[Wyrd Words Weekly] Prioritizing creative work in a busy world...

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 creative work, especially when there's no contract-driven deadline on the books.

Being accountable only to ourselves sometimes means we put aside our creative work in favor of more urgent demands. But those "urgent" things might not actually be as important as the creative work that feeds our souls.

That's where I found myself as things started to slow down after my spring of launches and rebranding--yearning to make progress on my story. The novel was calling to me. My book coach and critique partners are calling for fresh pages, too! That little bit of extra accountability can help remind us to make space for this work.

So I snuck away this past weekend for a writing retreat at the lovely Whidbey Institute and it was a much-needed refresher. I dipped my toes in the sea, poked in tide pools, walked a beautiful wooded labyrinth while meditating on my story, searched the night sky for auroras, caught up with some writing friends I hadn't seen since before COVID, and wrote all the words (I'm at 6,500 10,000 and counting as I type this and charging toward the midpoint!).

Island life is one of my favorite parts of living in Washington and something I'll sorely miss when we're in Colorado. I still get ridiculously excited about boarding a ferry, even after ten years and countless ferry rides. And I never can stop watching the water for an orca. Some of my favorite small Washington towns are on the islands...Langley (Whidbey Island), Eastsound (Orcas Island), Vashon (Vashon Island), and Friday Harbor (San Juan Island). If you ever get a chance to visit, or write, in any of these lovely locations, take advantage of it. You won't regret it.

Not only did I get a lot of pages written, yet another tricky timeline issue sorted (*shakes fist at past Julie, who thought writing a multi-timeline multi-POV story spanning two continents and oodles of timezones was a good idea*), a synopsis revised, and a lot of story questions answered, but I reconnected with my writing community as well. I'm tired--because I never sleep enough at these things and because it takes a lot of emotional energy for me to write that many words in just a couple of days--but my creative cup is refilled and I've got momentum on this story.

If you've been struggling to meet your creative goals due to general busy-ness, now is the time to block out the calendar for some real work whether that's spending a quiet Sunday morning with your words or locking yourself away in the woods for a long weekend.

It's Time! CP Meet Cute Round 8

If reading about the accountability my amazing critique partners provide me gave you a little twinge of envy, I get it. Not too long ago (OK, a decade ago), I was living in Finland and couldn't find a single writer to talk with as I struggled through my first middle grade novel. The critique partners I found as part of the now-on-hiatus online writing conference, WriteOnCon, are still my lifeline today.

I want you to have the kind of support and feedback that I get with my own critique partners and that's why I'm thrilled to announce the eighth running of my free critique partner matching service, CP Meet Cute. Like speed dating where you swap 10 pages instead of lattes, CP Meet Cute is a low-stakes way to meet some new writers and find out if they might be a match for you.

Over the past two years, I've matched over 700 writers as part of CP Meet Cute, so if you're looking to extend your writing community, sign up by the end of the month and you'll receive your matches in early July.

What I'm Reading

I'm such a sucker for bookish books. Bring me all the stories about writers, bookshops, librarians, editors, agents, magical typewriters--all of it.

So when my friend and fellow book coach Nicole Meier mentioned her new book was inspired by Portland legend Powells City of Books--also known as everybody's favorite bookshop--I knew I had to have City of Books ASAP.

This book will draw bookish folk in from the second you meet tote-bag carrying bookseller Jo Waterstone and the lock-in aspect of the story had all kinds of nostalgic resonance for me. Give it a look--it's a great summer read for book lovers of all stripes.

Hope you're having a great start to your summer!



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.

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