The Daily Journal, Friday, August 16

In today’s Journal

* Cows Pulling Pranks
* Topic: On Dreams and Goals
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

Cows Pulling Pranks

Where I live just outside St. David Arizona (north of Tombstone) we abut a rancher’s land. The fence runs along the south (long) side of the Hovel, about a foot away.

Clumps of straw-colored grass and small, 10- to 15-foot mesquite trees populate the landscape under an almost-full moon. A few pre-teen to teenage clouds are scattered about in clumps as if waiting for something to happen.

Inside the Hovel, my desk faces a window. (I keep the window covered, but it’s there.) The door is about six feet away on my right.

A little before 3 a.m., I was at my desk writing the Journal and checking online sources when I thought I heard quiet snickering.

Then, a loud, “Mooo!” A shuffled hoof, more quiet snickering.

I frowned, went back to my typing.

Again, louder, “Moooo0!”

I said, “Crap,” annoyed at the interruption. I got up, went to the door, swung it open and stepped out.

And witnessed a small stampede as several cows, eyes wide, turned south and bustled away from the fence.

My only gratification came a moment later when one stumbled somewhere in the mesquite. She uttered a quiet, “Oof,” then got up and resumed running.

At least they didn’t leave a burning paper bag on my stoop.

Topic: On Dreams and Goals

There’s an old truism: You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

Of course, winning the lottery is a dream. It’s something that is not within your control. It depends on chance or luck. Well, and perhaps preparation.

And that’s where the truism comes in. All you can do to help the dream along is put yourself in the best possible position to win by setting goals, which means doing things that ARE within your control. In the case of the lottery, that means buying a ticket.

Writing is much the same.

Making it onto a bestseller list is a dream. Selling a million copies of your novel is also a dream. Even being “discovered” is a dream.

Goals are things you do help you prepare, to give yourself a sense of achievement and to help improve your chances of attaining your dreams.

The smart writer sets goals on three fronts:

* Learning goals—to learn more about the craft of writing,

* Production goals—writing more stories and novels, and

* Learning goals again—this time about the business of writing.

Here’s why:

* The more you learn about the craft, the better your stories and novels become,

* The more you write and release (publish), the more your name gets out there and enhances your shot at discoverability (your chance of being discovered by readers), and

* The more you learn about the business of writing, the more you open yourself to possibilities you never knew existed (and the closer you come to being able to quit your day job and focus on your writing).

There’s nothing wrong with having dreams. There’s also nothing wrong with dreaming big.

But as my paternal grandmother used to say, “Praying is good, but you’ve got to put feet in your prayers.”

In other words, you have to strive toward what you want. If you want the universe to take you seriously, you have to have skin in the game.

Lightning strikes in this business, but most of the time it doesn’t strike all at once.

It flicks along here and there, always seeking the high points, the places that are easier to hit and illuminate. With every passing day, I expect success. With every passing day, I also work toward it.

If you want literary lightning to strike you, you have to make yourself available. If you want to win the lottery, y’gotta buy a ticket.

Rolled out a little before 2. The plan is to write early, then take my new pickup out for a spin. I can always call it research, right?

I also will read a poetry collection (for the third time) by a Formalist poet whom I’d thought of as a contemporary—a thought that was shattered when he sent his collection (and a request for a blurb) to “Mr. Stanbrough.” Sigh. Sometimes I don’t realize how really old I am. (grin)

But the guy’s a good poet. I look forward to reading his work a final time and writing a blurb for him, something I very rarely do. I will withhold criticism.

I’ve re-discovered Steven Pressfield’s site. I don’t agree with much of his writing process (mired in the myths), but he still writes some excellent blog posts. I shared a few of them below.

You might want to sign up for Pressfield’s Writer Wednesdays blog. Just don’t be pulled into the myths.

Well, fiction just isn’t going to happen for me today. No worries at all. Just got too busy with the truck. It’s a guy thing. (grin)

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Write the Book You Can’t Write” at

See “Pulp Heroes” at Good, insightful stuff.

See “Write What You Don’t Know” at and “Write What You Don’t Know, Part Two” at

See “George Carlin on the Danger of Visible Progress” at

See “The One Lost – It’s A Mystery” at

For fun, see “Mark Twain on Photographs” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 900 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 900

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glen Marco (novel)

Day 1…… 3222 words. Total words to date…… 3222
Day 2…… 1170 words. Total words to date…… 4392
Day 3…… 3191 words. Total words to date…… 7583
Day 4…… 1374 words. Total words to date…… 8957
Day 5…… 1952 words. Total words to date…… 10909
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 10909
Total fiction words for the year………… 369646
Total nonfiction words for the month… 17020
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 235090
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 604736

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31