The Journal, Tuesday, 9/5

Hey Folks,

I rolled out a little early today. I spent the first half-hour or so on a little bit of Internet stuff. Then I listened to Week 5 of my online workshop with DWS.

The main topic this week was the primary reason I took this workshop, especially when combined with the main topic in Week 4. So I went back and reviewed a couple of videos from Week 4 as well and enhanced my notes for Week 5.

The topics in Weeks 1 – 3 weren’t really of interest to me, but I listened to them anyway because Dean often drops useful little gems as he moves among topics.

Next Tuesday will be the final week, so I’ll report then on this workshop. It’s the Mystery workshop, by the way, so I took it partly to learn new things and partly to verify that I was on the right track with some things I was already doing.

Topic: New Goals

I have been feeling pressured — pressure is not a good thing — ever since I reset my goals for the last four months of the year.

So I’m going to reset them again. Goals exist to serve me, not the other way around.

It’s important to me to write Every Day. That’s more important to me than numbers.

I’m convinced that some of the stories that have died over the past several months did so because I was away from them for a day or two or twelve.

It’s difficult at best to get back into a storyline after an absence. It’s much easier to just drop it and start something new.

So my “big” new goal is to write Every Day.

To that end, and to make it more realistic, I’m going to reduce my word count goal. Drastically.

Because frankly, with my current goal of 3,000 words per day, if I have only a half-hour or an hour or even two free in a given day, it’s much easier to throw in the towel and just skip it. (That pressure I mentioned earlier.) And then I feel like crap because I had a nonwriting day.

And that is not good.

So I’m going to try a version of James Scott Bell’s weekly goal. I’m going to shoot for 7,000 words per week. That’s only 1000 words a day for 7 days. One hour per day. I might write more than that, but I don’t want to write less than that.

If I find (as I hope) that I’m regularly exceeding that goal, well good. Then I’ll adjust it again later. Or not. Maybe I’ll just roll with it.

Now, if I write only 7,000 words per week for the rest of this year, I won’t reach 16 novels and novellas by year’s end. But so what? I already have 26 novels and 4 novellas. And over 180 short stories.

So I’m good with that. Right now I just want to get back to where I feel like a professional writer, by which I mean a person who sits down and writes every day.

Will I take a day off? In emergencies, yes. And maybe even in a time of no emergencies if I’ve just finished a work. Maybe I’ll take a day off before I start another one.

But in the meantime, I’ll plug along, putting down at least 1000 words per day of fiction.

I’m already sighing with relief. And of course, I’ll still be reporting my numbers below every day.

Now, at least a couple of you felt intimidated in the past. A couple of folks felt I was putting up numbers too big to “compete” with, although it was never meant to be a competition.

So if this method works for you too, and I truly hope it does, feel free to steal it from me the same way I stole it from James Scott Bell. Who, by the way, is in “Of Interest” below.

***

 

This WIP is a truly twisted piece of work. And I don’t mean that in a good way, like convoluted. I mean twisted as in bizarre, ugly, misshapen. Something that might be described as “slouching” toward some holy site. That kind of twisted.

So I’m gonna give it its head and see what happens. (grin)

***

I’m very pleased to report I have a new bundle out. My short story collection Mobster Tales is one of eleven ebooks (I think they’re all collections) in the Another Time, Another Place bundle. Here’s the graphic. It should also be a link. $2.99 for eleven ebooks folks. (If it doesn’t link, go to http://bundlerabbit.com/b/another-time-another-place/.)

Another Time Another Place

Back to my twisted WIP for awhile.

Pretty good day today. I’ll take it.

See you then.

Of Interest

Wow. See Dean’s “A Matter of Perspective” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-matter-of-perspective/.

In The Kill Zone blog, see “Two Writing Mind Tricks to Get You Rolling” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/09/two-writing-mind-tricks-to-get-you-rolling.html. (I can’t even tell you how much I’m going to take this guy’s advice.)

