The Daily Journal, Thursday, April 18

In today’s Journal

▪ Dean Wesley Smith’s free offer
▪ Topic: Always Learning
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers

Dean Wesley Smith is incredibly generous. He is giving away his Pop-Up Workshop #9: “How Authors Hurt Their Own Writing and Sales and How to Stop.” No catches. No gimmicks.

The Pop-Up consists of twelve videos plus a short story prompt. See the link to his post (and the first video) in “Of Interest.”

ESPECIALLY if you think you don’t need this (critical voice) SIGN UP. Seriously.

Topic: Always Learning

Every morning I search the Internet for items for the “Of Interest” section. Every morning I read those items in full. Often, I also leave a comment. In addition to maybe helping someone else, commenting helps me clarify my thoughts on the topic in my own mind.

I tell myself I read those posts because I don’t want to list something here that I haven’t vetted myself. But the truth is, I’m hungry. Even if I think I know the subject matter of the post, I read it. And more often than not, I come away knowing more than I did going in.

In that way, I’m always learning. And really, I think that’s key to being a fiction writer.

In her post on Pro Writers Writing yesterday, Alison Holt advised us to always keep our eyes and ears open for character details when dealing with other humans. In other words, keep learning.

Another writer told me a long while back that when she saw pretty much anything, even in passing, she would think of how she would describe it in fiction. Again, in that way she was always learning and practicing.

Kris Rusch posted in her blog last night (in today’s “Of Interest”) on the conscious, critical mind. That’s a topic I talk about often here, but I posted a link to Kris’ post because she has a different take on it.

Frankly, her take didn’t work well for me. BUT it might work better for some of you than my own takes do. So I added the link. Different people learn in different ways.

You can hear the same information twenty times and it won’t sink in until one person says the same thing a little differently that twenty-first time. Then, bam! It all makes sense.

That’s why I often return to the same topics but address those topics a little differently or with different examples. What doesn’t quite touch one writer will descend on another as a major epiphany.

Which is why I constantly read all these blog posts and which is why I constantly read novels and short stories written by writers whose voice I enjoy.

It isn’t that I don’t already know what they offer. It’s that I don’t know their take on the subject matter, and their take might adjust my own take to my benefit. It almost always does.

I’ve been offering my services as a mentor for awhile now. But I realize not everyone who wants to can take advantage of that.

I understand, believe me. But the truth is, what I offer as a mentor is only a flattening of the learning curve.

Most of what I offer as a mentor is also available in my blogs and in the nonfiction books I’ve written. Examples of what I offer are avialble in my short stories, novellas and novels.

Granted, reading and understanding the information in all of those posts and nonficton books will take longer than direct mentoring. But you still get the information, just a little more slowly.

And reading some of my fiction to see me putting that information to use takes time too (though I hope you’ll also get some entertainment out of the deal).

On the other hand, you can also email me, free, to ask questions that arise as you read my nonfiction books (or even my fiction).

But the point is, the information is there for the taking.


Now then, I didn’t mean for this to turn into some sort of advertisment. But here it comes. (grin)

While I’m on the topic of learning, I thought I’d list what I believe are the best nonfiction books I’ve written along with their retail price.

Although you can buy these books at any of several ebook vendors, they’re also available directly from me. Just visit, browse the titles, and let me know which ones you’d like. If you order directly from me, I’ll give you a 15% discount.

▪ Punctuation for Writers $9.99

▪ Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction $12.99

▪ Notes from Writing the World $9.99 (This contains the full text of Writing Narrative, The Seven Writerly Sins, Creating Realistic Characters, Writing Dialect, Writing Great Beginnins, Writing Flash Fiction and Self-Editing for Writers)

▪ Poetry Techniques for the Fictionist $9.99

▪ Writing the Character-Driven Story $9.99

▪ The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life $9.99 (a 13-month long compilation of my Journal blog posts)

I also have recorded several audio lectures. You can find those at

Finally, if you’re looking for info on digital publishing or on setting up a publishing business, visit and download The Essentials of Digital Publishing, A Fact Sheet Toward Efficiency in Epublishing, and/or Quick Guide to Self-Publishing & FAQs. All of those are free, along with a lot of other free stuff on the page, including a free novel.

Okay, end of advertisment and end of topic. (grin)

However you choose to keep learning, keep learning. If you do, your writing can’t help but improve.

Rolled out a little early this morning, took a ridiculous amount of time looking up the books I listed above on Smashwords and adding the links, then removing them. Sigh.

I was about to go to the novel at 4:30, but then I remembered my buddy Dan decided to take the day off from writing for PWW. (grin)

So I wrote a short guest post titled “On Personal Challenges.”

I hope and expect today will be a good writing day, but to the house for a break first at 6.

Then a lot more little stuff happened. (grin) Just normal pop-up stuff. Finally to the novel at 9:15.

When I glanced back at the notes from the earlier Charlie Task novel (Blackwell Ops 2) I realized I hadn’t made a reverse outline for that one. (Oops.) So I had to search through BO2 for some character descriptions and references I’m using in this one (BO6).

That slowed things considerably, but overall not a bad half-day at over 2500 words.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “#9 Pop-Up Free” at

See “How Not to Write Courtroom Scenes” at A great post, mostly to say “spontaneity rules.”

See “Lecture In a Bundle” at This post refers to the writer bundle I mentioned yesterday. If you didn’t get it yet, read this.

See “Business Musings: Critical Voice” at A slightly different take on something we’ve been talking about here for awhile.

See “Tips on Writing Believable Conspiracies for Thriller Fiction” at

See Terry Odell’s “Character Interview: Meet Ryan Harper” at

See my “On Personal Challenges (a guest post)” at

Fiction Words: 2546
Nonfiction Words: 1780 (1240, Journal) (540, PWW)
Total words for the day: 4326

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
Day 3…… 4190 words. Total words to date…… 8740
Day 4…… 2662 words. Total words to date…… 11402
Day 5…… 2087 words. Total words to date…… 13489
Day 6…… 2220 words. Total words to date…… 15709
Day 7…… 1202 words. Total words to date…… 16911
Day 8…… 2546 words. Total words to date…… 19457

Total fiction words for the month……… 29495
Total fiction words for the year………… 247296
Total nonfiction words for the month… 22540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99610
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 346906

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

2 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Thursday, April 18”

  1. I’m always impressed by your commitment to learning and to your craft. You are an inspiration to me every day! Thanks again for sharing your journal, Harvey! 🙂

Comments are closed.