[Wyrd Words Weekly] Happy New Year!

Hello Reader,

Chances are you're spending a little bit of time this week both reflecting on how things went in 2023 and looking forward to what you want 2024 to look like. And if you're anything like me, your creative life is probably on the list of things you're thinking about. Although I'm not a big New Years Resolution person, I always spend time setting some intentions for the new year. Resolutions have started to feel a bit too hustle-culture for me, so I love the gentler aspect of intentions.

My intentions for this past year were to spend more time with my family and on my personal writing in 2023 after several years of intense business-building. My word for 2023 was EASE and I'm thrilled to report that I think I finally achieved that this past year. It was my word in 2022 as well, but this time last year, I really felt I still had work to do to really claim ease.

So maybe it's fitting that my word for this year is INTENTION. Because if I've learned anything from the last couple of months, it's that every second is precious and to take full advantage of the time we have, we need to be intentional. About our thoughts. Our actions. How we spend our time. Who we spend it with.

I intend to spend as much time as I can with my youngest kiddo before they fledge the nest this fall. I intend to continue the progress I made toward work-life balance, my own creative projects, and my flourishing business. And I will be intentional as new opportunities come my way--saying yes when they fit my values and saying no if they don't.

Part of that will be sharing more of my writing NOW rather than waiting for the publishing goddess to show her favor. One way that I'll be doing that is via Substack. There will be a mix of free and subscription-based content, including this recent piece I wrote about our recent time in Florida: Reflections on the Gulf.

The beach is a meditative place for me. A place where I can ponder and set intentions and let go of disappointments and past pain. A place where I gather shells that I don't keep (except in photo format) and thoughts that I want to hang onto...

I captured a little piece of it for you, dear readers. I hope it brings you a moment of New Years Zen:

So I'm headed into the new year energized. Hopeful. Present. And I hope you are too. If you're looking for a little burst of creative inspiration to start 2024 off right...If you want to write a book your readers can't forget...the kind that makes readers ugly cry...read on for a special New Year present to help with that presence.

Writing the kind of book that keeps readers up all night isn’t easy. A lot of writers get it wrong, because they don’t understand the vital connection between plot and character arc.

Chances are, you either love plot or you love character, but not both. Bridging the gap between the two is HARD.

That’s why I want to introduce you to my friend Dani Abernathy.

Dani is a book coach and Enneagram teacher who helps novelists write the stories they need to tell so their readers can feel seen and can see others.

Dani is offering a free workshop to help you capture the magic of plot and character so you can impact readers on an emotional level.

Join her on Saturday, January 6th for The Art of Emotionally Impactful Storytelling: How to Craft Compelling Narratives that Speak to Your Reader.

During this workshop, you’ll:

  • Discover what your novel is really about—this one piece of information will transform your book from “eh” to “yes
  • Unlock your protagonist’s deepest belief to take your novel from skimming the surface to swimming in deep waters
  • Chart how your protagonist will change during the course of your novel (this is what makes a book unforgettable)
  • Build a Snowball of Misbelief that connects your protagonist’s inner reality to the plot, something most writers miss

Head over now to register, because who doesn’t want to make their reader ugly cry?

You can get all the details and register here.

Hope to see you there!



Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz works with both award-winning and newer authors across the publishing spectrum from Big Five to small and university presses to indie and hybrid. She is an Author Accelerator-certified Founding Book Coach, a sought-after speaker and writing instructor, and a regular contributor to Jane Friedman and Writers Helping Writers, and a regular instructor for AuthorsPublish, IWWG, ProWritingAid and more. Her work as a Pitch Wars and Teen Pit mentor, a former SCBWI Regional Advisor (WWA), and her memberships in The EFA, the WFWA, AWP, and the Authors Guild keep her industry knowledge sharp. A consummate social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Redmond, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers (when they’re not off at university!), and two naughty furry familiars. She’s built a thriving book coaching business based on her values, her editing chops, and her knowledge of story. 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...

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...

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...