In today’s Journal
* So I don’t forget
* Those of you wno follow
* One commenter
* The Hovel and an ethernet switch
* Topic: An Admission
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers
So I don’t forget to tell you, a buddy and I are going camping this coming Monday through Wednesday. If I have time between now and then I’ll write and pre-post something good with topics for those days. If not, well, I’ll be back. (grin) Maybe.
Those of you wno follow Pro Writers Writing might have noticed yesterday the wrong post (the one from the day before) went out. And this morning none went out.
As the admin of that site, I’m working on it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll fix it. At this point, I’m chalking it up to gnomes.
One commenter on yesterday’s Journal (Thanks, Catherine) mentioned she enjoyed the Lee Child quote. To see and hear more from Lee Child, visit
And you can find his website at https://www.leechild.com/.
As most of you know, I write in the Hovel, an adobe-like structure some 150 feet from my house. I do so mostly because it’s a separate office, so that when I’m at “work” I’m at work, and when I’m home, I’m home.
And yes, I also do so because I enjoy cigars, and I don’t like standing around in Arizona’s 100+ degree heat to do that. As you might imagine, the solitude of the Hovel is nice too. The thing is literally a man cave, as a few of you can attest. (grin)
But both the Hovel and the house are adobe-like rammed-earth structures with walls that are two to three feet thick, so WiFi from one to the other was spotty at best and mostly nonexistent.
So if I was writing and needed to do spot research (word spellings or translations, etc.), I had to trudge up to the house, conduct the few seconds of research, then trudge back to the Hovel, all while trying to remember what I’d learned and stay in the story.
A couple of months ago, my son (Thanks, Roy!) hard-wired a Cat 7 ethernet cable from the router in my house to my computer in the Hovel. So that solved the spotty WiFi problem.
And yesterday, I finally bought a little 5-port ethernet switch for the Hovel (my office). So now I have both my business computer and my writing ‘puter in the Hovel, both with incredibly fast internet.
Over time (as I develop new habits), having this ethernet switch should enable me to boost my productivity, maybe dramatically.
I’ll handle all email, write this Journal (the rough version), view any online workshops, etc. on the business computer where they belong. I’ll attend to those during breaks and/or non-writing time.
I’ll still have the internet on the writing ‘puter so I can pop online to conduct spot research as I write and so the two computers can talk via Dropbox. What I will NOT have on the writing ‘puter are those distracting little pop-up email notifications.
This will mean fewer distractions during my writing time, and that that alone is completely worth the $40 investment I made in buying the ethernet switch.
As I progress with tweaking this new arrangement, I won’t update the Journal (again, the rough version) through the day, so the boring time-framed stuff will probably go away. What remains will be rough approximations of when I did what (if that) and the good stuff. (grin)
Topic: An Admission
This is more for those of you who are more or less new to writing into the dark and still experimenting with getting into a personal rhythm with your writing.
If you’ve established a personal rhythm in your process, you might even want to skip this.
I often advise writers (especially those new to writing into the dark) that they can use 15- or 30-minute segments of free time to write.
This is based on having tested your day to see where your wasted time is. You can do that by creating a grid of your normal waking hours in 15-minute increments, then writing in the grids what you did during that time.
The idea is to write down everything you do during the entire day. (For example, if you cook supper and then do the dishes from 5 to 7 every day, you can automatically block out those two hours.)
Soon you’ll find that you have several 15- or 30- or even 60- minute increments during which you did nothing at all or that were otherwise wasted.
I recommend doing this for at least one normal weekday and one normal weekend day.
Then, having recognized those wasted time periods, you can seat yourself at the keyboard and write during those times.
It’s also a good idea to sit down and Just Write for 15 or 30 minutes to figure out about how many words per hour you write.
Most professional writers average around 1000 words per hour. That sounds fast, but it’s only 17 words per minute, which leaves a lot of time for staring off into space. How fast did you type in typing class in high school?
Even if you typed “only” 60 words per minute, if you could apply that to your WIP that would be 3600 words per hour. At that rate, you could finish writing a 60,000 word novel in about 17 hours. So three and a half hours per day for five days. Or two and a half hours per day for seven days.
But back to reality.
The 15-minute increment thing is absolutely valid advice that speaks to my personal mantra: Keep Coming Back. By writing during those otherwise wasted increments of time, you can accumulate larger word counts and make real progress on your WIP.
