The Daily Journal, Sunday, January 27

Hey Folks,

Be sure to click through and read the whole post. Some great “Of Interest” items, not to mention a topic and the other stuff.

Yesterday, Scott Thrall commented that he hopes Dean keeps drinking the water in Vegas that’s making him go nuts with prizes for his KickStarter campaign. Apparently he drank another tall glass. Read about it in “Of Interest.” A great deal, not to be missed.

Topic: Are You a Self-Saboteur?

Have you ever sabotaged yourself?

I don’t mean with the usual conscious mind stuff: doubting your abilities, feeling you’re a pretender, worrying about where the story is going and so on.

Those tend to pop in more, on me, at least, when the writing is going slowly or when its ground to a halt for some reason I haven’t yet discerned.

But that isn’t what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about the times when the writing was going great and maybe even building momentum the last time you sat down.

Yet this time when you sit down, even as you’re actually looking forward to getting back to running through the story with your characters, you find a way to sabotage it.

Maybe you intentionally spend longer on the internet than is necessary. Maybe you play an online game. Maybe you write a topic like this one, that probably only you can relate to.

The person who occasionally sabotages himself needs an antagonist in his life. He needs something to strive against. Maybe to make success a bigger deal than it would already be. Or maybe just for the sake of the struggle, for the sake of having more adversity to overcome.

Is anyone else out there trapped in that sort of silliness? I understand if you don’t want to answer, especially if you’re one of the self-saboteurs.

After all, it’s something that only you know. Well, unless you’re in counseling for the problem, but that doesn’t count really because of doctor-patient privelege. So it’s really the same as nobody else knowing.

Anyway, that self-sabotage thing is just one of my problems. So I kind of wondered whether it afflicts any of you too.

Now, understand, I’m not complaining. The self-sabotage thing is just part of who I am, so that’s fine. It’s been with me since I was a child.

I should also tell you, the writing version of this self-sabotage isn’t a problem that I would have to go all Superman and leap tall buildings to overcome.

Not that I could. These days I’m pretty sure I couldn’t leap out of a spring-loaded chair if I woke up to find the room was on fire and a bomb was ticking in the corner.

But this problem, this self-sabotaging my writing, is one I could overcome easily by summoning just enough discipline to hop over a very low speed bump. I could do that.

Yet all too often, I don’t. Instead, I just keep the sabotage going.

It’s as if I know I’m going to succeed at writing this novel and probably at the challenge, so maybe it’s all too easy. So maybe I want to make myself earn it. But I honestly don’t know.

When I left the Hovel yesterday, the WIP was picking up speed. I intentionally stopped at a place where the POV protagonist had one foot inches off the ground, just about to step into a maelstrom: the kind of maelstrom that enables me to turn out 1200 to 1500 words per hour.

When I left the house this morning to return to the Hovel, I was anxious, almost giddy, looking that forward to getting back to the WIP.

Yet when I sat down, I opened the internet to read an article I’f found but didn’t take time to read yesterday. Then I searched for items for “Of Interest” for today and read those. Then I took a break to the house, then returned and played a few games of spider solitaire, etc.

And before and after each of those self-sabotaging delays, I thought, “Man I can’t wait to jump back into the story!” Seriously.

But apparently I could. Wait, I mean. After all of that, I went to the house for another break and another cup of coffee, thinking all the way up and back how great it would be to finally get back to the WIP.

Then I sat down, answered a few emails and wrote this. Go figure.

NOTE: When I changed this to show an excerpt instead of the whole thing this morning, MailChimp showed a message that indicated they might skip a day. If they do, I’ll mention tomorrow that you need to find this post at the website. After that it should run fine.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of this new excerpt-only email format.

Finally to the WIP a little after 6. A little over 4 hours after I got up and came to the Hovel.

Wrote just long enough to get back into the story, then took a long break for a shower and breakfast.

Back to the novel at 9. Wrote a couple of sessions (with a short break in between) then ate a light lunch while my wife and I walked. It was a short walk, less than a mile, mostly to test my back.

Back to the novel at 12:30.

