How to Start or Start Again

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* How to Start or Start Again
* I Found It!
* Bradbury Challenge Information
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.” Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth, as reported in the Kill Zone post yesterday

“You have to believe in the long term plan you have but you need the short term goals to motivate and inspire you.” Roger Federer

“I’ve been struggling over a rewrite for a chapter for 3 WEEKS now, and I don’t understand why I can’t finish it.” Azali, in a comment on the Kill Zone post I mention below

Me, hand raised: “Um, I do.”

“I’ve proven everything that I set out to prove–if not to others, then to myself … [but] I continue to play with my imaginary friends whenever I can. Maybe it’s not as exciting as it used to be, but it’s still the best job in the world.” John Gilstrap, echoing my recent sentiments

How to Start or Start Again

In her post in the Kill Zone blog yesterday, one half of the two-sister team that form author PJ Parrish, wrote, “I’ve been having a bad time of late trying to get in a writing mood.”

As you all know, I resemble that remark, so I read her post a couple of times.

A little later in the article, she wrote, “I need to re-find quietude and solitude.”

Well, no. By her own admission, she’s “in my Michigan home now, far from the heat waves. It’s 70 degrees and the only thing I can hear is birdsong and the sweet wheeze of my dog Archie snoring at my side.” If that isn’t quietude and solitude, I don’t know what is.

She also wrote, “I need my hurly-burly brain to calm down before something creative can start growing there again.”

Do you recognize the critical mind making excuses to stop the creative mind from writing? That’s when I thought, No, you need to sit down, put your fingers on the keyboard, and write something, anything.

The creative mind can’t play if it doesn’t have a conduit.

I’m not being mean here, and I’m not picking on PJ. In an effort to help, I left the following as a comment:

“I’ve been going through something similar for some time. I won’t go into details, but I’ve found the only solution (for me) is in two parts.

“Part 1, I sit down, drop a character with a problem into a setting, and start writing.

“I write whatever comes, to the best of my ability, but just for fun. Just to find out what happens in the character’s story.

“The problem doesn’t have to be ‘the’ problem of the story. That will come when it’s time. But just to get started, to get the fingers moving over the keyboard, a character with a problem in a setting works every time.

“Part 2 is keep doing that until an opening grabs you so that you get lost in it….”

I hope none of you need this particular kind of help. It really is a kind of hell.

But if you do, I hope PJ’s post and/or my comment helps in some way.

I Found It!

About a half-hour after I filed yesterday’s Journal I had the brilliant idea (snicker) of searching for the unique name of the POV character of that Blackwell Ops start I thought I had lost.

I did that search, and TWO files popped up. One was the misnamed file I found yesterday. The character name was still in the title. But the other had his name in the body text, along with the unique name of the “bad guy” target and the rest of the opening I’d written.

And when I opened it, I found that I had written more than I’d originally thought, so it’s all good.

For the next few hours I poked around with a couple of other starts. I wrote a little on the others, but nothing to talk about. Then thunderstorms started (yay!) and I headed up to the house.

There I wrote two chapters for Blackwell Ops 9: Cameron Stance and added the title to my Numbers below. I think this is my new major project.

I need to have fun right now, so I’ll play with it for a day or two and see whether it runs as well as I think (and hope) it will.

Bradbury Challenge Information

Yesterday one of the challenge participants asked me when the challenge started. To find out, I went to In the Search box, I keyed in “Bradbury Challenge”. Then I looked for the earliest examples.

You guys can use the search box too. That’s why I put one in the sidebar. (grin) Anyway, as it turns out, I posted “A New Personal Challenge” on March 22.

Then I wrote “Fears About the Challenge” on March 23.

Finally, I wrote “One More Post on the Bradbury Challenge” on March 24. Then I finally shut up about it, I think. (grin)

I first reported the progress of the challenge participants on Monday, March 27.

So for those of you who have been in the challenge all along, you have written at least 20 short stories. The next will be at least your 21st.

Of course if you skipped a week or longer or if you wrote more than one story in one or more weeks, your total will differ.

I’ve also had a question about how to organize files. I wrote a post awhile back on how I organize my novels, novellas, series, collections and short stories. Maybe it’s time to do that again since I have a lot of subscribers now that I didn’t have back then.

I’ll do that soon. Stay tuned. I’ll also talk about what documents, photos, etc. I have in the folder for each novel/collection/story.

And any other topics you’d like to hear about, let me know.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Not Writing Is Easier Than It Used To Be” at A post I really needed to see.

See “Matt Stevens Digitally Conjures Acclaimed Movies Into Hyperrealistic Vintage Paperbacks” at Interesting.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1120

Writing of Blackwell Ops 9: Cameron Stance (novel)
Brought forward from earlier start…… 4087 words

Day 1…… 1595 words. Total words to date…… 5682

Writing of Rose Padilla (WCG10SF5)

Day 1…… 4283 words. Total words to date…… 4283
Day 2…… 3963 words. Total words to date…… 8246
Day 3…… 1463 words. Total words to date…… 9709
Day 4…… 2445 words. Total words to date……12154

Total fiction words for August……… 12198
Total fiction words for 2023………… 126745
Total nonfiction words for August… 6470
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 156370
Total fiction words since August 1…… 12198
Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 283115

Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date………… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………… 73
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 221
Short story collections…………………………………………. 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark, adherence to Heinlein’s Rules, and that following the myths of fiction writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

2 thoughts on “How to Start or Start Again”

    • Wow, was it that long ago? Probably hasn’t changed much, but I definitely need to update that post and run it again. Thanks!

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