The Journal: A Smattering of Thoughts and Self-Hypnosis

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Thus ends the current string
* Correction
* Topic: Self-Hypnosis
* I love to write
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.” Harlan Ellison

“The only thing worth writing about is people.” Harlan Ellison

“The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.” Harlan Ellison

“I was the green monkey, the pariah. And I had no friends. Not just a few friends, or one good friend, or grudging acceptance by other misfits and outcasts. I was alone. All stinking alone, without even an imaginary playmate.” Harlan Ellison

“Thus … the process that not even Aristotle could codify was triggered:
‘Where do you get your ideas?’
‘I purposely mishear things.'” Harlan Ellison

And thus ends the current string of quotes of the day from Harlan Ellison. The man was a fount of wisdom on writing. Not ‘weird’ writing, but unique, original author-voice writing.

I wish he was still around. I wish I could be invited to his Los Angeles home to talk with him about writing, though I’d want him to do most of the talking. My role would be to cast bait.

I wish this so stringently that I might begin practicing self-hypnosis again, during which it is possible (I believe) to access the company of deceased folks to talk with them and glean some of their wisdom.

Correction: the quote from yesterday that begins with “Fear not your enemies…” is actually from Polish poet Bruno Jasieński (Thanks to Rikki M. for the correction.)

Topic: Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is one way to make a direct connection with the creative subconscious. It is an intentional, firm setting-aside of the conscious, critical mind in order to provide that direct, unfettered connection.

It’s a wonderful tool that can be used for anything from historical research to effecting or speeding-up healing of a physical wound.

Best of all, once you learn and practice self-hypnosis for awhile, it will be easier to drop at-will into “the zone” (the alpha “dream” state of the subconscious) while writing.

If you choose to try it, I strongly recommend finding a reputable hypnotist (operator) first. You should tell that person your goal is self-hypnosis. His or her job will be to get you used to the technique and teach you how to do it yourself. I recommend attending no more than five sessions with that person. (A subject can easily become dependent on an operator.)

You can also learn the technique from books though it’s a little more labor intensive. I especially recommend books by William W. Hewitt.

Just putting it out there.

I love to write.

I don’t mean just telling stories, though that’s a good reason to write. I mean the actual physical act.

There’s almost nothing I enjoy more than the feeling of my fingers poised on the keyboard, tapping out the actual little black marks that seem almost miraculously to appear on the page (typewriter) or screen (computer) and convey the story eventually to my readers, many of whom are hundreds or thousand of miles away.

We all have certain keyboards we’re more comfortable with.

Harlan Ellison famously typed almost everything he wrote on an Olympia SG3. He kept several (like a dozen or so) “spares” on shelves in a closet or spare room just in case something went wrong with the one he was typing on.

I’ve typed almost all of my novels, novellas, short stories, nonfiction books, responses to mentoring questions and emails, and blog posts, including this Journal, on a little 14″ Hewlett-Packard 6460b, my “writing ‘puter.”

I own a few other computers, including other brands and other HPs, but I’ve never found one where my fingers feel so much at home as they do on this machine.

But it’s getting old. I’ve literally even worn the letters off some of the keys. (grin) So I’ve decided, just in case, to order at least one more from an ebay seller. Like Harlan, I’ll keep it on a shelf “just in case.”

If something happens and this one goes bad, I could easily have it repaired. But chances are, while it’s being repaired that One Story Idea that would make my first million will occur to me, and of course, that idea will disappear five minutes before I retrieve my writing ‘puter from the shop. (grin)

Just food for thought. And how about you? What’s your favorite writing machine? (Even if it’s your dominant hand and a Bic pen or Number 2 pencil.)

Today, I’m finally turning to the WIP at 6 a.m. I’ll cycle through what I’ve already written. If it takes off I’ll go with it and you’ll see the results below. If it doesn’t, I’ll write another (or a few more) openings and you’ll see those results below. So many stories to write, so little time. (grin)

To get the Journal off my desk, I’ve decided to post early again today. I’ll update whatever fiction numbers tomorrow.

By the way (if anyone was interested), for the time being, I’ve set aside my intention to create a shared-world bible and share a world in which others may write. I might bring it back someday (maybe in 2021) but right now I just don’t have time to devote to it.

Welcome to our recent new subscribers. I hope you’ll find the Journal of some practical use in improving your craft and bringing joy to your writing. Just so you know, you can always email me at with questions or concerns.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Choices” at

See “Outlining in Reverse” at This from a self-identified “pantser” (god I hate that term) at TKZ of all places.

See “Two New Projects” at Shared Worlds class is about to get very exciting. Still time to jump in if you want. (Licensing Transition is still open too. It’s focused on business, and SW is more focused on writing.)

See “What Makes a Great Writing Group?” at

See “End the Debate: Why the Oxford Comma (or Serial Comma) is so Cool!” at

See “A Couple of Potentially Helpful Sites/Services” at

For those who haven’t seen it yet, see “Six Things Writers Need To Stop Worrying About” at

The Numbers

Fiction words today…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 1060 (Journal)

Writing of The Others (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3010 words. Total words to date…… 3010

Total fiction words for the month……… 3010
Total fiction words for the year………… 139705
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3430
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 579150
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 197615

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 3
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 6
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 48
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 202
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31