Some good stuff in The Passive Voice today. See http://www.thepassivevoice.com/.

Fiction Words: 2678
Nonfiction Words: 830 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3508

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459

Total fiction words for the month……… 11540
Total fiction words for the year………… 391160
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2860
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 139260
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 530420

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 647 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, 8/26

Hey Folks,

Well, a Saturday. The sun is still a couple hours from coming up as I write this. I’ve done my daily rounds of the Internet, made my usual stops.

If you enjoy a bit of history along with really great photos and some personal insights, check Linda Maye Adams’ blog at http://lindamayeadams.com/2017/08/26/a-veteranwriter-looks-at-history-leesylvania-state-park/.

Over the past few days I’ve started several bits of fiction. Each time I let them go. I’m not sure whether they weren’t working or it was just that I wasn’t in the mood. Probably the latter.

I mean, you don’t have to be in the “mood” to write. You just have to write the next sentence. I didn’t.

Pretty sure when I first backslid off Heinlein’s Rules was back when I decided it was no longer important to have a daily word count goal. That’s the only thing I can figure.

Also I crave writing novels. So lately when something “feels” like it’s going to be a short story, I tend to let it go.

I can feel something welling up, something about to break loose. But recently I’ve been waiting for it rather than sitting down and making it happen.

So there are a few things I need to change.

I already blew my novel-a-month goal when I missed finishing the last one (in July) by one day. So that goal is broken.

But my annual goal to write fifteen novels or novellas this calendar year remains. To do that, I just have to break down what’s left to do, divide it by the number of months/days and get busy.

To reach 15 major fiction works for the year, I have to write 7 more novels or novellas. So if I go with 40,000 words per novel as a base, that means I have to write 280,000 words in just those novels.

So that’s only 70,000 words per month for the remaining 4 months or 2300 words per day for 122 days. And if I hit my previous daily word count of 3000 words per day, in that 122 days I’ll reach 366,000 words, more than enough for the 20 short stories I’d also like to write by the end of the year (see below).

Completely within reach. That will also give me a new daily word count goal. Duh.

I mentioned short stories above. I would like to reach over 200 short stories published by the end of the year. I’m currently still 19 away. (Twenty to cross it into 201, which is the real goal.)

Thing is, writing short stories often leads to writing novels, so maybe I should start with short stories anyway. Doesn’t matter, I suppose. The point is to start somewhere, and then keep going. Just write the next sentence.

My wife mentioned last night that this slump started about the time we got back from our trip to New Mexico to visit a few elderly uncles. One (he’s only 10 years older than I) is on his way out with the big C, and I didn’t even know he was ill. I file that in the Damnit category.

I have some beginner’s knowledge of how the human psyche works, that it most often operates independently of its host’s willpower, what we desire, etc. So all of that slump stuff probably is a consideration. But it’s also an excuse, not a reason.

So onward.

Topic: On Word Count Goals

In case you didn’t read it, James Scott Bell talked about his “secret” of success as a prolific writer recently at the Kill Zone blog. Or maybe in one of his short YouTube videos.

Anyway, the secret, he says, is to have a word count goal. Same thing I used to say. Having a daily word count goal drives me to the computer when nothing else will. That’s how it helps me.

Mr. Bell doesn’t set a daily goal because, he says, when he misses it he beats himself up. (That’s one problem I don’t have, thankfully.)

He sets a weekly goal, then divides it by six to get his daily goal. (Wait for it.)

He feels no pressure re the daily goal, though, because life happens. If he misses his daily goal, he knows he can still reach his weekly goal by making up the words he missed on another day.

Sounds like a good approach to me.

Oh, and he divides by six (not seven) because he takes one day off per week to recharge his batteries.

So there you have it, for whatever it’s worth.

Today and Writing

Philosophical Dud of the Day: I guess it’s all right that I continue calling myself a writer. I do write every day, even if it isn’t always fiction.