In my early days as a novelist (and sometimes even as a short story writer) I adhered to this advice. My days were much less structured then. I didn’t have a day job, but I tended to things as they came up.
So to the admission— Today, I don’t follow my own (and Dean Wesley Smith’s) advice to fill those shorter increments of free time with writing.
Mostly I attribute that to my writing speed. My average when I’m writing calmly, a few words or sentences at a time, is around 1200 words per hour.
But when I’m in the midst of a scene and it takes off, I hit closer to 1500 words per hour. (That’s still only a paltry 25 words per minute and leaves a lot of time for staring off into space.)
And because I write in bursts (scenes) of 800 to 1500 words, writing in those brief increments doesn’t work for me personally.
Now when I have an odd few minutes when I don’t want to get into the story yet (because I know it will run away with me and require more time than I have available), I do something stupid like play spider solitaire.
Yet I’m prolific because I keep coming back to those hour-long sessions and because I trust my readers to tell their own story and lead me through to the end.
Despite the fact that I no longer personally do it, writing in 15-minute or 30-minute increments is still sound advice from a “try it and see” standpoint. If it works for you, as it used to work for me, wonderful. If it doesn’t, let it go and do what works for you.
The key, though, is to honestly try it. Don’t let your critical voice tell you it doesn’t work or won’t work or isn’t working.
Give it an honest try and see what happens. Chances are your productivity will come alive. But either way, eventually you will find your niche, your personal space and speed.
A second addendum—
Now, if you believe 1000 words per hour is a blazing-fast rate and you can’t do it (critical mind) and you typically hit around 250 or 500 words per hour, DWS would say you need to “check in with yourself.”
However, I’m not that nice.
If you’re writing only 250 to 500 or whatever words per hour, no possible way are you in the story. You’re concentrating (critical mind) on words and/or sentences. And no matter how you write, you have to let that nonsense go and get into the story.
You can’t write into the dark until you learn to let go and just trust your subconscious. That is to say you have to trust your characters to tell their own story and that they will lead you through. Because they will.
Rolled out at 2, checked the internet, spent an hour in frustration with a client who was obsessed over the number of email subscribers to her blog (not the subscribers themselves), then another hour writing the stuff above, staring at the screen, etc. I also wrote a topic, deleted it, and wrote the one you see above.
Took a brief break up to the house at 5 to let the babies out and get another cup of coffee. As I write this, it’s almost 6 already and I’m headed out to feed the horses, then to the house to change clothes and grab breakfast. Then to the first fiction-writing session of the day.
Speaking of which, I feel like I’m approaching the end game of this novel. Not that I’m there yet, but that it’s coming. As I mentioned in an earlier Journal, I dragged my feet at times because I didn’t want this one to end.
On the other hand (there’s always another hand) I don’t remember the last time it took me 30 writing days or longer to write a novel. I feel a little like a slug.
Finally to the novel at 7:30.
My WIP seems to be running in starts and jerks and stops today. That tells me I’m getting close to the final bit for sure. As characters and situations culminate toward the end of the story, I always write more slowly as I move back and forth, letting the characters tie everything together.
Or maybe my subconscious still doesn’t want me to finish. Or maybe my subconscious wants me to finish this one while I’m in the field (that would be a first) on Monday through Wednesday camping with my buddy. Who knows.
Talk with you again tomorrow.
See Robert J. Sadler’s “Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag” at http://prowriterswriting.com/letting-the-cat-out-of-the-bag/.
See “Expo Finished…” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/expo-finished/.
See PG’s take on “How Does Color Affect Your Potential Customers?” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-does-color-affect-your-potential-customers/. VERY useful information in PG’s take.
See “Evidence Contamination: Sneezing, Coughing, and Talking” at https://www.leelofland.com/evidence-contamination-sneezing-coughing-and-talking/. I recommend scrolling down to “DNA Testing: The Process.”
See “RONE Award Finalist for Falcon’s Prey” at https://terryodell.com/rone-award-finalist-for-falcons-prey/. Get a free novel from a PWW contributor!
Fiction Words: 4301
Nonfiction Words: 1810 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 6111
Writing of In the Cantina at Noon (novel)
Day 29… 3397 words. Total words to date…… 58242
Day 30… 4301 words. Total words to date…… 62543
Total fiction words for the month……… 17908
Total fiction words for the year………… 324013
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10860
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 166420
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 490433
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 6
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31