The Daily Journal, Monday, April 8

In today’s Journal

▪ Today I’ll start
▪ Tutoring slot open
▪ Topic: Who a Story Is About
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers

Today, sometime or other, I’ll start a new novel. Maybe. The visit with my old friend went really well, interrupted somewhat by the sobering news about Jim Glaser’s passing.

This morning, I watched/listened to a few of Jim’s performances as a way to spend some time with him. It was enjoyable.

I heard from another possible tutoring student that s/he decided to pass at the moment (until s/he decides what specifically s/he needs to work on.)

So that means I still have room (time) in my current schedule to take on one more writer for tutoring. If you’re interested, email me at

This stuff isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it isn’t hit-or-miss. We’ll talk via email or phone, and I’ll tailor a program specifically to suit your needs, to address any aspect of your writing and/or cycling, editing, cover design or publishing issues.

It costs nothing to find out what I can do for you specifically. Once we come to an agreement re what you need, we’ll move forward a month at a time. The monthly cost and the number of months we continue the tutor/writer relationship will depend on your needs.

Topic: Writing Is Writing

The passing of Jim Glaser started me thinking about this topic. Jim not only had one of the best tenor voices anywhere, but over the years he was also a poet, a songwriter and finally a novelist.

Songs he wrote were recorded by a host of country music greats, but also by groups as diverse as Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and a rapper (I didn’t quite catch the name in the interview in “Of Interest”).

In his spare time, Jim was also an accomplished guitarist, and he mastered (vs. simply having his hand in) every aspect of music production, recording and showmanship.

I’ve long admired any consummate professional.

And all of that brought me to think about what being a consummate professional entails.

First, it entails a work ethic: the only way to be a professional is to work at your profession.

Second, and maybe more importantly, it involves ignoring false borders. In all-things music, for example, that means ignoring the fan-constructed borders between rap, rock, blues and country music.

Musicians love Music, period. It isn’t uncommong to see rock, country, blues, rap and other musicians comparing notes. Performers will put their personal stamp on any song from any musical genre that intrigues them.

Witness Johnny Cash recording Nine Inch Nails hit, “Hurt.” Witness “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by both Arrowsmith and Mark Chesnutt (and others). Hundreds of other great, timeless songs have been recorded by artists in seemingly opposed musical genres. I’m still waiting for someone else to record Lonestar’s massive hit, “Amazed” because it’s another of those timeless songs.

In our chosen profession of writing, being a professional means crossing (or ignoring) the borders between writing poetry, essays, articles, songs, short stories, novellas, novels and novel series.

In the purest possible sense, writing is writing and writers are writers. Yet incredibly, many writers wouldn’t think of writing outside their chosen genre. For example, a novelist might never dream of writing a short story or a poem or a song.

Jim asked me one day during a phone conversation whether I though he could write a novel. I was stymied by the question at first. I thought he was joking. Not because he couldn’t write a novel but because he was so accomplished that I was amazed he’d even asked.

When I finally realized the question was serious, I said, “Of course you can write a novel. Think of how many songs you’ve written.”

“Well, yes,” he said, “but that’s a different skill set.”

I said, “That’s true. It is a different skill set, but you use the same alphabet, the same sentences and parts of sentences, the same sense of timing and punctuation and…” so on.

We talked for another few minutes, and at the end of that conversation, he said, “Well, I’ll let you go. I need to get started on that novel.”

And he did.

His novel is called Drowning on the Third Coast, and it’s available only in paperback and only through his website at ($17). I wish it were available more widely, but we never got around to talking about marketing.

Drowning on the Third Coast is a great novel and a great story. It’s the story of going “on the road” in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, back before everything changed.

Chances are, you’ve all heard Jim’s songs (even if you weren’t aware of it at the time). His talent, drive and professionalism translated well from one genre (songwriting) to another (writing the novel).

The point is, never limit yourself. If you’re interested in writing in a different literary genre (poetry, short fiction, essays, novels, screenplays, etc.) do it.

Yes, you will have to learn a new set of skills, but many of the skills you already have will transfer without you even realizing it.

And once you learn the new skills required to write in your chosen new genre, those same skills will transfer back to other genres and improve your writing there.

You all know that I write short stories, novels and nonfiction. I’ve also had several articles published in The Writer, Writers’ Digest, and other writerly mags.

I have five or six collections of poetry and hundreds of other poems. Believe it or not, for awhile (if not still) my poetry was part of the canon and was taught at the University of North Texas in Denton.

I’ve written a few dozen songs too. Some were silly things, meant only to be humorous. Some were serious. Back in the day (’70s and ’80s), I submitted some of my songs to recording professionals. None were ever published or recorded to my knowledge.

But especially now that my general skills as a writer are vastly improved, Jim’s passing has me thinking maybe I’ll write some more. And I’ll almost certainly write more poems. Not that I’ll bore you with either of those. (grin)

But again, the point is, if it interests you, try your hand at it. Writing is writing.

Rolled out at 3 this morning, working my way back into my “normal” schedule, and used the first few hours checking the internet and otherwise as described above.

Took a long break at about 6, then wrote the topic above and did some other things.

Finally began to think about the next novel at 10 (right after I put on a load of laundry).

Nope. I remembered I need to find a good pic for a cover for Blackwell Ops 5, so I turned to that. I’m not quite back into my routine yet. I’ll click back in over the next day or two.

I never rest on my laurels, but it’s nice to take a look back and realize that taking another day or two to get back into my routine won’t kill my career. (grin)

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Never Give Up” at

See “First Page Critique: Watch All Night” at

See “Here’s How To Write A Damn Good Fight Scene” at I disagree with #5, but then, so do they. (grin) Read their #5 and then compare it with their explanation and example.

See “25 Poetry Markets Seeking Submissions During Poetry Month” at

For an almost hour-long glimpse into the life of Jim Glaser, CLICK HERE.

See “Free Fiction Monday: Cowboy Grace” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1220 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 1220

Writing of (novel)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 10038
Total fiction words for the year………… 227839
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9100
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 86170
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 314009

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 42
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 193
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31