’s where I’m at right now. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’ve been struggling to write the infamous Book 2, the next book in my Sierra Bauer Mystery series. So, I figured if I was accountable to someone, like a teacher, I might make some progress, and learn other ways to get from A to B.

So I enrolled in an online class through UW-Madison’s Continuing Studies. By the way, they have a great writing program, with excellent instructors. Anyway, get this: my class is Write Your Novel Fast and Sure. Heh. Talk about ulterior motives. Or just motives. Or just plain accountability.

So yep, I have homework. And my next assignment is the first five pages of my novel. Woo-hoo! Or at least, woo-hoo once I get those five pages written. I do have a rough draft, though, so if my writing teacher is reading this, I am working on it. Really!

As for the garden, after a week of rain, rain, one cloudy day, rain + 10 minutes of sunshine, rain and half a day of sunshine, things haven’t really dried out enough to plant, but it’s getting late. I’ll probably try to get something in the ground, soggy soil or not, in the two days without rain we’ll get this holiday weekend.

Speaking of, for those in the US, Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Is this my good side?

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.

17 thoughts on “Back to school, sort of

  1. I give you credit for wanting to learn more and do better at writing, Julie. I think one of the things that distinguishes a talented author is always growing and learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Margot! I think we all struggle to master the craft, and one of the ways we can work toward that goal is by learning, along with practice. So much practice! I’ve always felt is it better to practice under the guidance of someone who is closer to mastering the craft than oneself, and I consider my writing teacher not only a talented author, but an incredible teacher. She’s wonderful, and I don’t know that I’ve heard any of her other students say otherwise 😀

      Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do cats have a bad side? LOL (Always a pretty kitty.)

    Good luck with your homework. I bet the deadlines will be good for your WIP.

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Masterful plan! Great way to get your butt motivated and your work critiqued along the way. Brilliant! Sorry the gardening is slow going. Pesky weather. And yes, Zoey, yes. That is definitely your good side. Meow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I was thinking. And it’s doube incentive, because I don’t want my writing teacher to think I’m a hack (she doesn’t, but still 🙂 ) Today has been beautiful, so I’m hoping things will dry out enough by tomorrow evening before the rainy weather sets in.

      Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That sounds like a great class. I know the school’s excellent reputation so I’m going to check out the class. Let us know what you think of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love their writing classes. I took one a few years back, and I’m planning to take more after this one. I love being able to work with my writing teacher–she’s wonderful, and so good as a coach!

      Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Jacqui!


  5. Hi Julie. Good luck with the book.

    Your cat looks good from all sides.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad the class will nudge (maybe push?) you into writing book 2. Some books are harder than others. Sounds like this one’s being difficult. Good luck with it! And may the words start flowing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. School with deadlines…yep, that’s a great motivator for sure. Wishing you lots of luck with it. I’m sure you’ll do great.

    And Zoey is as gorgeous as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good for you, Julie! I think we have to keep honing our craft and writing is something that can always be improved. I’d love to take a class someday. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Diana! So far, it’s helping. I’m on my “first five pages” assignment now, so of course it’s rough draft, then revise before I turn it in. Knowing full well, of course, that it may never reach the “final” manuscript 😀 Still, practice!

      Enjoy your week!

      Liked by 1 person

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