The Daily Journal, Thursday, May 30

In today’s Journal

* A much better description
* Well, I did it
* Topic: Quieting the Critical Mind (Chapter 3 Extension)
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

In today’s “Of Interest,” Kris Rusch offers a much better description of the Licensing Expo (what it is, why it exists, why it matters) than I ever could.

One more note on the whole learning-about-licensing thing: If you don’t want to (or can’t) part with the money for Dean’s learn-along, you can get at least some of the same stuff for less by signing up with Kris Rusch’s Patreon page. Details in her post today, mentioned in “Of Interest.”

Well, I did it. This morning during a long break I moved my other computer and wide-screen monitor to the hovel. Hal’s speakers don’t work right, and it’s so old the ports are worn out so it won’t take separate speakers (grin).

So I moved the other ‘puter (Hal2) out here so I can listen to my courses, answer email, etc. on it. Which also takes email off my writing ‘puter again and puts it on my business computer where it belongs.

It feels good to have my writing ‘puter separate again, but I did everything on it for a long time, so we’ll see how it all works out.

Topic: Quieting the Critical Mind

Chapter 3 Extension: Recognizing the Writing Delays

Now you’re actually writing the book. This is a time when you don’t want input from instructors, coaches, critique partners, et al.

I recommend never letting anyone else into your work while it’s in progress. Your own critical voice is already there, waiting at every step to trip you up. You don’t need other critical voices crammed in there too.

Your critical mind will give you more than enough to “think” about even during this stage, while you’re actually writing.

* Maybe you’ll write “that” in a sentence. And maybe that one time it will suddenly pull you from the subconscious, creative mind as you wonder whether you’re using “that” too much (negative = critical mind).

* Oh goodness! Should you maybe go back and count them and make sure to alternate “that” and “which”? (No, you shouldn’t. For one thing, they aren’t interchangeable.)

* Or was that sentence too long (negative = critical mind)? It certainly felt too long. Maybe you should rethink that sentence (think = critical mind).

* Or what about that paragraph? Was it too long (negative = critical mind)? Was it too short, sitting there all by itself (negative = critical mind)?

* Or what about the scene length or chapter length? Too long or too short (negative = critical mind)?

And a slew of other negative thoughts will hit:

* I don’t know where the story’s going. Maybe I should have done an outline. Everyone says to do that.

* Does my character feel real enough? Maybe I should have done a character sketch. Everyone says to do that.

* How am i ever going to market this thing? (Well, first you have to finish writing it.)

* I’m certainly no Stephen King or Nora Roberts or Danielle Steel.

* Besides, hasn’t this story already been written?

* Will anyone ever want to read this anyway?

* Why did I ever think I could do this?

And on and on and on.

And you just have to get through them.

Critical-mind intrusions will happen more often and feel stronger (or louder) at the beginning and end of your work in progress (WIP).

They will feel stronger or louder at the beginning because it’s easier to make you stop writing when you don’t have so much time invested.

And they will feel stronger or louder near the end because “Oh my god, are you really going to finish and publish this thing?” So the critical mind pulls out all stops and goes for the jugular.

But again, you just have to get through them.

Every time it rears its ugly little head, you have to tell the critical mind to shut up and get out of your business. Then you have to write the next sentence.

In short, you have to Trust Yourself. Trust your creative subconscious. Trust your characters to tell their own story. Especially now that you’re in the middle of the process.

It’s common wisdom among long-term professional writers that many stories “bog down” at the one-third, one-half, or two-thirds point.

In every case, that’s because the critical mind is attacking.

At the one-third point, the “new” has worn off of the story and you aren’t sure you want to continue (negative = critical mind).

At the halfway point, you’re mired in the story and uncertain (negative = critical mind) where it’s going next.

At the two-thirds point, same thing. You’re mired in the story, uncertain where it’s going next AND you’re threatening to actually finish it.

Again, any negative thought comes from the critical mind. And the “fix” for that is the same every time: Push down the critical voice, write the next sentence that occurs to you, and go on about the story.

This isn’t something that might happen to you. This is something that, if you’re writing, WILL happen to you. Forewarned is forearmed. Push down the critical voice and get on with it.

(Following this in the book is the original Chapter 3, The Pre-Publication Delays, which you’ve already seen. Tomorrow I’ll publish Chapter 11: Turning the Fear Around.)

Rolled out at 2:30. With most of the above pre-posted, I get to write today (after feeding the horses, moving my office, etc. as described above).

Still cycling today, weaving-in the twist my characters threw me a couple of days ago. This is a little “risky” (for lack of a better word) in a critical-mind kind of way. It’s easy to allow the critical voice in while weaving in a new story thread, because it’s such slow going. So even at this point in my career as a writer, I have to be careful about keeping the conscious, critical mind out of my writing.

Finally to the novel at 10.

I cycled through until noon, then took a break for lunch and chores.

Back to the novel at 1:30. Finished cycling at 3. Woohoo! Tomorrow, all new story writing off into the dark!

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Business Musings: Licensing Expo Prep 1” at A much better explanation than mine on licensing and what the Licensing Expo is.

See Dan Baldwin’s “Verbal Contract Abuse – Part II” at

See “About Twelve Hours Left” at

See “John Douglas on His Life’s Work: Talking with Killers” at

Interesting comments on “Time Travel, Romance, and Licensing” at

Fiction Words: 1718
Nonfiction Words: 1100 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 2818

Writing of In the Cantina at Noon (novel)

Day 20… 1890 words. Total words to date…… 36451
Day 21… 2961 words. Total words to date…… 39412
Day 22… 1192 words. Total words to date…… 40604
Day 23… 1718 words. Total words to date…… 42322

Total fiction words for the month……… 40604
Total fiction words for the year………… 302074
Total nonfiction words for the month… 42322
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 153300
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 457092

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 6
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31