Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Getting back into it #amwriting



I swat at the cloud of gnats swarming my head and dart through the back door of my writing office. With the door safely closed and most of the bugs left outside, I pull off my head-net. Best. Investment. Ever. Although, one can tolerate a cloud of gnats around one’s head–even one safely ensconsed in mosquito netting–only so long.

“Seriously, love?” My Muse is leaning on my writing desk, arms crossed. Until he swats at a rogue gnat. A teeny wisp of smoke fades.

“Dude, did you just fry that gnat?”

Another teeny wisp of smoke drifts toward the floor. “Would you rather I corral them and coax them back outside?”

“Hell, no. Why don’t you nuke all the ones out in the garden so I don’t have to wear this head-net and spray down with bug repellent.”

“Not my job.” He crosses his legs at the ankles. Which is when I notice he’s wearing deck shoes, no socks, tan cargo shorts, and a Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt. Except the shirt is tye-dyed rather than the usual black. “Besides, they’ll be gone in a week or so. Now that you’re done playing in the dirt …”

“Playing? Excuse me, but I was trying to weed. You know, before I couldn’t stand listening to bugs in my ears and flying around my eyes.” I peel off my long-sleeved button-down shirt. Ugh. Eighty degrees outside and I have to wear long pants and long sleeves just to weed without turning into a snack bar. A stray buzz by my ear sounds like a mini-buzzsaw. I slap at my head. Damn fricking bugs. Needless to say, I didn’t get a whole lot of weeding done. “Whatever it is, it’s going to have to wait until after I shower.”

A slow, crooked grin stretches across his face. An eyebrow arches.

“What? What’s funny?”

“Best you don’t know, love.”

Ahem. O-kay. “Hey, I don’t need any shit from you. I’m writing. I even have the first chapter done. I knew that class was a good idea.”

“Yes, you are, and yes, it was. And I’m not going to let you slack off because your writing teacher is conducting a week-long writing retreat this week. She wants to see the next chapter.”

“And I want to write it. But shower first.” The sharp pine-ish smell of bug spray just reminds me of bugs. Bloodsucking bugs.

“I’ll be waiting.” He crosses the office and settles into one of the recliners in the corner before he reaches to the mini-fridge and pulls out a craft beer. “Hurry up. I have some ideas for the next few chapters.”

“Good. So do I.”

I have to say, I am sooo glad I took this class. The units and exercises are set up to walk through the process of building a novel. So far, in the unit I’m on, my assignments included a logline and the infamous Central Question, a review of the book as a bestseller, as well as my main character’s best personality trait and her Fatal Flaw.

By writing the review, specifically looking at the character, plot, and transformational arc, I discovered a few things, one in particular that “clicked” as part of Sierra’s arc. By really thinking about her fatal flaw and why she has it, I hit another revelation that will help me with the story.

My next assignment is the first 20 pages. I have the first nine done as part of an earlier assignment, and I feel good about keeping things going. Being accountable is a big part of this, but also the coaching. My mentor is a great coach; she always manages to say something or make a suggestion that turns on the lightbulb and makes me want to dig in and move forward. I even took a day off next week to give myself some additional time to write. And work on promo stuff.

Enjoy your weekend, and to all the fathers out there, whether you have your own kids or you fill that place in someone’s life: Happy Father’s Day!

zoey chair 3

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over 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, six 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.

23 thoughts on “Getting back into it #amwriting

  1. I’m very happy you’ve had a good experience in class, Julie. A good class can inspire you, give you some regular ‘gotta get it done’ discipline, and more. It’s good to hear that you’re back at writing, too. Now, if your Muse could just please pass on the secret for torching gnats, he could make a fortune.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right? And I saw a dragonfly today, so that means the mosquitoes are out. Ugh! I’m hoping the gnats are done now. Oh boy. Listen to me, looking forward to mosquitoes ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      Have a great bug-free (or bug-fewer) weekend, Margot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent, fun, and informational. Everything you want a post to be, Julie! Love your Muse, for sure, and that your class is helping you develop better methods for approaching your book. What stopped me in my tracks, though, was “Eighty degrees outside.” Errrm. You say that like it’s a bad thing. Now don’t get me wrong, I hate it when it gets that hot. But after several weeks of 95 to 96 (and I suspect, higher) temps around here, 80 degrees sounds downright heavenly. Of course, when you factor in the gnats, that changes the equation. Okay. I’m gonna give you back one of the points I deducted for being so upset over that temperature. I, on the other hand, will be much happier when temps dip to 80-something. It will mean fall has arrived, and it just MIGHT go even a bit lower, like all the way to 75. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    Seriously, Julie, your posts about your Muse are always fun, and it sounds like you’re really finding methods that should help throughout all your creative endeavors. Me, I’m just blundering along in the dark. In the 96-degree dark. But at least I don’t have to wear netting all over my head, so there’s that! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Good luck with your WIP and your class, and do give your Muse a hug from here in central Florida, home of sidewalk-fried eggs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marcia! Ugh, 95?? At least in MN when it’s 95, it doesn’t last for, like, months. Well, usually. I can’t imagine that in FL, especially with the humidity. I hear ya about 80 sounding good after a stretch of high-90s. My preferred temps are the 70s: just warm enough to be comfortable without being too hot when doing yard work. But hey, if I’m chillin’ at the beach, I’m good with low 80s. I’m not sure what’s worse: sidewalk-fried eggs or instant frozen bananas in deep MN winter cold ๐Ÿ˜€

