In today’s Journal
▪ A quiet rumination on days
▪ A happy announcement
▪ Topic: The Best Defense
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers
When I close out each day and post the Journal, I go back and reset the Notepad document on which I type the original.
Yesterday, I almost left February in place and changed 28 to 29. I always feel a little cheated at the end of February, even when it has 29 days.
Seriously, couldn’t they have taken the extra day from a couple of those with 31 days and made every February 30 days long? Would we really notice the extra day we get every four years? Or maybe they could make one of the 30-day months a 31-day month every four years. Wouldn’t that work just as well?
It kind of reminds me of that alleged “old Indian” saying about daylight savings time: “Only a white man would think you could cut a foot off one end of a blanket and sew it to the other end to make a longer blanket.”
Well, it looks as if you’re going to be able to put up with my blathering for a longer foreseeable future than we in the Stanbrough camp were able to foresee yesterday.
The doc appointment yesterday was to determine whether my heart function has improved over the past 5 months from its all-time low of 10%.
According to the doc’s reading of the cardio-echo I had yesterday, my heart function is now “35% at the worst,” a great improvement. He went on to say, “But officially I’m calling it 40-45%.”
So woohoo! Onward.
Topic: The Best Defense (Is a Good Offense)
Sometimes I wonder whether I’m being too opinionated. (Yeah, I know that’s a major shock. Harvey? Opinionated?)
But it’s true.
All my life I’ve striven to find common ground, or at least to leave said ground open to other possibilities and opinions. I’m just smart enough to know I don’t know everything and that one size truly doesn’t fit everyone.
In my blogs and in my teaching (back when I was still teaching), I use my own experiences as examples and I lay out my own opinions for the “right” way to do things.
I always try to add that every writer is different and that your results may vary. The bottom line (yeah, I’m a “bottom line” guy) is that you should find what works for you and then do that.
But somehow, my admonition that every writer is different — that what works very well for me might or might not work for you — doesn’t always translate well for others. Somehow, occasionally, others translate my stance as “my way or the highway,” meaning if you’d rather not do it “my way,” it would be better if you hit the road.
Wow. A spin-meister could have a field day with that, couldn’t he? I can just see it now: “In a recent blog post, Harvey Stanbrough said, and I quote, ‘if you’d rather not do it “my way,” it would be better if you hit the road.'”
I’ve never seen spin actually written out like that, but I suspect it occurs in writers’ minds now and then. And when it does, they get mightily defensive.
Of course, in my own mind I have to wonder why. Are they unsatisfied with the way they do things? Are they so unsure of themselves and their abilities that they take “every writer is different” as a slight of some kind?
I don’t know. And I don’t really care, except as a matter of curiosity. After all, the demons that live in their mind is a battle they, not I, have to fight.
But I do know enough about psychology to know that a defensive response is often the result of a sense of inadequacy.
The most recent occurrence of this (to me) strange phenomenon happened on another writing blog on which I regularly comment.
After reading a post with which I mostly agreed, I commented and mentioned that I had written a similar post on the same topic. In my comment, I pointed to the URL of my post.
I didn’t do so to “one-up” the other writer (a best-selling author) but only to provide her and other readers of her blog post with a little more information (and yes, to publicize my own post).
The author responded to my post defensively, as if I was saying in my comment that she was wrong and I was right, blah blah blah.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I was trying to say in my comment that I thought my post and hers augmented each other. That together, the two posts presented a more thorough view of the topic than either did by itself.
Apparently she didn’t get that.
I can’t and won’t apologize for her perception, given that my intent was 180 out. But I really wish she’d understood what I was trying to do.
I really long for a world in which we all could figuratively hold hands and move forward together rather than sparring with each other, especially among the tradpubs and the indiepubs or among those who plot everything to within an inch of its life and those who Just Write the Story.
After all, don’t we all have the same goal? Don’t we all want to tell the best story we can tell at our current level of skill?
