Talk Among Yourselves

In today’s Journal

* Talk Among Yourselves
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Talk Among Yourselves

Part 1

I have to be away for awhile. I mean, I’ll be here, just south of beautiful downtown Saint David Arizona, but I’ll be away from the Journal. As I wrote a few years ago in some poem, it’s time to reconnect some frazzled ends. (And yes, I took a shot at doing this not long ago, but the attempt never got off the ground.)

For several years, things ran very smoothly for me. I had an established routine, and I loved it. Then a series of occurrences happened, each of which threw its own big wrench into the works to clog the machine. And each happened before I’d quite gotten over the previous one.

Thanks to those occurrences or maybe their timing or maybe their severity or maybe who-the-hell-knows, now I, a guy with possibly the most advanced sense or urgency you will ever witness, have all but ground to a halt.

The biggest occurrences were me stopping cigars, my reassignment of a couple of my computers for some inane reason, and my little daughter-cat contracting some ridiculously random disease. And then her suffering and her inevitable decline and eventually her pitiful, untimely death in my arms on April 11 of this year. She was an incredibly brave little girl.

Part 2 (a little fun to deflect the aggravation)

Of course, all of that was augmented by my ongoing, please-make-it-stop, you-have-GOT-to-be-kidding-me frustration with all the self-important tadpoles in the world.

You know the ones I mean. They smile as if they’ve just gotten a dose of Soma and everything is fine all the time and they drive 40 in a 55 on a two-lane road with very few passing zones and they wouldn’t pull over for an ambulance, even if they noticed it, which they probably wouldn’t.

And when they finally DO turn off they’re actually surprised that all those people in all those cars were behind them for the past fifteen miles, and they’re equally surprised that those folks seem to be annoyed about something or other and “Golly gee, I wonder what’s bothering them?”

Or they park their shopping cart sideways in the aisle at the grocery store, then carry on a lengthy conversation on the phone with someone else about whether they should buy the name-brand sugar or whether the generic sugar is just as good.

“Oh, okay, thanks. And by the way, I heard your son was accepted at Any Other State University and goodness I wonder why he wants to move so far away?”

(Yeah, y’know, I wonder too. No really. It couldn’t possibly be to keep his brain from atrophying by association.)

“Oh and while I have you on the phone, did you hear about what happened to Woman We Haven’t Seen Since High School? Yes, I know I’ll see you at dinner tonight, but let me tell you now. I have plenty of time. Listen. And blah blah blah blah blah.”

And if I quietly say, “Excuse me” and gesture toward the shopping cart, the blockage (yes, I’m aware of the intestinal implication) flashes me a glare, frowns and says, “Do you mind? I’m talking!” and turns away.

And whatever you’re thinking, nope, you can’t. If you do that, you’ll go to jail or be banned from the store or whatever because You Were Rude.

Or they remain parked in one of the limited spaces at the post office so they can read the mail they went inside and retrieved TEN MINUTES ago. Because, of course, there is nobody on Earth besides them. Oh, and plus, they just got a phone call from another member of their species who happens to be shopping.

And here I am, a guy who just wants to drive close to the speed limit, buy a bag of sugar so I can keep feeding the hummers who stop by to visit, take say a minute or two (no longer) to park, walk in and check my PO box, walk out and drive home where I can write stories to entertain people.

And I’ve given up my ability to self-medicate. Sigh.

(Thanks for playing along. [grin])

Part 3

Things aren’t fun anymore.

Like many of you, I’ve lived through and participated in a lot of not-fun things, but that was back when doing so was (or seemed) necessary and I was bulletproofed with youth.

These days, things are different. These day, the saying “Life is short” has real meaning, so hey, if it ain’t fun, I ain’t doin’ it. It’s that simple.

So I have to figure out a few things and try to get back to having fun. I can’t be much of an adviser or instructor or mentor to anyone else if I can’t put myself back on track.

Not that I’m All That, but my advice on writing fiction is why most of my subscribers come to the Journal in the first place. Though I suppose after Part 2 it’s possible that they’ll come back to see just how far off the deep end I might go. And when.

My greatest success as a writer was when I wrote 13 novels in the first 7 months of 2021. On average, I wrote a new novel every 14 days.

