The Journal: A New Blog on Substack

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* A New Blog on Substack
* A Great Series of Emails
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“We professional writers just write. It is what we do. But I would not write as much as I like to write if I didn’t have something, some sort of challenge or deadline or goal that I wanted to hit at the moment. The challenges, the goals, the deadlines are shields against the real world distractions.” Dean Wesley Smith

“[T]he secret of writing. Have fun. If it is not fun, don’t do it. Find another way.” Dean Wesley Smith

A New Blog on Substack

Well, I published my first reader blog post over at Substack yesterday. If you’d like to take a look and let me know what you think (or not), please drop by It isn’t long.

If you’re interested, you should also be able to subscribe to that one while you’re there. (I’m still learning, but there should be a subscription form just below the blog post.)

If not, you can subscribe by clicking or by clicking the “Subscribe to My Reader Blog” tab in the menu over at There, I think that covers it. (grin)

I did attempt to transfer (via upload) the subscribers from my old provider to Substack, but for some reason the upload hasn’t completed. So I need to figure out the problem there. But if this works out as well as I hope it will, I’ll probably move this Journal over to Substack as well. It seems a better environment than where I am now.

After that I revised and further, then linked my Substack blog to my Twitter account. Then I dropped in on Amazon and took a look at my author page. I revised my bio and added the RSS feed for my new Substack blog, then updated the author pages for two of my personas, Nick Porter and Gervasio Arrancado.

Unfortunately, Amazon allows only three names per account, so I wasn’t able to bring the most interesting persona, Eric Stringer, or the most lascivious, MJ François, on board. Maybe later.

So that was my day yesterday from 3 to 11 a.m.

A Great Series of Emails

I told screenwriter Matt Pettipas in an email this morning, “For some reason I feel like our discussions should be on a stage in front of millions of young (in the craft) writers.” As it is, they often end up as topics in this Journal.

I don’t know whether Matt just asks the right questions or whether his very quotable and thought-provoking quips get me going. But whatever the reason, I find myself thanking him often for all the topics he’s given me for the Journal.

Early this morning I was blessed when I read, over my first cup of coffee, “It does no good dwelling on something I can’t change right?”

After reading yesterday’s Journal entry, which he also prompted with a question, he wrote to say “the hardest myth to swallow” is to remember that what we write isn’t important. Then he wrote

“I think [that’s] because, when I was younger (my teens) I dreamt about being … remembered as a great writer. And, to a lesser extent today, I still harbour those dreams in the back of my mind. … [S]eeing my work as just entertainment, as much as I know that’s what it is, has been hard.”

Yep. Sometimes I think of how wonderful it would be if readers remembered me the way Hemingway or Steinbeck are remembered.

Then I remember that some readers can’t stand Hemingway or Steinbeck. Go figure.

If anybody had a chance at universal acclaim, it would be those two guys. So Matt’s pronouncement early this morning was perfection itself: Dwelling on what we cannot change does no good.

That’s exactly right.

But if by some chance that doesn’t work for you, let’s turn the problem around:

How many writers do you suppose would really rather NOT be remembered?

Or said in another way, How many writers do you suppose are putting out sub-par work on purpose?

To either question, the answer is None.

No writers anywhere ever are intentionally writing in such a way that no readers will enjoy their stories or that they will not be remembered.

(Hmm. Come to think of it, this also address the closet snobbery of writers who like to run down those of us who write into the dark: “Oh, well certainly I could write like that too, but [hand to bosom] I like to put out quality work.” That kind of crap.)

But leaving the insanity and those who propagate it aside, there are certain facts at play here. Facts, not opinions:

1. If you set up a regular writing craft — a balance of Learning and then Practicing, which means writing, putting new words on the page — and

2. if you keep moving forward, never hovering in place over one work and never moving backward, then

3. someone out there will enjoy your work. And the more you practice and the more accomplished at your craft you become, the greater the number of people who will enjoy your work.

So our task remains to apply ourselves to storytelling, to learn more about the craft, and to get on with it.

Because although WHAT we write really doesn’t matter at all — meaning no matter what we do, some will like it and some won’t — THAT we write is all-important.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “How Do I Keep Going” at For some reason, Dean’s back to craft posts recently. I’m glad and I hope he keeps it up.

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.

2 thoughts on “The Journal: A New Blog on Substack”

  1. You’re more than welcome Harvey. I’m glad my questions give you material for posts and in doing so helps others.
    Thank you for doing this blog and for chatting with me. Both have helped me tremendously.

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