Hey, You Do You

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Attitude of a Fiction Writer
* My Goals
* Hey, You Do You
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“I write one draft, done, and I never look at it again. Why would I look at it again? I know how it ends.” Dean Wesley Smith

“Nothing will stop you from being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” John Cleese

“Don’t write the book you think might sell. … [W]rite the book that is tearing at your insides to get out. Write the book that keeps you up at night.” PJ Parrish

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Ernest Hemingway

Attitude of a Fiction Writer

If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you check out Dean Wesley Smith’s 2019 video “Attitude of a Fiction Writer” at https://youtu.be/71Q8aw5jzrE. He even lays out nine specific points that have to do with writer attitude. I strongly recommend taking notes.

In the video Dean also briefly mentions Scott Carter’s WIBBOW rule. I tend to apply it to everything. When you’re considering doing something that’s “writing related,” ask yourself this question: Would I Be Better Off Writing?

My Goals

My new daily word count goal is 3500 words per day.

My short-term goal is to write 5 more novels before January 1. None will be consecutive in a series.

My long-term goal? I’m thinking about that. Much depends on how I do for the rest of this year.

Last year I wrote 13 novels in 7 months. Extrapolated out, that would be 22 novels next year.

But this year I’m writing 5 novels in the last 3 months. Extrapolated out, that would be 20 novels next year. So my goal will probably be in that neighborhood.

Topic: Hey, You Do You

As I wrote a couple of days ago, do whatever you want, folks, seriously. Doesn’t matter to me.

When someone tries WITD and realizes how freeing it is, I get nothing. Well, other than feeling good because one more writer is running free with his or her characters instead of controlling and manipulating them. I even routinely give away my nonfiction books.

Those who are unable to write into the dark apparently just need the much more controlled way of doing things. That’s where they’re more comfortable, so good for them. I understand, believe me.

The need to know what’s coming next in a story creates anxiety and fear. Well, or exhilaration.

Fear and exhilaration are opposite sides of the same odd coin, really. Everything depends on how we choose to look at it. But fear affects us differently than exhilaration does, so which we choose makes a huge difference.

Succumbing to fear will cause us to be overly careful. We will construct and depend on safety nets, even though, ironically, there are zero consequences if we fail.

But succumbing to exhilaration will cause us to discard the safety nets and rush ahead, even though, again ironically, there ARE consequences. They occur in the form of even more heart-pounding exhilaration. Go figure.

If you’ve ever wondered how to experience being an adrenaline junkie without leaving your chair, this is it.

Anyway, enough of that. Really, with everything I say I’m either preaching to the choir or banging my head against a wall, so (shrug). I’m glad I personally stuck with WITD back in early 2014 and started writing novels with it in October of that year.

Just Writing (WITD) and striving to adhere to Heinlein’s Rules continues to be completely worthwhile for me. And I will always believe it can be worthwhile for anyone who has the courage to “Dare to be bad” (Nina Kiriki Hoffman).

For those who are curious or are hungry to learn, my Journal archives remain free and completely searchable. You can find those at https://hestanbrough.com/the-daily-journal-archives/.

And honestly, setting false modesty aside, those archives comprise a legitimate brass ring. If you want to be a professional fiction writer — if you want to consistently turn out high-quality stories and novels and have a blast doing it — I urge you to Grab It.

Or don’t. If you choose to go the other way, that’s fine too. (And no matter how you rationalize it, there really are only two ways to write fiction. You either trust yourself or you depend on others. You can’t “sort of” trust yourself anymore than you can be “sort of” decisive.)

I only wish I’d had such a resource as the Journal archives when I first started to write fiction seriously. I’m grateful for Dean, but wow, what might I have paid for an archive of his posts?

Yet my Journal archive costs you nothing but your time. All you have to do is read it, trust yourself, and write. Obviously, the archive for 2022 isn’t complete yet. I will list it on the Journal Archives page sometime in January 2023.

It occurs to me that I’ve known folks who were extremely successful and self-confident right up until they sat down at a laptop and put their fingers on the keys to write a story. Then suddenly they knew nothing and were consumed by fear.

Yet those same folks were telling stories to their parents and friends before they even knew the alphabet existed. They just made stuff up. How odd that they feel they can’t still do exactly that.

Anyway, whatever method, technique or process you use, or if you use none at all and Just Write, I wish for all of you that eventually you will be able to develop, establish and maintain trust, not in me or any other instructor, but in Yourself.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Making Mistakes: It’s a Mistake Not To Make Them” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/10/making-mistakes-its-amistake-not-to-make-them-2.html.

See “Fire in the hole!” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/10/fire-in-the-hole.html.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 900 words

Writing of (novel, tentative title)

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

Total fiction words for October……… 8202
Total fiction words for the year………… 128584
Total nonfiction words for October… 4060
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157280
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 285864

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 68
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 219
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this Journal, I discuss various aspects of the writing craft. I advocate trusting the characters to tell the story that they, not the writer, are living. This is by far the easiest, most liberating, and most fun way to tell a story.