In every case, my intention in my blog posts and comments is to help others increase that level of skill. Not to get them to necessarily change the way they do things, but to tempt them to at least TRY another way they haven’t tried before. To see for themselves whether it works better for them. If it does, good. If it doesn’t, also good. Every writer is different.
What makes me crazy (and sad) is when a writer — we’re supposed to be the most open-minded people on Earth — cross their arms and flatly refuse to try something new because they somehow “know” without having tried it that it will not work for them.
If I personally had not taken a chance and tried “something new” five years ago on April 15 2014, I wouldn’t today be receiving income from almost 200 short stories and 30 short story collections.
And if I hadn’t taken that same chance five years ago on October 19 2014, I wouldn’t today have 40 (almost 41) published novels.
All of that happened and is ongoing because, although I was skeptical, I thought, “Well, this guy (Dean Wesley Smith) has been making a living from his fiction for 40 years. Maybe he knows what he’s talking about.” That was in early April of 2014 when I was 61 years old.
So let me say it here, as loudly and as plainly as I can: Try the “new” things I mention in my posts. If they feel right to you after you initially try them, stick with it for awhile (I’m talking at least a few years, not weeks or months).
And if they don’t work for you, if they don’t feel right to you after you’ve tried them, go back to your old way of doing things.
I promise, I won’t berate you for it. And I’ll stand alongside you and tell any detractors it’s none of their business. Even if you aren’t doing things “my way.”
Rolled out extra early this morning at just after 1 a.m. I checked the internet, didn’t find much, did a little work on my website, then wrote a lot of nonfiction.
I wrote everything above, then wrote the topic for tomorrow. (Something in the current topic keyed that, so stay tuned.)
Up to the house for a break at 4:30. Back to the hovel at 4:45, more screwing around, then to the novel at 5:30.
I was cruising along fine through 15 chapters in this novel with only a bare-bones reverse outline (names, place names). Then yesterday my characters threw me a serious curve. So this morning I’ll create a reverse outline as I cycle back through the whole thing.
Another break at 6:30. Back at 7:20 to continue cycling and filling in the reverse outline.
Up to the house at 8:30. Put on laundry, cleaned the catboxes, etc. and finally back to the novel an hour later.
By 10, I was through cycling and finally got to add new words to the novel. (grin) At 11:15 I took a break to check the laundry.
Then I made the mistake of reading Nora Roberts’ blog post. I didn’t list it in today’s “Of Interest,” nor will I ever again.
Suffice it to say I’m too incensed to write anymore today. I’ll go work on a website or something.
Besides, I believe in Myself enough to know I’ll be fine on my novel challenge. Someone like Nora Roberts can’t derail that, no matter how much she wishes she could.
And from this moment forward, I wouldn’t buy one of her books to tear out the pages to use for toilet paper.
Talk with you again tomorrow.
See “There Ain’t No Mickey Mouse Crap Like This on CSI!” at https://www.leelofland.com/there-aint-no-mickey-mouse-crap-like-this-on-csi/.
Fiction Words: 1235
Nonfiction Words: 1540 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2775
Writing of Blackwell Ops 4: Melanie Sloan (novel)
Day 1…… 2363 words. Total words to date…… 2363
Day 2…… 2233 words. Total words to date…… 4596
Day 3…… 3353 words. Total words to date…… 7949
Day 4…… 1330 words. Total words to date…… 9279
Day 5…… 2263 words. Total words to date…… 11542
Day 6…… 3345 words. Total words to date…… 14887
Day 7…… 3657 words. Total words to date…… 18544
Day 8…… 3581 words. Total words to date…… 22125
Day 9…… 3320 words. Total words to date…… 25445
Day 10… 1235 words. Total words to date…… 26680
Total fiction words for the month……… 1235
Total fiction words for the year………… 160293
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 52760
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 213053
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date………………………… 3
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date…………………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date……… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 40
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 193
Short story collections…………………………………………………… 31