The Daily Journal, Monday, February 18

In today’s Journal

▪ Update on the challenge
▪ Update on Pro Writers Writing
▪ Topic: Ignore Name Calling
▪ The daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers

Today would be the last day of writing for book 3 of the challenge if I didn’t have a day in the bank. (grin) As it stands, I have today and tomorrow to finish the book on time. And it looks as if I’ll make it.

I’d like to finish it today and carry over that bank day, but we’ll see. Everything depends on the characters. As it is, I expect to end it today, though I might have to write the denouement tomorrow.

Than I’ll have to find something else to write. (sigh) I love the protagonist in this book. But I want to write someone else’s story before I return to this character again.

The Pro Writers Writing blog has added yet another blogger, although she wants to post only occasionally as a guest blogger. To read about her, see

Topic: Ignore Name Calling (Be Proud of What You Choose to Do)

When my young son came home from school quietly wiping tears from his eyes one day, I asked what was wrong.

Turns out some of the other kids at school in our gang-infested town had called him a “bastard” as he was walking home. Not for any particular reason, but just to be jerks. Kids do that sometimes.

That word carries an unfortunate and untrue stigma, that a person born out of wedlock is somehow a lesser person.

Of course, it’s all foolishness, even idiocy. But as children are wont to do, my young son took it to heart.

My reaction? I just laughed.

I didn’t get angry or upset or call the school or confront the little smart-alect wannabe gangsters. The latter were their parents’ and society’s problem, not mine.

When he looked up at me, surprised at my reaction and the broad grin still on my face, I said, “Son, do you know what a ‘bastard’ is?”

He nodded, then quietly defined it for me.

I said, “So ARE you a bastard?”

He shook his head.

I said, “Then what does it matter to you what they think or what they call you?” Then, knowing me, I probably recited the “stick and stones” rhyme.

He looked up and smiled. Everything was fine.

Flash forward to the present day.

Some adults say things just to be jerks too, though I usually use another term for them that evokes another name for “donkey” coupled with a depression in the ground where dirt is missing.

When adults say stupid, harmful things it’s usually out of a sense of inadequacy and inferiority. Pulling others down to their level is their way of making themselves feel superior.

Readers and even other writers do it all the time. Sometimes, self-published (Indie) writers even do it to the writer in the mirror.

Out of the entire history of humanity, traditional publishing as it exists today has been around only since the late 1940s or early 1950s with the advent of mass-market paperbacks. That’s right. TradPub has been around for only 60 or 70 years. Before that, pretty much EVERYONE was self-published.

Yet traditional publishing has always harbored that sense of inadequacy and inferiority. That and a desire to maintain their sense of power as “gatekeepers” caused them to attack those writers who choose to believe in themselves enough to write when and what they want and to publish their own works.

But the TradPubs went farther. They intentionally attached an illogical stigma to self-publishing. And for some inane reason, a lot of people — even writers themselves — bought into that stigma.

But again, it’s illogical. Think about it.

If a chef believes in himself and his abilities and decides to open a restaurant (or a mechanic or carpenter a shop or a lawyer a practice), nobody snubs their nose and refuses to patronize the place because it’s a self-started, self-funded business. And it’s the same with any other business you can name.

And if you aren’t ready yet to think of writing as a business, that’s fine too.

Because it’s also the same with the other arts. If a photographer takes and sells his own photographs (or a painter her paintings or a sculptor his sculptures or a songwriter or musician her songs) nobody so much as bats an eye.

Yet a writer is to his or her stories exactly what a sculptor is to sculptures, a songwriter or musician to songs and music, a painter to paintings and a photographer to photos.

Why should it be any different for novelists and short story writers who believe in themselves and choose to publish their own stories?

Of course, the answer is, it shouldn’t. Because it ISN’T any different. At all.

So how do I combat that stigma?

I proudly proclaim that some of my long works have been traditionally published but that I would never go that route again.

When they look surprised and ask why, I say, “Because now I believe in myself and my work enough that I don’t need some 20-something acquisitions editor making minimum wage in New York to validate what I do.”

Some of them even ask a question they would never dream of asking another business person or artist: “But do you make any money at it?”

Frankly, how much money I make is none of their business, is it? But to feed the self-critical monster that’s feeding them, I smile knowingly and say, “Enough that I’ll keep writing.”

Finally, if you’ve never had works traditionally published and choose to be an indie writer and publisher, so much the better. You haven’t wasted as much time as I did on tiny royalties.

So good on you. Be proud of who you are and what you do.

(Thanks to a Canadian friend for this topic.)

