profile

Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

[Wyrd Words Weekly] Gather ye wyrdos while ye may...

Published 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hello Reader,

I loved hearing all your thoughts about the meaning of the word Wyrd. And as I said last week, there were no wrong answers. While only 37% of the folks who responded chose my intended meaning (Fate/Destiny), the truth is whatever it means to you when it shows up in your inbox each Sunday is just as valid as what I dreamed up when I named this newsletter a few years ago.

And my favorite part of this entire wool-gathering thought experiment is that it's a larger metaphor for our writing--Once we send our work out into the world, it's out of our hands and into the hearts and minds of readers, who make their own meaning of it. And while we of course hope readers' thoughts hew closely to our intentions, that is never a guarantee. As writers, we have to be OK with that.

Once we send our work out into the world, it's out of our hands and into the hearts and minds of readers, who make their own meaning of it.

Some of my favorite responses included the surprise 8% of you who have been reading it as "Wired," as in online, and did a write-in answer to tell me so. Love that and it totally fits.

One subscriber made up an acronym to explain it, which was spot on as well: Write Your Reader's Dreams. Not going to lie, I wish I had thought of that myself.

Another reader chimed in with this excellent deep-dive into the origin of the word: https://octavia.net/wyrd-the-role-of-fate/

Quite a number of you read it as "weird" and considering that part of my intention with using Wyrd in my brand was to take back a word that has been used against me as a pejorative many times in the past, I'm OK with that too. Given that you only have to know me about 2.2 second to realize I'm a weirdo--I'd like to think I'm a weirdo (wyrdo?) in the very best sense of the term, but like with my writing, you get to decide that for yourself--it all tracks.

And for the rest of you who said "don't care, sounds cool!" I'm totally OK with that as well. You don't have to share my obsession with obscure Anglo Saxon words and the mythos behind them to come along for the ride with us. All are welcome here :)

If you're looking for the tl;dr, here it is: First, you all are amazing and I love hearing from you. Second, before Wyrd meant "weird" as in odd/unusual, it referred to Fate/Destiny. Shakespeare's Wyrd Sisters in Macbeth might be the most-known usage of this word, but even he borrowed from Norse Mythology's Norns, or The Fates. I loved the idea that writing is our fate, our destiny, and I hope you do too!

"Wyrd is not an end-point, but something continually happening around us at all times. One of the phrases used to describe this difficult term is “that which happens”." Octavia Randolph

I like that there's a little bit of mystery, a little bit of a double meaning, a little bit of historical interpretation at play here. And I hope you do too!

Fantasy Writers Week Starts Monday!

If you've been around here a while, you know I love teaching. So I'm thrilled to bring my brand-new take on character archetypes to Fantasy Writers Week on April 25 at 9am. I hope you'll join me for this free event and tell your friends!

Last Chance at $49!

Today is your last chance to get WKND Pitch Perfection, my self-paced course to help you write a query that will wow agents and editors, at the special introductory price of $49. At midnight tonight, the price goes back to $89. Get it here: https://julie-artz.mykajabi.com/wknd-pitch-perfection?preview_theme_id=2156771189

What I'm Reading

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is the best kind of success story. Even though it launched in 2019 and won rave reviews from many major voices in speculative fiction, including a Nebula, a Locus, and a Hugo, the book didn't hit the bestseller list until last spring when a social media personality tweeted about the book.

So it's been on my radar for a while now and I finally devoured it on my long flight home from NYC last week. Oh my goodness, I loved it. Lyrical language, wonderful banter, imaginative world-building and a queer love story that transcends time and space. This has the voicey feel and battle/adventure of my beloved Murderbot Diaries with the language of your favorite romantic poets. YES PLEASE. I can't wait to see what these two do next because this was my favorite read so far this year.

Hope to see you at Fantasy Writers Week!

Warmly,

Julie

PS - If you've been hoping to work with me, are curious about what book coaching looks like, or just want to spend a few hours working on your story, mark your calendar for Sunday, May 19, from 12-3pm Pacific. More details coming soon, but I think you're going to love this new (free) offer!

Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz helps writers who dream of a life spent telling stories that matter slay their doubt demons so they can send their work out into the world with confidence. An active member of the writing community, she has volunteered for SCBWI, TeenPit, and Pitch Wars and is a member of EFA, the Authors Guild, and AWP. A social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Seattle, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers, and a couple of naughty furry familiars. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

Read more from Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Hello Reader, Recently, I listened to a podcast with “Deep Work” advocate Cal Newport that talked about the impact of social media, email, and, more broadly, distraction has on our creative work. But he also mentioned a philosophical war of sorts between Deep Work denizens and those who adhere to Mihaly Csikszentmihali’s theory of "Flow" or what he calls "optimal experience." In a world obsessed with these sort of ideological cage matches, I often start thinking in the dialectic—what if it’s...

9 days ago • 3 min read

Hello Reader, It's been a busy spring around here! I offered my first-ever free three-hour workshop to the public. I migrated my course materials to a brand-new platform with robust features to support writers. And I even spruced up my look with a months-long rebranding process. Then last week, we onboarded the next cohort of writers to the Wyrd Writers Collective. I'm absolutely energized by all of this, but I've also been woefully neglecting my novel. It can be so hard to prioritize our...

16 days ago • 3 min read

Hello Reader, One of questions that emerged from Story Scaffolding Live! last week was around a question that appears in my course materials and those of other writing coaches as well, as well as on several editor and agent submission forms: Why are you the right person to tell this story? I love asking this question because it gets to the heart of your bigger "Why" for writing the story--what it means to you on a personal and emotional level, moving beyond the events that happen in the story...

23 days ago • 3 min read
Share this post