Questions and Answers

In today’s Journal

* Questions and Answers
* One More Unsub
* The Novel
* Of Interest

Questions and Answers

Today over on the Kill Zone blog, Dale Evans Smith asked 4 questions and then posted responses from other TKZ contributors’ previous posts. Then he opened it up to everyone.

If you want, stop by “Writing Strategies” at, read the post, and add to the discussion.

Here are the questions and my responses:

1. Do you have tips for breaking through a minor writer’s block?

N/A. Mechanics, plumbers, cabinetmakers, etc. don’t get mechanic’s block or plumber’s block or cabinetmaker’s block. They just show up and do their job.

2. How do you keep yourself writing?

I’m an adherent [of] Heinlein’s Rules, especially 1–3. Writers write. I’m a writer.

3. Do you have a routine you use, or a ritual?

Not really, though most often I write on a separate “writing ‘puter,” a little 11″ HP. It’s a subliminal signal to my creative subconscious. It knows we’re about to drop into a story and race through it with the characters as it unfolds all around us. Nothing is more fun.

4. Any advice on keeping your keister in the writing chair?

Again, Heinlein’s Rules 1–3. Sometimes, after I finish a novel, I spend a day or two deciding which character(s) or world or storyline I’d like to visit next, but not writing is miserable.

One More Unsub

One more subscriber unsubscribed, and this one actually floored me because I immediately recognized the email address as a former mentoring student.

I even emailed the person to ask why s/he’d unsubscribed, and the person gracefully responded. S/he wrote that s/he was checking the Journal on the website now.

So that’s similar to what I do each day with Dean’s site and on most days with TKZ and The Passive Voice. But I do that because 1) an email subscription is not available on those sites, and 2) it’s odd, but those are the only places I know of that don’t constantly propagate the myths.

Well, TKZ does, by and large, but there are a few authors on there who are open to reasonable discussions, so I check back now and then. Most of the time I check back to see whether one of those few is holding forth with useful information.

But sometimes, I admit, I check just to compare what they say inadvertently—like “Dare to risk writing badly” with “revise, rewrite, and edit.” (grin)

The Novel

is off and running. Whee!

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Are terrestrial planets really that similar to Earth? What to know about their composition” at For SF writers, is would be research.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 440 words

Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 4003

Total fiction words for October……… 12205
Total fiction words for the year………… 132587
Total nonfiction words for October… 6680
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 159900
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 292487

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)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this Journal, I discuss various aspects of the writing craft. I also 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.

7 thoughts on “Questions and Answers”

  1. I check the blog mostly daily – the last couple of weeks being a notable exception, as I was traveling for family events and mostly unplugged – so I haven’t subscribed.

    Doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the blog, because I do, very much. Thank you!

    • Thanks for letting me know, Peggy. I guess there really is no way to know how many folks read the blog. Certainly not just by the number of subscribers.

  2. Even though I’m not now and have no interest in ever being a writer (as you well know), I got into the habit of checking this journal on the web virtually every morning, simply because you are a treasured friend; because what you do, how you go about it, and the various aspects of the writer’s profession and the publishing business interest me; and because most of what you find worthy of posting as being of interest fascinates me and feeds my lifelong desire to always be learning something, even if it’s not something which is particularly applicable to any aspect of my life: I’ve always just enjoyed learning and knowing about as much as I can, if only in a general sort of way. My normal routine consists of first feeding the many cats and the one dog which, along with my son, comprise what I consider my family, and then sitting down at my desk with a good cup of coffee to check my e-mail, the local weather forecast, my bank accounts, and your journal–including the links you post in the “Of Interest” section–in that order, and then I usually surf the net a while to get a sense of what significant goings-on pass for news these days. Until recently I had not been a subscriber because under your former posting schedule it was a very rare day when I didn’t find a new addition to the journal already waiting for me when I got to that point in my morning. However, the adjustments you’ve recently made in your schedule now means that most days your new journal entries don’t appear until after I’ve already been through my normal routine, so I subscribed simply to get a notification of when I need to go back and read the day’s journal entry. Most days I still read the journal on the web rather than as an e-mail (in part because the e-mail doesn’t reflect any comments the journal entry may have elicited, and I like to read those, too), and I appreciate having the e-mail as a reminder to read the new entries I haven’t yet seen.

    • Thanks, Russ. Just so you know, even though the MailerLite email doesn’t go out until 10 a.m. my time, the new edition of the Journal is usually (not always) online by about 6 a.m. my time.

      • Roger that. I most often get to it online before receiving the e-mail, just not always. Depends primarily on whether or not I have something out of the ordinary going on first thing in the morning, such as an early medical or dental appointment or, as is the case every Saturday morning, my routine of visiting Walmart and United Supermarket to buy my groceries for the week. The e-mail just helps ensure I don’t forget to read it whenever something disrupts my normal routine.

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