2023 Goals: Creating While Your Muse Sleeps

Make this tale live for us in all its many bearings, O Muse

Homer’s Odyssey, translation by T.E. Lawrence

My muse has been very sleepy.

I was prepared for 2023 to be easier than 2022. A cross-country move through a spanner in the works of my writing life during 2022. Things started to settle down before a series of family emergencies pulled the rug out from under me in the last week of 2022.

The clouds are parting now. Being a person who does better with some goals and structure, I’m looking at my creativity goals for 2023. Let’s see if we can rouse the muse out of her slumber.

Revisiting 2022 goals

Because of the upheaval of 2022, I did a midyear revision of goals. So, in the end, my goals were:

  1. Finish edits on my manuscript
  2. Write six blog posts
  3. Figure out what’s next

Considering everything, I think I did pretty well. I finished the edits on my manuscript, sent the whole thing through my critique group plus my critique partner and seven beta readers. I’m really happy with this one. I was able to do a research trip for it—it’s set in 1910 New York City, which was great after two years of not being able to travel. I started querying it this week (fingers crossed).

I wrote five blog posts. I planned to write one that last week of December, but that’s when the floor fell out beneath me. So I’m happy with five.

Figure out what’s next… well, I’ll plan and research as I always do, but I’ll reserve deciding about that one. We’ll just have to see how energetic my muse feels.

2023 goals

I’m not one to cut myself slack and wing it, but I’m trying to be mindful of what’s feasible this year. So, in an effort to keep these goals manageable… sorry, had to stop and catch my breath from doubling over with laughter. Manageable… ha!

  1. Finish querying my 1910 NYC manuscript. This is the third year/third book I’ve queried. All my readers tell me this is the most commercial. However, if this one doesn’t grab an agent, I need to look seriously at the indie route. Again, I do better with structure, and indie has always felt a bit overwhelming to me. (If anyone has good resources for a straightforward guide to how to do this, let me know!)
  2. What’s the next writing project? I finished my dual timeline story (Tudor/WW2 Channel Islands) during NaNoWriMo last year and I’ve been giving the very rough chapters to my critique group. I will continue to work on this, but it needs significant work. I also have an idea for a second in the series for the 1910 NYC story, but I haven’t gotten very far in the plotting. I’m trying to be flexible to see which one pulls me next. Hello, muse?
  3. Write six blog posts. I’ll keep trying…
  4. Put my creative mind to other pursuits to take off some pressure. Last year I began to rediscover the piano. I also would like to spend more time painting. I had been trying my hand at watercolor, but I think I’d like to go back to oils and acrylics. For this year, I want to finish relearning Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor and paint at least one landscape.

Being kind to ourselves – and let the muse find you

On my desk, I have the quote at the top of this post—the invocation of the muse that starts Homer’s Odyssey. I think of Clio as my main muse—she was the muse of creativity and history. That seems fitting since I write historical fiction. She has really needed some rest, apparently. Maybe I’ll call on Euterpe (the muse of music and lyric poetry) or Thalia (the muse of comedy and poetry, closely associated with nature). Perhaps seeing her sisters visiting will inspire Clio to reawaken.

And that will be the overarching goal: to give a warm welcome to whichever muse decides to show up.

Will you welcome your muse this year? What are your creative goals?

Photo credit: Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

Published by katezerrenner

I write non-fiction environmental work, mainly climate change, energy, and water, with a heavy focus on policy. I also write historical fiction. In addition to writing, I work as a policy advisor at the State of Texas. Previously, I spent over a decade at Environmental Defense Fund, where I led EDF’s multi-year campaign to influence and enact state and national energy and water efficiency policy. I led the state legislative team, testifying before the US Congress and Texas Legislature. Prior to joining EDF, I worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office analyzing U.S. action on climate change and the voluntary carbon offset market; SAIC, on climate change projects for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and U.S. Department of Energy. I have a Master’s degree in International Energy and Environmental Policy and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, a Master’s in Comparative Politics from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a Bachelor’s degree in European History from the University of Texas

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