A couple more sessions and closing it out at 2 with a good day. Special thanks to my bride, Mona, for putting up with my habit of writing on weekends.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Kickstarter Pop-Up Starting” at Made my heart thump faster. (grin)

See “MurderCon 2019: It’s Never Been Done Before, and You’re Invited to Attend!” at

Need story ideas? Via CrimeReads, see “The Long, Violent Fall of Tanning Mogul Todd Beckman” at

See The Passive Guy’s take on “Book Tours Are More Than Just Showing Up” at

See “Here Be Merfolk” (new book bundle) at

Fiction Words: 3860
Nonfiction Words: 980 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4840

Writing of Blackwell Ops: Charles Claymore Task (novel)

Day 1…… 2405 words. Total words to date…… 2405
Day 2…… 2695 words. Total words to date…… 5100
Day 3…… 3016 words. Total words to date…… 8116
Day 4…… 3521 words. Total words to date…… 11637
Day 5…… 2478 words. Total words to date…… 14115
Day 6…… 4410 words. Total words to date…… 18525
Day 7…… 1252 words. Total words to date…… 19777
Day 8…… 2551 words. Total words to date…… 22328
Day 9…… 2929 words. Total words to date…… 25257
Day 10… 3860 words. Total words to date…… 29117

Total fiction words for the month……… 67104
Total fiction words for the year………… 67104
Total nonfiction words for the month… 21800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 21800
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 88904

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date………………………… 1
Calenday Year 2019 Novellas to Date…………………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date……… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 38
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 193
Short story collections…………………………………………………… 31

11 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Sunday, January 27”

  1. Thank you for shout out!

    My own experience with sabotage was a cowriter I worked with about 10 years ago. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was extremely afraid of finishing the book (I found out that he was through Dean). And I was all about finishing it and getting on to the next one. It was not a good combination. He would have happily revised the first chapter for ten years, convincing himself he had a best seller by changing happy to glad. When I pushed to get it done, he started sabotaging the project…refused to help with the query…anything to keep the story from being finished. Really got ugly towards the end.

    • Thanks, Linda. Looks like a good bundle. I hope it sells through the roof. As the other, your experience is one reason I would never work woth a co-author, at least not on the same story.

  2. As Dean often says, “Got it just fine.” 🙂

    Glad you went this route, to be honest. As nice as it is to be able to read everything in the email, I think you can generate some good community conversation here on the board.

    And of course, the first discussion could easily be about your self-sabotage. Guilty here as well. If I ever figure out why, I’ll be sure to let you know. Maybe it is, as you mention, some fear of success thing because we’ve often told ourselves (and been told by others) over and over that if it’s easy, we must be doing it wrong. Gotta bleed for your art and all that, I guess.

    Or maybe it’s fear that you know the feeling isn’t going to last and you don’t want to have to face that cliff at the end.

    Definitely something to ponder, but right now, my time is best spent getting back to this story I have due for Dean. 🙂


  3. It’s funny how sometimes you say that you feel like Dean is hiding in your closet because he’s talking about exactly the issue you’re going through at the time. That’s the exact way your post made me feel!

    I don’t really consider myself a self-saboteur (at least not in the sense Linda mentions) because I pretty much always finish what I have to do, even though it’s usually at the latest minute. I have a strong work ethic in that sense. But I definitely relate to putting off starting doing stuff, whether it’s writing or work-related tasks. Anything seems to be far more urgent than starting what I have to do, whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or mindlessly reading writing blogs.

    I found that deadlines help me a lot with it, because suddenly the writing becomes urgent, and my tendency to not miss a deadline overcomes my tendency to not start. But I still haven’t found a way to make an self-imposed deadline work; the only ones that work are the ones imposed from outside (like a deadline for a workshop assignment).

    To me, it looks like you found a good way of having a self-imposed deadline with your daily writing goals (or when you used to do one short story a week).

    And Philip, you did great with your story-a-week challenge too!

    • Thanks, Céline. I hadn’t thought of it that way (with the short story challenge) but I guess you’re right. At least one of those short stories that kept the streak going was ala Céline: It was titled “Deadline” and I finished it shortly before time to post it. (grin) Anything that drives us to the chair in the first place is a Good Thing.

  4. >> And Philip, you did great with your story-a-week challenge too!

    Thank you for the kind words, Céline. If anything, the challenge taught me the importance of those self-imposed deadlines!

    • Phillip, Céline is a writer and avid reader who lives in Europe. She’s also an excellent resource. If you ever need to know specific French things for a project, Contact Her. Or contact me and I’ll put you in touch.

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