Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

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Pen Names and the Visibility of the Internet

As I’m setting up various pieces of my author “platform”, I realize I’ve twisted myself into a bit of a knot. Many writers use their real names when posting or publishing their work, unless, as with a friend of mine, there is already an author out there with the same name.

Some authors also use pen names when writing in different genres, such as Nora Roberts’ alter-ego J.D. Robb.

Then there are those of us who, by virtue of personal experience or by the request of significant people in our lives, use a pen name as a sort of privacy protection. This is my situation. Unfortunately, my pen name and the name I use in the real world have crossed paths as I’ve become more involved in writing groups, writers’ websites, and writing contests.

So, here’s the scoop: My intent is to publish under my pen name of J. M. Goebel, at least at this point to respect the wishes of my other half. It may turn out that a potential publisher will insist I change it to something more visually appealing. So, with that in mind, I’ve set up a Twitter account and writing-centric email address under that name. BUT, my life in the real world doing fun stuff like writing conferences, writing groups, writer friends, etcetera, is done under my real world name: Julie Holmes.

Sorry for the confusion. Please forgive me! I do answer to either name. Really I do.

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Musings of Muses and Inspiration

Welcome to my blog! As a fiction writer, my muse is in my thoughts on a regular basis, along with the everyday chaos I like to call “real life”. If I had a choice, I’d spend more time with my muse!

There’s a ton of sites for writers by writers that run the gamut of, well, anything and everything that has to do with writing. Those blogs look at the how-tos and where-fors of the written word, and a lot of excellent advice for those of us striving to become better at our craft. Hey, we all want to be better writers, right?

And there are blogs out there that include the muse along with the other bits and pieces that make up a writer. But what about that muse? Just what is a muse, anyway? Sure, there’s nine chicks out in the mythological Greek universe that belong to the Muses club, but none of those gals seem to belong to writers per se. There’s the poetry muses (Erato and Calliope), the comedy muse (Thalia), and the muse of tragedy (Melpomene), along with their five other sisters (Greek Mythology), but none that really stand for fiction writers in general.

So I looked up the meaning of the word “muse”, and found my favorite definition in Merriam-Webster’s third listing for the word (Definition of muse): a source of inspiration; especially :  a guiding genius. Oooh, I like that. Guiding genius. Source of inspiration sounds more like what I think a muse truly is to any artist: something that inspires.

Inspiration is the germ of creativity, at least in my mind. I think all artists, whether writers or musicians or painters or what have you, can pinpoint that bit of something that sets off a chain reaction that results in a particular painting, song, or story. A snowfall was my inspiration for a short story that took place in the winter. The memory of a trip to Hawaii sparked the opening scene in one of my novels.

Maybe by stopping for a moment and talking about those little things that can be a “muse” or inspiration, other writers who might be stuck or uninspired at the moment may get a little jog to pop them out of whatever rut they might be in. Sounds like an interesting journey to me. Anyone else in?