Neat sidestep, isn’t it? (grin)

I dropped the “Untitled” whatever it was below. Frankly, I got so wrapped around the wheel “thinking” (oh oh) about it that I paralyzed myself. Critical mind. Easy to do.

So I’m starting fresh. Again.

Around 9:45, off to Sierra Vista to shop for stuff. We’ll see what the rest of the day holds when we get back.

Got back late and then a storm started moving in, so I’m gonna post this. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Today I’m referring to the Kill Zone blog again. PLEASE don’t take everything you read there for gospel. Like any advice from anywhere, take what feels right to you and ignore the rest.

See Dean’s “The Value of a Paperback” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-value-of-a-paperback/.

See James Scott Bell’s “Baloney Advice Writers Should Ignore” at https://killzoneblog.com/2012/10/baloney-advice-writers-should-ignore.html. Notice this is from 2012. The guy is a fount of information if you just spend a little time reading. You can find all of Bell’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/jimbell.

You might also browse Joe Moore’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/admin/.

ALSO SEE “Writing a Novel They Can’t Put Down” at http://knockoutfiction.teachable.com/p/novel/. This is a course in novel writing (from James Scott Bell), and most impressively, you have lifetime access to the materials. I’ll probably take this one myself. After I read one or two of his novels. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 990

Writing of ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 133390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 513000

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 637 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Thursday, 8/24

Hey Folks,

Well, I’m back.

A company called ReDigi is attempting to get an appeals court to let them resell “used” ebooks. Nonsense, in my opinion. And the way ReDigi wants to do it would cut the publisher and author out of any royalties. So double nonsense.

Nothing in an ebook can ever become degraded. There are no physical pages to be underlined and highlighted and dog-eared, etc.

According to current law (see https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/23/ruling-redigi-case-cant-re-open-door-used-ebook-market-door-never-closed/) an ebook can’t be sold as “used” but the seller can sell the media on which it is stored.

(There’s another link on the linked article above that explains in greater detail.)

To me, “media” means the device. Of course, lawyers can and will twist that word into whatever shape they want it to take.

So I could sell or give away my Kindle Paperwhite with the ebooks I have stored on it left in place. But I can’t collect a royalty on those ebooks, and that’s what’s at stake in the ReDigi appeal.

I hope ReDigi fails miserably, as any thief should.

***

To begin the day, I read again. I didn’t want to start anything long, so I read (again) Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”

If I live another hundred years, I will never write anything so filled with depth, so ironic and so beautiful.

And on the tail of that thought, this appropriate quote from the book: “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

Excellent advice for writers, don’t you think?

No fiction writing today either, but big new changes coming soon in that regard.

Of Interest

If you want to learn how to write “talk tough” characters, see “How to Talk Tough” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/08/how-to-talk-tough.html.

I also enjoyed “The Ingredients of a Great Series Character” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/08/the-ingredients-of-a-great-series-character.html.

Oddly enough, both entries above are by the same author, James Scott Bell. Mr. Bell blogs at The Kill Zone once a week. I’ll be checking in on him if I can remember.

I am avidly against censorship. If you are too, take a look at “Confirmed: B&N Terminating Nook Press Accounts for Publishing Erotica” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/23/bn-terminating-nook-press-accounts-publishing-erotica/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 380 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 380

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12900
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 132010
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 511630

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 635 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Saturday, 7/1

Hey Folks,

Okay. The roller coaster continues.

Maybe I’ll start the challenge today, and maybe I won’t. I’ll know by the end of the day.

Or maybe I need to adjust the challenge. I don’t know. Again, I hope I’ll know by the end of the day

Enjoying a visit with my youngest son, his wife, and three grandsons this morning.

Today, and Writing

No writing today.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via the Passive Guy, see “The Opening as Part of the Closing … of the Deal” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/03/the-opening-as-part-of-the-closing-of-the-deal.html. This is a really great article. You might also bookmark The Killzone Blog. I did.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 110 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 110

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 110
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 107940
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 445897

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 583 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176