All the while I was talking with writers and others every day via email, publishing what I’d written, publishing the Journal almost every day, etc. etc. etc. And yes, I still had time to do other things, family things, reading, studying the craft, etc. My routine flowed as easily as the blood flowed through my veins.

The thing is, I did all of that before, so I know I can do it again. I want (need) to get back to that level of productivity. At least 3000 words of publishable fiction per day, every day. Of course, now and then there will be days when I have to do other things, but the average should hold up. In this game, the average over time is what matters.

But to do that, first I have to toss out some mental trash, reset some priorities, and get my writer life back on track.

I have a few things to learn, like the new webcam I bought and the ins and outs of YouTube (if I keep doing that) and my smartphone, which I only recently began learning how to use, and so on.

Eventually I also have to learn either Affinity Publisher or Atticus if I want to put my books in paper. We’ll see. Going to paper isn’t a priority for me. If it’s important to my heirs, well, in addition to my IP I’ll also hand-down Affinity Publisher and Atticus. Maybe they’ll be motivated to take the books to paper.

But whatever else, having fun writing fiction has to come first. It has to. If writing fiction can’t come first and foremost, then I’ll just stop because why bother. And who knows, maybe I’ve done enough anyway.

If I can’t give myself fully to the accomplishment of a goal, I’d rather not attempt it at all. Some of you know what I mean. For anyone who doesn’t, there really is no way to explain it. The long and short of it is that I have to re-establish a routine and get it going again. Or not.

So that’s what will be going on in the Stanbrough camp over the next day or two or twelve. When the smoke clears I’ll be back to talk about the immediate future, either way.

In the meantime, I encourage especially newer subscribers to take a look at all the free offerings at (Only the DVDs are not free.)

Hasta la later.

Of Interest

See “Last Day of the Workshop Sale” at .

See “Promise Words” at See what you think. I think it isn’t the words, it’s how they’re used.

See “Book Files and Formats: How to Protect Your Writing Investment” at Okay, first, Microsoft Word and Adobe In-Design are not file types. They are software programs. They generate file types. Second, everything in this article is an excellent reason to go indie and self-publish. Not surprisingly, the author of the article, David Wogahn, is also the author of Countdown to Book Launch (ridiculous) and the president of AuthorImprints, one of those subsidy publishers I warned against a few days ago.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1390

Writing of “Marvin McTavish Decides”

Day 1…… 326 words. Total words to date…… 326

Writing of “A Midnight Sketch”

Day 1…… 1341 words. Total words to date…… 1341

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 July……… 1667
Total fiction words for 2023………… 111689
Total nonfiction words for July… 4730
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 136280
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 247969

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.

6 thoughts on “Talk Among Yourselves”

  1. Harvey, my friend, although I’m perpetually jonesing (quite literally) for new output from you, I hope by now you intuitively know that regardless of whether you find a way to get yourself back and pick up where you left off or not, you will always have my full support and understanding; but just in case you have any doubts about that, this is me telling you so, flat-out, and I have spoken. You’re not alone. I’m a bit older’n you, as you know, and fully congnizant of the fact that no matter how much or how little of my allotted time remains, it becomes less and less with each passing day and likely won’t be nearly enough to accomplish much, if any, of all I’ve thus far left undone, so for the most part if it’s not fun, I don’t see much point in trying to do it. The only not-fun stuff I hope to find the will, the strength, and the ability to accomplish with whatever time I have left falls into the category of minimizing the amount of my life’s detritus my son will have to deal with after I’m gone.

  2. Take all the time you need, Harvey. Like Russ said, I fully understand and support whatever you choose to do. Taking a step back to focus on writing and having a blast doing it is the best thing we writers can do. I myself have been trying to eliminate other things (what I can, anyway) in an attempt to get back to my old 4000 words a day routine that, since October (my best month as a writer in which I wrote 120k and 3 novels), has dropped by a couple thousand words. I believe we can get back to where we want to be, if we just focus on the fun. Above all I hope you enjoy yourself and spend as much of your time as possible doing what you love, and I’m going to try to do the same.

  3. Hope you will enjoy writing, and write as much as you want. I like the journal, but I fully understand if you chose writing against it. And meanwhile I can read the old posts. 😉 No need to do something you don’t enjoy or something keeps away you from writing. Hopefully, I’ll be here when you return. Until then, have fun!

    • Thanks, Balázs. If you’re subscribed and receive the Journal in your inbox, there should be no problem.

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