The Journal: Dual Days and Making Your Goals Public

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Dual Days
* Topic: Making Your Goals Public
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“The only unacceptable short story is one that misses the deadline. A bad story is OK as long as it’s turned in – write a better one next week. No one cares about your bad story – and next week you [w]on’t have time to care about it. Read the bad story later and it probably turns out it’s not as heinous as you thought – besides, no one cares what you think, see above.” Tina Back in a comment on Dean’s site (see “Of Interest” below)

Dual Days

Every now and then we get two days wrapped as one. Yesterday was one of those dual days. It was Christmas, a celebration and holiday. But it was also December 25, so one of 365 potential writing days on the calendar.

I was up early as usual, but the holiday celebration doesn’t start until all the players are on site or on their way, right? My wife planned to drop a roast into a crock pot at around 6 for the Christmas dinner, so I didn’t even have much in the way of Christmas prep to do.

So for me, December 25 (the writing day) came first.

I started by cutting three chapters (just over 6,000 words) from the Jonah Peach novel. I mention this only because of the number adjustment below. Those chapters just didn’t fit, and I’d known (felt) that for awhile. Normally I wait until the end of the story to go back and cut any excess (loops, etc.) just before I send the novel to my first readers.

For any writers out there, notice that I cut the words from the specific story count, but I did not cut them from the monthly or annual totals. I wrote the words, so they count.

But back to the cut — Those three chapters had nagged at me for the past several days. My subconscious knew they didn’t fit and weren’t adding anything to the story. They were side roads, little loops that closed back in on themselves. And my subconscious mentioned them every time I sat down. So I cut them.

Then I went back to writing. With December 25 also being Christmas, with gifts to give and receive, a special meal to enjoy, etc., I wrote just under 2000 words (see Day 16 below).

I like dual days. There’s the writing day and then the rest of the day. The writing day belongs to you and your writing. The rest of the day is shared with your loved ones, your friends, your job and whomever/whatever else.

Topic: Making Your Goals Public

A couple days ago a young writer (see commented on the Journal that she is thinking about making her writing goals public, like I do.

I was a little stymied. Why wouldn’t she make her writing goals public? You don’t have to put them on your website for the world to see, but I recommend you share them with someone — family, friends, other writers — for two reasons:

1. For the support they’ll provide.
2. To hold yourself accountable.

Especially if fear (a function of the conscious, critical mind) occasionally freezes you and stops you from writing, sharing your goals is part of turning the fear around.

Instead of being afraid of what will happen if you write or finish or publish a story, be afraid of how you’ll feel if you DON’T write or finish or publish a story.

If you make your goals public, knowing that others are aware of what you want to accomplish will drive you to the computer to write.

If you set your goals right, eventually you will fail. But turn that around too. Look at all you accomplished in reaching for your goals.

I’ve set a goal to write a new short story every week for the upcoming year and beyond. There’s absolutely no reason (that I can foresee) why I shouldn’t reach that goal. I’ve also set a goal of writing a new novel every month for the upcoming year and beyond. Again, I see no reason why I should fail.

But say something unexpected happens, something that’s out of my control. Say for some reason in the last week of December 2020, I miss writing a short story. And say for some reason I don’t finish the novel I start in December 2020.

Did I fail in my goal? Yes.

But I also wrote 51 short stories (and compiled five 10-story collections) during the year. And I still will have finished 11 new novels during the year. So really, how is that a failure? That’s what we call “failing to success.”

And all of that starts with me telling the world I’m planning to write 52 short stories and 12 novels during the next year.

If I hadn’t shared my goals with you and others, I can all but guarantee I wouldn’t have written anywhere near that much on December 31 2020.

So please, think about sharing your goals with someone. Let them help you, as you have helped me over the years, hold your feet to the fire.

Today I spent more time than I expected on writing all of this, posting a goals blog to my author site, and checking for articles of interest.

Later today I’ll add to the WIP. And I’m really excited because with six days left in the year, there’s an excellent chance I’ll finish the novel on or before December 31. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Which means my novel-writing goal started retroactively on December 5 when I started this novel. (grin) Which means I can now plan to write a novel every month for 18 months instead of 17.

I think today was maybe the best day of fiction writing I’ve ever had. Woohoo!

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “A Tough Week…” at

See “I’m Doing The Great Publishing Challenge” at

See Tina Back’s comment on “Great Challenges” at Chock full of gems.

See “Business Musings: The Future of Audio 2019” at

See “The Importance of Writing and Exercise” at

See “Scientists Discover Why Exercise Makes You Smarter” at

See PG’s take on “‘Little Women’ and the Marmee Problem” at

See also PG’s take on “The 2010s were supposed to bring…” at

See “The Evolving Novel” at

Finally, strictly for fun, see the video at

The Numbers

Fiction words (see specific numbers below)
Nonfiction words today…………… 1070 (Journal)

Writing of Jonah Peach (tentative title)
Brought forward…… 4416 words

Day 10… 1490 words. Total words to date…… 25649
Day 11… 1544 words. Total words to date…… 27193
Day 12… 1554 words. Total words to date…… 28747
Day 13… 4102 words. Total words to date…… 32849
Day 14… 3538 words. Total words to date…… 36387
Day 15… 1096 words. Total words to date…… 37483
Note: Cut 6351 words on Day 16…………………………… 31132
Day 16… 1905 words. Total words to date…… 33037
Day 17… 5951 words. Total words to date…… 38988

Total fiction words for the month……… 42774
Total fiction words for the year………… 440339
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 319640
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 759979

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 10
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 44
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 197
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31