The Journal, Tuesday, 6/27

Hey Folks,

Wow, there sure are a lot of blank spaces on my spreadsheet where there should be fiction numbers.

I don’t imagine that bothers you a lot since they’re my goose eggs and not yours. But just in case, I can promise you they’re going to change pretty soon. (grin)

Probably in a big way.

What follows is a bit of personal rambling, which is why it isn’t preceded by the word “topic.”

I might have mentioned here before an old Marine Corps acquaintance of mine. I won’t mention his name here. It wouldn’t mean anything to you, and with any luck at all he’s changed.

The guy was a corporal when I was a young PFC. He was my first NCO, and about the first one I met outside of boot camp.

But the guy was a head. (That’s what we called them back then.) He smoked dope. A lot.

That’s the only thing the guy ever introduced me to by the way of leadership. I looked up to him, and that’s what he offered me. Literally.

And yeah, I took him up on it. Until I realized I couldn’t function as well as I did otherwise while my head was melting. I like having a clear mind. Fortunately, I was smart enough to say No Thanks after the first couple of times.

I only mention that because I got back in touch with him around 3 years ago. About the time I was launching all this writing stuff seriously.

Excited, I told him all about Heinlein’s Rules and writing off into the dark. I told him eventually I hoped to write a novel in six months or less, and to turn out two or more every year thereafter. Along with the occasional short story when a tale didn’t want to stretch into a novel.

In short, he said it was impossible. That I’d burn out. That even trying it would destroy me.

I wonder what might have happened if I’d come away from my early Marine Corps experience actually trusting the guidance of that guy? What might I have been today if I had learned early on that it was better to listen to him than not?

Wow.

Anyway, I didn’t. And this year, if I weren’t messing about with challenges and the like, I’d have a novel a month made in the shade. I might even get close to two a month if I wanted to.

Still, I’m glad he and I met all those years ago. After all, who knows where I might be and what I might have accomplished if I hadn’t learned from him, inadvertently, to think and decide for myself?

And I actually like to think he’s one of the reasons I get so annoyed at “writing instructors” who pass along really bad advice. Not just the clichéd stuff, but maybe especially the clichéd stuff.

Maybe he’s one of the reasons, too, that I’m so stubborn about sharing what I’ve learned and know to be true. Especially the stuff that goes against conventional “wisdom” but actually works.

Odd thing, this Life Trip. Sure glad I get to tag along with the likes of you.

Today, and Writing

Yesterday, I wound up formatting everything, then created nine covers. I still need pics for three short stories, but everything else is done.

Today I’ll upload what I did yesterday to my distributors and BundleRabbit, then work to find a few more cover pics. Of course, all of that is after I get back from delivering Bryan to Tucson.

Around 5, getting Bryan up and ready to go. We’ll leave about 6 for Tucson.

I got back about 8:30 and turned-to, updating my main website. (Swing by and let me know what you think.)

I’ll also be tweaking it to implement some of Nate Hoffelder’s recommendations over the next week or so, but it’s mostly finished now.

Then I walked down the lane, clippers in hand, trimming overhanging mesquite tree limbs back. By the time I got back I thought sure it was 110 out there. It was only 96. I’ve gotten to where anything over 90 is rough on me I guess. Sigh.

Anyway, it’s almost 12:30 now. I’m gonna distribute the stories I completed covers for yesterday and then see what the rest of the day holds.

Well, publishing is a thoroughly disgusting process. I started around 1:30, uploading to D2D. Less than a half-hour later I was done with that part.

Then I went to Amazon. One book loaded cleanly. All the others encountered an “error,” asked me to try again later, then let me refresh the page, which took me back to the previous page. There they processed my upload again, etc. Sigh. Truly annoying.

When I do the challenge, I might well just not publish the stories that result. I love writing, but I’m really close to giving up on the idea of publishing them anyplace but my websites.

Anyway, I’m gonna post this, then go back to trudge through Amazon some more. Oh, and then BundleRabbit.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

If I may slip back into the personal for a moment, this film clip (about 25 minutes) should be mandatory viewing for any who call themselves Americans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oUtJxE4sjs. I especially believe it should be part of every college orientation session.

I recommend “Bookselling in the Age of Amazon” along with Passive Guy’s take on it. See http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/bookselling-in-the-age-of-amazon/.

If you write, typos are a continual and unavoidable nuisance. Check out these typos from famous authors’ works: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2017/jun/16/misprint-the-legends-famous-typos-from-james-joyce-to-jk-rowling/. (Thanks, Gary.)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 920 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 920

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15630
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 105610
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 443567

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 579 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

The Journal, Monday, 6/26

Hey Folks,

Wow. I could post this right now and chances are you’d find value in it. Just check out today’s “Of Interest” to see what I mean. There’s a lot there.

