The Journal, Saturday, 9/16

Hey Folks,

Even after a relatively late night, I rolled out at 3:30 this morning. Not sure how much I’ll get done in writing today since it’s Saturday.

TOPIC: On Challenges, Part 2

Note: This follows on yesterday’s topic. If you haven’t read it, you can find it at http://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-friday-915/.

At the beginning of the calendar year, I challenged myself to write 15 novels during the year.

Later, after an intended novel fell short and ended as a novella, I adjusted the goal to 16 novels or novellas. That should have clued me I was in trouble.

It didn’t. I plunged merrily ahead but conveniently forgot the whole purpose of a challenge: productivity.

In my desire to write a certain number of novels, I allowed myself to be overwhelmed. In short, I lost sight of the little picture: the word count.

Grandpa always said you can’t build a house, but you can drive a nail. (Or you can’t write a novel, but you can write a scene.)

If you drive enough nails, you’ll look up one day through the clearing smoke and see that you have a new house.

Now just for fun, let’s slip a bit afield.

Productivity isn’t finishing a certain number of novels or novellas or even short stories.

In its initial, base form, productivity is putting words on the page. Like it or not, it all boils back down to the basic act: word count is what produces short stories, novellas and novels. You can’t escape that fact.

I find it particularly telling (and humorous, actually) that so many writers wrinkle up their nose and eschew word count as if it were gross and even distasteful. Pedestrian, even. Like sex.

Well, it might be. But it’s still a necessary (if ugly, depending on your POV) act in which the writer must allow his conscious and subconscious mind to engage if he is to birth a new novel.

It occurs to me that the metaphor extends when you realize word count generally isn’t talked about in polite circles.

Get it?

And it’s something all writers engage in whether or not they want to admit it.

After all, if such things really were only for us peasants, Great Britain’s royal line would be really short. In fact, it would have ended abruptly on the other side of a pair of crossed arms and a head shaking side to side eons ago. (Somebody stop me!)

Okay. Okay (deep breaths). Enough on the metaphor.

Now I don’t push productivity for its own sake. I push productivity as a matter of business.

The more works a writer has “out there” the greater the chance readers will stumble on something he’s written, like it, and buy more.

This is common sense, even given that what was once common for most seems to have become a luxury for many. But I digress.

Noting word count, whether it’s done publicly (as here) or in private (all the better people only do it in private) is what drives the writer to produce more literary children.

And when our word-count drive begins to weaken, there’s no better way to enhance it than to give ourselves a challenge.

Try it. You’ll like it. And you don’t have to tell anybody.

***

Well, I didn’t get a lot done today. I got a lot done but not a lot of writing. Calling it early to watch a ball game.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Here you go, SF folks. How could the government use the new “Micropods” at http://www.sciencealert.com/vaccines-made-of-these-tiny-micropods-could-an-end-to-booster-shots/.

Even if you don’t write erotic fiction, see “Smashwords Implements New Classifications for Erotic Fiction” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/09/smashwords-erotica.html. Lot of good info there on BISAC codes, etc.

Fiction Words: 1514
Nonfiction Words: 620 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2134

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
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861
Day 11… 1514 words. Total words to date…… 27375

Total fiction words for the month……… 34456
Total fiction words for the year………… 414076
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8820
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 145220
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 559296

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 657 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/13

Hey Folks,

Not a lot other than reading and writing (very little arithmetic) going on at the old homestead today.

It feels like a do-nothing day, but I don’t want one. Besides, I need that like I need a cliché in my head.

I finally broke down and took my lawn mower in to a repair shop. That and surrounding details and sidetracks ate up the first two working hours of the day.

I started playing at the novel right at 10:30. It’s now almost 1:30 (I’ve done some other little stuff too) and I’ve written barely over 1000 new words.

I had to stop and check the total word count because I knew I hadn’t written much. I was actually surprised to see it was over 1000 words. My focus has just been scattered a bit thus far today. (For a reason, see “Of Interest.”)

It will be interesting (to me) to see what happens for the rest of the day re that focus.

Well, I really thought this would be a small day, but it worked out all right. I also have a great starting point for tomorrow (a jagged edge) and a ball game starting in about 8 minutes (grin). Tonight Cleveland might extend its winning streak to 21 games. That would be history in the league.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, something perhaps “relevant to author promo, website and cover design decisions.” See “Designing for Human Attention” at https://uxplanet.org/designing-for-human-attention-ac0abe3d657d.

If you use Smashwords, see “Smashwords Introduces Global Pricing Control…” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/09/global-pricing.html/.

See “The Attitude of a Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-attitude-of-a-challenge/. Some good notes there re attitude.

For any Facebook users, via The Passive Voice, I read that FB is changing its mission statement. See https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n16/john-lanchester/you-are-the-product.

For some witty wordplay from The Passive Guy, see “Much Ado about Lavender” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/much-ado-about-lavender/.

Fiction Words: 3147
Nonfiction Words: 290 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3437

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
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467

Total fiction words for the month……… 26548
Total fiction words for the year………… 406168
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6870
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 143270
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 549438

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 655 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182