The Journal: Coming Soon: The Long-Awaited (Yeah, Right) Goals Post

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Topic: Coming Soon: The Long-Awaited (Yeah, Right) Goals Post
* An Open Note to Loyd J.
* A Strange Phenomenon
* Note to my first readers
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“The last nine months have felt like one long never-ending sentence without commas or periods.” Margo T Krasne

Topic: Coming Soon: The Long-Awaited (Yeah, Right) Goals Post

I’m not pulling any punches here.

This time of year, posts on setting goals abound. But when I’ve read some of those recently, I felt as if I was transported back to the 1980s.

Back to a time when all a writer had control over was how many words he or she wrote in a day. Literally every other step of the process — acceptance by an agent or publisher, editing, the cover, the timeline for publication — was out of the writer’s control.

That is not the world of today. It hasn’t been that way since Amazon started publishing ebooks back in 2008 or so. And when Mark Coker came along with Smashwords in 2010 or thereabouts, the whole world exploded into a thing of sheer beauty for writers.

Alas, Smashwords didn’t evolve — I personally wish it had — so far fewer writer/publishers use it today. Instead they go to or or any number of other, more user-friendly distributors. Many of us use several different distributors, making sure distribution channels don’t cross. (What is distributed to Kobo through one distributor should not also be distributed to Kobo through another distributor.)

The point is, today the writing process has become the writing/publishing process. And today, if you want it, you have complete control over that process. “Success,” depending on your definition of that word, might remain a dream, but you can much more directly influence how close you come to achieving that dream than you could before the advent of this wonderful new world.

With practice, today you can learn how to

* write great stories or novels
* design professional covers
* write professional sales copy,
* publish your work to ebooks and paper, and
* distribute your work worldwide, in most cases much wider than it would be distributed if traditionally published

So don’t let anyone tell you those things are dreams. They aren’t dreams. They’re goals. You can attain all of them if you want. Putting in the effort and learning is completely within your control.

AND you keep all rights to your IP so it goes on making you and your heirs money for 70 years beyond your death,

AND you make a MUCH larger percentage of the cover price on every book sold.

As to writing, as a very first, basic step, you can determine how much of your disposable time you spend at the keyboard. There might be tradeoffs. Those are choices you have to make, priorities you have to set. But it’s all within your control.

Remember, I’m talking about disposable hours here, hours over which you have control. With that in mind, “I ‘can’t’ write more than X number of minutes or hours per day” is not valid. As my mom used to say, “‘Can’t’ never did a damn thing.” The reality is that you “choose” to write only X number of minutes or hours per day.

How you use your disposable time is strictly up to you. I’ll be back soon with how I plan to use mine for the upcoming year beginning on January 1, 2021.

And by the way, you don’t have to be limited by a calendar either. A new 365-day time period begins with each dawn. I fully expect to begin one novel in 2020 and finish it in 2021.

An Open Note to Loyd J. (in case he drops by), who commented on a recent TKZ post:

Loyd, it’s all math. I suggest determining how many publishable words of fiction you can write in an hour, then multiply that by how many disposable hours (time not spent at a job or other necessary pursuits) you can spend at the keyboard on a given day to get your daily word count. Then, to set a goal that will make you stretch a little, add 10%.

I wrote 8 novels this year, and that included 4 months (May to August) during which I wrote hardly a word of fiction. My own daily writing goal is 3000 words per day. Again, these are publishable words of fiction, not sloppy, stream-of-consciousness, just-get-it-on-paper words. I allow the characters to tell the story that they, not I, are living.

And I don’t allow anyone else into my work. After I finish each session, I take a break, then read back over what I’ve written when I return. As I read, I allow myself to touch the writing, correcting any errors that pop out at me. When the novel is finished, I send it to a first reader who catches a few things I missed (wrong words, misspellings, and inconsistencies) and then I publish and distribute it.

My work enjoys brisk sales and a worldwide audience. I recently finished my 53rd novel.

A Strange Phenomenon

The truth of the statement Every Novel Is Different never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday, with a fairly good writing day of just over 4000 words I think The Journey Home: Part 2 is finished. I’m calling it done. But before I send it out to my first readers (they need a break anyway) I’m going to read over the whole thing again.

I was writing along fine when I realized the story seemed to be slogging, slowing down. It felt sluggish, like it didn’t matter. I’ve experienced that before. I wrote past the end of one of my early Wes Crowley novels by about 10 words. Would that it were always that easy.

I took the warning to heart, stopped writing, and scrolled back up to read the last few chapters. And realized I’d written past the ending.

As I’ve said many time, if you trust the characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living, they will will always lead you through to the end. However, you won’t always immediately recognize that end. When that happens, the writing will become sluggish, and the story will seem to slow and grind to a halt. Because the characters are trying to tell you something.

That’s when it’s a good idea to check in with yourself. Again, trust the characters. Scroll back a few sentences or paragraphs or pages and Just Read. The ending will become obvious.

And again, the “ending” is not the final climax of your story. The ending is the resolution that occurs immediately after the final climax or final scene.

But as I mentioned above, I’m going to read through the whole thing again. I’ll Just Read (creative mind) and see whether it feels like anything is missing from the story. (I would notice that in a book by another author too, if something was missing.) I’m 99% confident I won’t find anything.

Note to my first readers: I’m aware it’s the holiday season, so when I do send you this thing, there’s no requirement that you get it back to me quickly. I’ve had the joy of writing it. Publishing it is a chore I will happily delay until I receive your comments.

I still have room for more first readers. If you’re interested, email me at

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “43 Embarrassing Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make” at Some great stuff here.

See “10 Markets for Literary Fiction” at

See “Year of Changes” at Some food for thought, some same old stuff.

See “The Talented Ms. Calloway” at Preposterous. Especially see PG’s take.

See “Nine Months of Covid” at See PG’s take. And I strongly recommend against using Booklocker or any other subsidy publisher.

See “Retention and Seduction: The Art of the Chapter Break” at Cliffhanger at the end of every major scene or chapter, hook at the opening of the next. Always.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1330 words

Writing of The Journey Home: Part 2 (novel)

Day 10… 4264 words. Total words to date…… 45042
Day 11… 5020 words. Total words to date…… 50062
Day 12… 4381 words. Total words to date…… 54443 (done)

Total fiction words for December……… 49423
Total fiction words for the year………… 501954
Total nonfiction words for December… 75400
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 192750
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 688993

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 8
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 13
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 53
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 214
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31