The daily diary part of this is going away, mostly. If I have something to report that affects my writing or that I think you might find of interest (personal “writing life” tidbits), I’ll report it.

But I’ll just stipulate that I generally take my 6 to 8 hours of sleep at a different time than most people do. I almost always sack out early, roll out early, and write as much as is possible with all the other stuff I have going on. (grin)

I’ll also stipulate that I generally write in one-hour blocks, then take a break of 5 to 15 minutes and get back to it, unless the “break” consists of doing a household chore or going to/from the post office or grocery or something mundane like that.

I have a feeling most of you skip over the “daily diary” part anyway, and I don’t blame you. I mostly skip over it myself. (grin)

My personal thanks to the few of you who chose to read and comment on my guest blog post over at

Even Garry Roders, the influential former member of the RCMP and blogger on crime and police matter (at dropped in to leave a gracious comment. And then tweeted about it. (grin)

For this morning, I got my usual start, wrote the stuff above, skipped over to the big blog and posted it (scheduled for release in late April).

I also updated my plea for donations over there. It now looks like this:

Note: This Pro-Writers blog and my Daily Journal will always be free and are funded only by your gracious contributions. If you got something out of it, why not toss a little change in the kitty? (grin)

To make a one-time donation, click the Donate button under the clock at the top of the Journal page. If you’d like to become a patron, click Patronage and have a look at the rewards. If you can’t make a monetary donation, please consider sharing this post with your friends. Thanks!

Then I finally moved on to the WIP.

Well, the story took another twist. (grin) I guess I’ll finish it tomorrow.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

Some good comments on “Emotion Workshop” at

See “Using Real People in Historical Fiction” at

See “Story Structure — Superstars Recap 1” at

Check out Staci Troilo’s blog at There’s a lot there to browse.

See “Joseph Wambaugh — Interviewing Crime Writing’s Master of Characters” at

Fiction Words: 3270
Nonfiction Words: 1420 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4690

Writing of Blackwell Ops 3: Marie Arceneaux (novel)

Day 10… 5757 words. Total words to date…… 31706
Day 11… 0775 words. Total words to date…… 32481
Day 12… 3747 words. Total words to date…… 36228
Day 13… 3085 words. Total words to date…… 39313
Day 14… 1315 words. Total words to date…… 40628
Day 15… 3270 words. Total words to date…… 43898

Total fiction words for the month……… 47020
Total fiction words for the year………… 130923
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16300
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 41710
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 172133

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date………………………… 2
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date…………………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date……… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 39
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 193
Short story collections…………………………………………………… 31

8 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Monday, February 18”

  1. Thanks for the name-calling post, Harvey. It seems it comes and goes with the self-publishing stigma, and seems the looking down the nose is on the rise at the moment. *Shrugs* I’m happier today, then I ever was chasing traditional publishing…

    • Thanks, Tony. Glad it spoke to you. It isn’t as bad now among the general public (readers) as it used to be. But among writers, sometimes I think it’s gotten worse.

  2. Ignore the name calling was great. Another angle on the (many) reasons to avoid traditional publishing and one I hadn’t thought that much about. You can’t blame them for fighting to keep their sweet deal and (mostly unearned) money & power I guess. I’ll pass.

    • Thanks, Karen. Nah, I don’t care what TradPub does. And if someone came in at the right time and was published through a traditional publisher (but with a good, non-rights-grabbing contract), more power to them. What amazes me sometimes is how many writers still buy into it.

  3. For what it’s worth, I enjoy the daily diary part.
    I read these in the morning over coffee, and it gives me some inspiration for my day. It’s fascinating for me to see the day-to-day of an professional writer, especially when coupled with the daily stats. (that was something that I enjoyed about Deans blog too, when he was doing so.)
    Just my $.02
    But I totally understand if typing it out every day is a drag.

    • Thanks, Gai. Frankly, I’m amazed. I assumed the diary part was probably the part everyone was skipping over, and the numbers would run a close second. I’ll still put it in on days when I do anything other than getting up and writing. (grin) I miss watching Dean run the numbers too.

  4. Love the chef and photographer analogies, Harvey. It’s amazing the giant, distorted filter that traditional publishers and their co-conspirators have been able to place over the notion of selling one’s writing.

    And I’ll second (third) the love of your daily diary. Do what you want, of course, but please count me as someone else who appreciates the insight into your daily workload.

    • Thanks, Phillip. We (even writers!) tend generally to think small. We get caught up in the immediacy of what we’re doing and sometimes forget to back up and look at the overall picture. And I’m pretty good at annoying people with things like that. (grin) Yeah, I put the diary segment back in today.

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