The Journal, Tuesday, November 14

Hey Folks,

Well, again today I’m not going to publish my upcoming challenge. Frankly, I’m not certain yet what form it will take.

For the new folks who’ve recently joined us here on the Journal, welcome. To bring you up to speed, I’ve been a very prolific writer (by most standards) but have experienced something of a slump off and on for the past few months.

This morning, like a jolt of electricity, I realized the reason for the slump. More on that in a bit.

The last story I finished was a novel titled Loose Ends. That was in September. I published it on October 12, after my first reader had a go at it. But I have to tell you, it seems as if it were a year ago.

At times like this, I look back at numbers. They don’t always show what I’d like to see, but they don’t lie. And my spreadsheet tells me I’ve had a far less-than-productive year.

My fiction production started out well with a 92,000-word January. That fell off to a still somewhat respectable 59,000 words in February and 56,000 in March.

It dropped to 39,000 in April, and enjoyed a slight resurgence to 45,000 in both May and June.

But from there it took a nosedive to 25,000 words in July (that’s also when my seeming slump started), then to 16,000 in August before surging back up to 54,000 in September. Much of that was the novel Loose Ends.

But in October my engine stalled again and my production dropped to 15,000 words of fiction. Thus far in November, I’ve written hardly any fiction.

Somehow, in the midst all of that, I managed to eke out 7 novels, 2 novellas and several short stories in over 451,000 words.

Still, I feel like a slacker. Ugh. And worst of all, I haven’t been able to figure out what’s going on. Well, as I mentioned earlier, until now.

This morning, while searching for a particular blog post for a friend over on my main website, I came across a post titled “Epiphany.”

I took a moment to read it and realized exactly what went wrong: I fell off Heinlein’s Rules. Or more to the point, I allowed conscious-mind garbage to shove me off Heinlein’s Rules.

It happened in the midst of a story I was writing back in July. I’ve been struggling ever since.

Now I’ve long considered myself an “adherent” of Heinlein’s Rules. They really are simple, but incredibly difficult to follow.

The first rule is, “You must write.” The second is, “You must finish what you write.” See? Simple to say. Not so easy to do.

If there were a Rule 6 to Heinlein’s Rules, I suspect it would be “If you attempt to follow these Rules, you WILL occasionally fall off.” What’s worse, when you do fall off, it takes awhile to realize it. In the meantime, a kind of mental paralysis sets in.

If you don’t have a copy of Heinlein’s Rules, you can get an annotated copy free at http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Heinleins-Business-Habits-Annotated.pdf.

I’m not coming back just yet. I have some other things to do. But now that I know what’s going on, I’ll be back to fiction writing soon. And I’m able to breathe again.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

PLEASE read “Important. And Pass It On” at http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2006/10/important-and-pass-it-on.html.

If you like, see “Epiphany” over at http://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/epiphany/.

See “Story Four a Slight Miracle” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-four-a-slight-miracle/. Interesting.

Well, here you go. In a continuation of yesterday’s topic (and via The Digital Reader), see “Author Blogging 103: Guest Blogging, or How to Write for Exposure” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/11/13/author-blogging-103-guest-blogging-write-exposure/.

Note: For some reason Nate added, “You can find links to several good posts in the comments of this blog,” but I saw only two comments on that particular post and neither of them contained a link. So I’m not sure what he was talking about there.

Anyway, for those of you who pursue “writing for exposure,” best of luck. Frankly, beyond what I already do, I’d rather just spend the time writing fiction.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 690 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 690

Writing of ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 2238
Total fiction words for the year………… 451680
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6120
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 174183
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 625863

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 716 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

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