      You are right, I am finding new methods (I think we are always trying to find something that works–works better) to this whole book-writing thing. I think I’ve been mostly running on gut/subconscious direction. You know, the sense you have about how to put together a book that we develop after reading and writing for years and years. This is more methodical, and in this case, I’m finding it helpful. It’s either that or the discipline born from accountability ๐Ÿ˜€

      My Muse sends a hug back!

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Had to smile at your muse wearing a Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt. A character in my second novel wears one! Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You and your handsome and self assured muse are such fun. The bugs now, they are no fun so
    have Mr Muse zap them all.
    Great that your classes are so inspiring and bringing many ” lightbulb ” moments.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been trying to convince him to go zap the gnats (and not to hold back if he finds any mosquitoes either), but he tells me he could get “a letter” from the Mother Nature Violations committee (as if I believe there is such a thing…)

      Enjoy your weekend, Miriam!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was so worried (based on his smirk) that you were going to find something scary and crawly in your shower! It must have been another kind of smile.

    I’m glad everything is coming along with your writing. And I’m hoping the gnats go away soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Yes, I wasn’t sure what mischief he was thinking about. So far, I haven’t come across anything unusual, but the day isn’t over…

      Can’t wait for the gnats to go away. Except the mosquitoes will move in. And that’s one of the biggest reasons I like spring and fall: spring is before the bugs come out, fall is once most of them have gone away ๐Ÿ˜€

      Have a great weekend, Staci! Good luck with your editing ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That continues to sound like a good class. I like how it paces you, one step at a time, in order.

    About the bugs. Yuck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, Jacqui. It’s working to break things down the way the class does. I think if I hadn’t worked through the exercises, I either would have missed the lightbulb moments completely, or gotten through a round or two of revision before figuring them out. This way it’ll save time on the revision side.

      Yes. Yuck! I will have to brave them this weekend, because the weeds have not agreed to leave on their own.

      Enjoy your weekend!


  7. Zoey looks so expectant, like you must’ve promised her something good in order to make her stand up like that for the photo. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I cannot believe your bug issues! Ugh! I remember dealing with the horse flies when hanging clothes on the line as a kid in Oho, but… wow. Glad you have the net hat. That does sound awful.
    Unlike your class which sounds awesome. Glad you’re plugging along and that you had a revelation. Love those moments!
    Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh. She steals my chair when I get up to get a drink of water, then she looks at me, as if asking whether I REALLY want to sit back in my chair. It’s like she’s perpetually hoping I’ll give up my chair.

      Horseflies? Ugh. I’m glad I have the net, but I’ll be even more glad to be rid of the gnats. Except then come the mosquitoes…

      I’m really liking my class. I think the biggest thing is the accountability. I want to do a good job for my writing teacher, but I also want to get it done (it’s a self-paced class you have to finish in a year, so it’s not like I have a tight deadline). The sooner I get it done, the closer I’ll be to having book 2 ready to submit.

      Speaking of, drop me a line with an update on how the Ana and Isaac thing is going.

      Happy bug-free weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds like the class if really working for you. Way to go. And your muse has ideas ๐Ÿ™‚
    You two are going to kick butt on this WIP!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad you are getting so much from this class. Its great to get a new insight to your story. Sorry about the gnats….ick! Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh for the gnats! I had to get out into the garden this weekend to weed, and even with bug spray and the head net they were incessant! Racking my brain about what eats gnats, and only coming up with a little bird that probably does’t even live here. And the mosquitoes are starting to show up. On the bright side, I did see a dragonfly this weekend, so that’s something ๐Ÿ˜€

      The class is great! Now to get my next assignment done by the end of the week so I can turn it in after my teacher finishes the retreat…

      Have a great week, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a big fan of dragon flies!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How wonderful that you are taking a class! I think about doing that, too. I have been working with a writing coach which has been soooo enlightening. I sympathize with you regarding gnats. We call them black flies in Maine. We have a hearty crop of them this year. Hoping theyโ€™ll be gone soon, but since spring was late, I fear theyโ€™ll hang around longer. You gotta use the spray and nets to survive! Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Somewhere along the way this one got tossed into the spam filter. Sorry about that, Molly! Yes, working with a writing coach–because that’s really what my writing teacher is–is great! And by now the gnats have subsided, just in time for the mosquitoes to take over. Sigh.

      Have a great writing weekend, Molly!

      Liked by 1 person

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