The Daily Journal, Sunday, May 5

In today’s Journal

▪ Happy Cinco de Mayo!
▪ Some numbers
▪ What is a professional writer?
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Though it isn’t really Mexican Independence Day.

If you’d like to know what Cinco de Mayo really signifies, email me at and I’ll forward you a cool email I received thsi morning from Kevin Tumlinson.

For some reason, partly spurred-on by an email I wrote to a mentoring student, this morning I decided to see how much I’ve written in novels and novellas in the past 4 years and 6 months.

So I set up a new spreadsheet and ran a sum function. Not counting short stories, I’ve written 2,109,454 words of published fiction in the past 4.5 years (54 months).

Obviously that also doesn’t include nonfiction, either books or this Journal. I’d be almost afraid to add those in. (grin))

But just in novels and novellas, that’s an average of just over 39,000 words per month. A paltry 1300 words per day.

So I’ve spent an average of one hour per day — one lousy hour — working on novels for the past 4.5 years.

See why I so often say I feel like a slacker? (grin)

But maybe more importantly, see what you can do if you average writing only one hour a day?

If you hit 1300 words per day every day for a year, that’s 474,500 words per year.

That’s five “full-length” (by traditional publishing’s standards) novels per year.

I’m kind of dragging my feet this morning. It’s a stupid thing to do, given the fluid nature of Time. How quickly it passes and how quickly it’s gone.

Last night, I read the first chapter of my new WIP aloud to my wife. Ostensibly, I did that because I knew doing so would reveal any flaws in the WIP.

But secretly, I wanted to determine the WIP’s potential and, with that, my level of interest. As I wrote here a day or two ago, I would like to live with this one for awhile.

Well, reading it aloud definitely determined my level of interest. In fact, it fired me up.

For the first time in quite awhile, I felt like I could only barely wait for the afternoon and evening to pass so I could get back to writing. I’m pretty sure that’s the best feeling in the world.

So why am I dragging my feet? Well, it’s Sunday. On weekends, family life takes precendence.

And this morning I had an epiphany about one of my mentoring students and asked her to call me so we could discuss it.

In other words, when I got to the Hovel this morning I was wearing a couple other hats.

I might still write some on the WIP today, depending on other things. But if I don’t write on it today, Lord willing, both it and I will still be here tomorrow morning.

And I’m anxious. I’m looking forward to writing the story my characters want to give me. But I’m not frantic about it, and that’s kind of neat too.

A day or two ago, there was some discussion over at PWW about what constitutes a professional writer: money? production? number of friends he has if his cat doesn’t leave?

And as I wrote the second paragrapsh before this one, my own definition came to me:

A professional writer is one who has decided he or she is a professional writer, based on his/her having developed a habit of writing — a deeply ingrained habit that remains constant and steady even when external forces act upon it.

Professionalism is a state of being that is based on the production of written works. And the production of written works is based on habit.

It doesn’t matter at all that the production varies from day to day and sometimes even drops off to nothing during life rolls.

Even when it isn’t evident, it’s always there. It’s always in the background, providing a calm assurance of who you are.

Rolled out early this morning, but was consumed with the epiphany I had concerning my mentoring student. The call went well and everything’s finally on track.

I also had a call from my friend Robert to round out the day. We shared some laughs and talked a little about writing.

Now I’m going to head up to the house and devote the rest of the day to my bride.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Escapism Rocks!” at

See “First, You Have to Write the Damned Thing” at Humor. It’s what’s for breakfast.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 2150 (790, Journal) (1360, mentoring email)
Total words for the day: 2150

Writing of In the Cantina at Noon (novel?)

Day 1…… 1538 words. Total words to date…… 1538
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 1538
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6190
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 118050
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 381058

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 6
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 193
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31