In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* It’s Been a Week
* Succumbing to Unreasoning Fear
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“And how do we discern character?” A question posed by an anonymous AP writer in an article about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My response: Easy. Compare the words a person says and the promises s/he makes with the actions s/he takes. But maybe that’s just me.
Welcome to Linda C and anyone else visiting the Journal over the past few days. I hope you find the Journal a valuable resource. If I can help in any way with your writing, feel free to email me.
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It’s Been a Week
From an enjoyable visit with my son to the death of Queen Elizabeth II to the anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow, what a week it’s already been.
Bookended by those two tragic events, today would have been my mother’s 86th birthday had she lived a few more months. And finally, we in the Stanbrough camp are anticipating some personal news within the next few days that might go either way. Please, no comments or questions. I mention this only to preface the following.
All of which causes me to wonder, what level of importance for a given event is enough to distract one from doing one’s job: writing?
Of course, I’m certain it’s different for different people with different histories and personalities, but generally speaking, or perhaps just for yourself—
- How big a disruption has to occur to interrupt your writing?
- How big a disruption has to occur to stop you writing altogether?
- And the biggie—Is the event itself the actual cause of the disruption in your routine? Or is the event only an excuse that justifies you bowing to the critical mind and not writing for awhile (or ever again)?
I’m not asking these questions from some lofty height. I hope they will serve as a catalyst to put you on your guard.
Succumbing to Unreasoning Fear
So that you might be urged-on by my successes and forewarned by my failures or shortcomings, I’ve always tried to share both with you. Here’s another truth: I haven’t written much—even during the past week after starting a brand new novel, and even years after I cleared out all the myths—because I succumbed to an unreasoning fear from my critical mind.
Nope, even I am not immune, even after the millions of words of fiction I’ve written. So be on your guard. Protect your writing process from external forces and fight off every (even minor) attempt of your critical mind to slow or stop you.
To help with that, if you would like a copy of my book, Quiet the Critical Voice (and Write Fiction), email me at email@example.com. Let me know which electronic format you’d like—PDF, .mobi, or .epub—and I’ll send it out free. Of if you’d rather, you can purchase a copy at https://books2read.com/u/bWRDNW.
For one reason or another—or having taken advantage of one excuse or another—I’ve allowed myself to be distracted for the past full week. I haven’t written any fiction for those 7 days.
Although I do mourn the passing of the Queen, I could have watched an hour of BBC coverage and then gone back to my novel. I didn’t really know my mother, and as much as I despise those persons and situations who brought about the events of 9/11, those actual events are far enough in the past that I can write through my memories of them.
I feel the same way about my memories of the senseless slayings of John and Robert Kennedy (though I wasn’t personally a fan of either) and of Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II, two of my very few personal heroes.
(If you’re wondering, King for his sensitivity to and insight into ignorance and its role in the human condition, and John Paul II for his recognition that physical pain is part of the human experience and something that should be experienced and its lessons absorbed.)
I haven’t even fully identified yet the critical-mind fear to which I’ve succumbed, but I’m close on its trail. I believe I’ve made writing a particular work “important,” thereby stopping myself cold. Instead of moving smoothly through it, I’m hovering. As I’ve said countless times, making any work important spells the end of that work.
But bigger than that, I believe I’ve also imbued the idea of getting back to writing like I used to with a sense of importance. Which also stops me cold and which, on the surface, is just stupid on my part.
The truth is, though fiction and the escape it provides is important to certain readers, overall, fiction is not important in the slightest. None of it matters. If I never wrote another word of fiction, I might be missed by my more avid readers/fans for a week or so. Then they would move on to other authors and other stories. For example, how much would your life change if Hemingway (or your favorite author) never lived?
Anyway, I will nail down the fear soon, and then I’ll put it behind me and get back to telling stories. In the meantime, today I’ll open the novel, read through what I have so far, then either trash it and start over or try to continue with what I have.
Failing either of those possibilities, I’ll start something else. If I’m to be a fiction writer again, that’s what I have to do. Fiction writers write fiction.
Talk with you again soon.
See “How 9/11 caused Queen Elizabeth to break a 600-year-old royal tradition” at https://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/how-9-11-caused-queen-elizabeth-to-break-a-600-year-old-royal-tradition/.
See “King Charles III delivers first address…” at https://apnews.com/article/queen-elizabeth-britain-monarchy-a83dba4dd181f51591531de2ce0249c0. There are other links in the article.
See “How this 34-year-old mom makes 6 figures as a book narrator” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-this-34-year-old-mom-makes-6-figures-as-a-book-narrator-i-get-to-work-my-dream-job-from-home/.
See “First of its kind: Israeli food company produced highly marbled 3D-printed beef morsels” at https://interestingengineering.com/innovation/highy-marbled-3d-printed-beef-morsels. Star Trek replicators, anyone?
See “Fun Video” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/fun-video-2/.
See “To Read or Not To Read” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/09/to-read-or-not-to-read.html.
The Journal…………………………………… 950 words
Writing of The Jury (novel, tentative title)
Day 1…… 2488 words. Total words to date…… 2488
Day 2…… 0789 words. Total words to date…… 3277
Total fiction words for September……… 3277
Total fiction words for the year………… 69708
Total nonfiction words for September… 7560
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 135790
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 205498
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 67
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: Along with discussing various aspects of the writing craft, I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. WITD is “the only way” to write, but it is by far the easiest, most liberating, and most fun.