The Daily Journal, Thursday, April 11

In today’s Journal

▪ Sometimes I wonder
▪ Topic: If You’re a Writer, Write
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest (a LOT of links)
▪ The numbers

Sometimes I wonder whether anyone’s still reading these silly entries. I mean, I know a few people are, those with whom I’m working closely. But sometimes I wonder otherwise whether all this is worth it.

Kris Rusch’s post makes even this nonfiction writing (and wondering) better. Her post in today’s “Of Interest” reminded me that I chat with my friends and acquaintances here each day because I enjoy doing so.

She reminded me I do it because it’s fun. The same reason I keep churning out novels and the occasional short story. Not because anyone will read it or get something from it, though certainly I hope they do.

But because it’s what I want to do and it’s fun. You know. The same reason I write anything.

Topic: If You’re a Writer, Write

While so many are attending monthly writers’ group or crique group meetings, rehashing the same tired advice writers have been swapping and kicking around for years, I write.

While so many spend hours, days, months or even years outlining and researching and rewriting and polishing and doing any number of other kind’a sort’a writing-related things that aren’t actual writing… I write.

And while so many actively search for (and find) any of myriad other reasons not to write, all the while proclaiming they are writers, I sit quietly in a room and write.

When I’m invited to speak to writers’ gatherings, I tell them things they’ve never heard before or things they’ve heard and dismissed because what I say doesn’t jive with all the myths they keep repeating to each other — and which continue to not work.

What I want to say to them more than anything is what Robert Frost and Howard Nemerov told writers in similar gatherings at different times: “If you want to write, why are you here? Go write.”

I’m occasionally told that for me, writing is easy (meaning that for the speaker, it isn’t). “After all,” they say, “you have dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories under your belt. You’ve been at it a long time.”

And I say, “No, actually I’ve been a professional writer for only five years.”

They said, “So how are you so prolific? It must be because you’re a fast writer.”

And I say, “No, I’m prolific because I actually write.”

Five years ago, I had roughly the same conversation with New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith.

And he said the same thing back to me: “No, I’m prolific because I actually write.”

And for me, finally, the little light came on.

There is one stark difference between a would-be writer and a writer. A writer actually writes.

Thanks to DWS, I finally understood that the 6 hours required to write a 6,000-word short story is still only 6 hours whether it’s spread over a day or a week or a month.

And the 50 or 60 or 100 hours it takes to write a 50,000- or 60,000- or 100,000-word novel is still only 50 or 60 or 100 hours whether those hours are spread over a year or two or three years. Or a month. Or two weeks.

Seriously, the only problem to solve if you want to be a writer is the problem of application. You must apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair.

After that, you have only to let your fingers move over the keyboard to record what your characters are saying and doing as they (and you) race through their story together.

It simply is what it is. Writers write.

Rolled out at 3:30, answered several emails (two about editing projects, one with a flash of inspiration re mentoring a writer, a few others), read Kris Rusch’s post and a few other things. To the house for a break at 4:50.

Back to the Hovel at 5:05. I updated the current post over at with a note appended to the second paragraph, then wrote the topic above.

Another break at 6:30. To the Hovel again at 6:40, more email, very briefly to the novel, then at 8:15 another break to see my wife off and put on a load of laundry.

Back to the Hovel and the novel at 8:30. Spent a few minutes on the novel, then received input on Blackwell Ops 5 from my other first reader. Woohoo!

However, today is a half-day, so I’ll read and consider my first readers’ input either this afternoon or tomorrow sometime. I need to add at least a few chapters to the WIP this morning.

I read over the topic above, then added it to the big site as a post for late July. To the novel at 9. The going will be slow today as I’m still alternating between writing and spot-researching, coming up on an action scene.

At 12:30, I have to get ready to go into town to join my wife in shopping. I’ll file today’s Journal after I get back. If I have time to write a little more, I will. If not, it’s been a decent-enough day at a little over 1700 words.

Nope. I’ll write more tomorrow. I’m approaching the front edge of an action scene. Woohoo!

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Great Novel Challenge” at Now THIS is something I’m going to give some thought. I’m writing the novels anyway. (grin)

See “Business Musings: Fun (How to Put the Fun Back Into Your Writing)” at

See “First Page Critique: The Secret of Thieves” at

If you haven’t visited for awhile, see “Free Downloads” at

If you’re interested in free books and writing reviews, see “Call for Reviewers” at

Fiction Words: 1776
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 2766

Writing of Blackwell Ops 6: Charlie Task (novel)

Day 1…… 2774 words. Total words to date…… 2774
Day 2…… 1776 words. Total words to date…… 4550

Total fiction words for the month……… 14588
Total fiction words for the year………… 232389
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13320
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 90390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 322779

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

10 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Thursday, April 11”

  1. Harvey, I read every one of your posts, first thing in the morning. I don’t comment much because I’m usually hurrying off to work and then get busy when I get home. (Life stuff at the moment.) But I consider your posts great inspiration. They keep me going, keep me typing away until I fall asleep at the keyboard. There are plenty of us out there, silent observers who nod in agreement and take your information to heart. Keep up the good work! Much appreciated!

  2. Echoing the other commenters, Harvey. Even as I’m spending more time focused on my family and day job at the moment, I always look forward to keeping in touch with the writing side of things through your daily words.

  3. Yep- Every day plus some days I’ll save one and reread it another day-love the down to earth advice (and counsel) you provide to so many of us on a daily basis! Thanks!

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