***

By the way, I requested and received a “free website critique” of my main website from Nate Hoffelder.

In a word, the guy’s legit. He’s also super helpful. My website doesn’t suck, but (to continue the analogy) he pointed out a few places where vacuum leaks exist or are forming. So I’ll take care of those over the next week or so.

So once again I encourage you to visit The Digital Reader at https://the-digital-reader.com/. Not only for his usually useful notes on the publishing industry, but for his services.

***

For those following the Saga of Grandson Bryan, he’s safely ensconsed at my house again. I’ll drive him to Tucson early on Tuesday morning and he’ll begin his training with Job Corps and then his new life. The older I get (seemingly day by day) the more I envy the excitement of young people experiencing new discoveries.

But new discoveries are neither limited to the young, nor are we more-mature folks banned from them. With this chapter of his and my life closing, two new doors also are opening.

Bryan will set off in wide-eyed wonder on his life’s journey, and I’ll begin the new challenge I’ve been hawking here for awhile.

Topic: Goals, Life Rolls and Establishing Routines

Stealing a bit of thunder from the “Today, and Writing” section, there’s something to be said for the interaction of goals, life rolls and establishing routines.

For example, now that my current life roll has almost come to a close, I’m clearing the decks to prep for the upcoming challenge.

If I can finish that prep work today, the current plan is to begin the challenge tomorrow. If this effort carries through Tuesday, I’ll begin the challenge on Wednesday.

But the disruption of this life roll has also brought a new insight. Why not use the current challenge not only to reach a desired goal, but to establish a new routine?

So no matter when I begin the challenge, I’ve decided not to limit it to a set timeframe.

I still have to write a novel for July, but I also want to write a complete short story every day through at least July 31. No matter when I start.

I once logged a 26-hour workday in the oilfields of New Mexico in a single 24-hour day. So why can’t I expand “Stories from July” to span June 27 or 28 through July 31?

And by July 31, if I have a routine down, I see no reason to voluntarily stop at that point, to voluntarily end the streak.

Think about it: It’s all well and good to write 31 stories in 31 calendar days from July 1 through July 31 and then publish Stories from July.

But why not continue through August 31? Or September 30? You see where I’m going.

And I’ve come to realize that’s the real purpose behind this goal and this challenge: to continue in my training (or retraining) as a writer by establishing a routine.

Certainly the short stories and collections and novels will be a pleasing by-product (to some readers) of that training, but nothing more than that.

Carving out time to write is important. Writing is important. But the stories themselves are not important in the slightest. They’re something to enjoy and let go.

So what’s the importance of establishing a routine?

The best, most deeply imbedded routines are those that can be interrupted by life rolls but to which you return automatically when the life roll ends. You know, instead of erratically “starting over” each time.

If I can do that, maybe I’ll emerge feeling like a “real” writer. We’ll see. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Today, and probably the balance of tomorrow, I’m continuing to clear the decks for my challenge. The websites are done, all but minor tweaks. So I’ll finally design the covers and other promo materials for my 10 unpublished short stories, a novel and a novella.

Then I’ll publish them, then upload covers to the website, create new pages on the website for the novel and novella, etc.

UPDATE: As of 11:30, I finished formatting the documents and writing promo documents for them. Now I only have to find the cover pics, create the covers, and distribute them. Piece’a cake, amIright? (grin)

By 1:30, I identified pics for the novel, novella, and 7 of the short stories. I have a feeling the last three will have to wait awhile.

It’s almost 3 so I’m gonna post this. I have 4 covers done. I’ll do at least one more today.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Check out “Why Indie Authors’ Websites Need to Evolve Over Time” at http://selfpublishingadvice.org/is-it-time-to-evolve-your-author-website/.

More importantly, see “US Copyright Office recommends sweeping, welcome changes to America’s DRM laws” at http://boingboing.net/2017/06/23/us-copyright-office-recommends.html/. (I personally NEVER use DRM and recommend strongly against it.)

And see “Hoopla Digital and HarperCollins Disrupt Library E-Lending” at https://copyrightandtechnology.com/2017/06/25/hoopla-digital-and-harpercollins-disrupt-library-e-lending/.

From Linda Adams via email, if you’re a veteran and you’d like to start your own business (publishing, anyone?) check out “VetToCEO – Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Program” at http://www.vettoceo.org/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 880

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 104690
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 442647

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 578 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