The Journal: Flip-Flop?

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* A good article
* Topic: Flip-Flop?
* How About You?
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“The first thing that I seek in a great story is originality.” David Farland (I had to laugh, given that Farland is one who advocates outlining, revising, editing and rewriting, all of which quickly obliterate any chance of originality. Here’s my recent post on originality.)

There’s a good article today at The Passive Voice about who owns the copyright of derivative works in what amounts to shared worlds. Take a look at “Inside the Realms of Ruin” at And don’t forget to check out PG’s take.

Topic: Flip-Flop?

My mind works fast, which is often more of a curse than a blessing. When an idea for a Journal entry occurs to me, if it’s something I think might interest you or that you might find useful in your own writing life, I write about it in the Journal.

Of course, a big part of the purpose of this Journal is to share my journey as a professional fiction writer. And frankly, that would be just silly if I didn’t share the setbacks and possible solutions as well as the successes.

The problem is, often by the time I’ve finished writing the Journal entry, I’ve resolved the issue and moved on. Then sometimes I share the resolution or the attempted resolution in the next Journal post.  That isn’t me being indecisive (flip-flopping). That’s just me sharing maybe too much too quickly instead of sitting back and waiting for the situation to resolve (or not) fully before sharing information about it.

More often than not, writing about an issue here actually helps me resolve it. Which of course gives me something else to write about, which maybe again leads to the appearance of flip-flopping. You can see the conundrum. Sometimes, though rarely, my commitment to sharing in the Journal even gets in the way of resolving the problem.

All of that is to say at present I’m very close to writing fiction again at my old rate. I won’t pretend to know when or maybe even how it will happen. And ironically, given the didactic purpose of the Journal itself, I can’t really explain it even here. I can only say I “feel” it—which is a good sign, really, since trusting what one intuits is the basis for writing into the dark in the first place.

So I’m going to take a few purely selfish days to concentrate on getting my writing self back in order. I’ll also set some goals for 2022, and maybe even come up with a few challenges. Maybe even an interactive challenge or two in which you might participate if you want. (There goes my brain again. We’ll see.) When I come back, I’ll be well underway on something and will have left behind the appearance of any indecisiveness.

How About You?

But the above was all about me. How about you? What are you doing to start writing again or to increase your productivity or to write more or publish more? Feel free to share your setbacks and solutions, successes, and goals for the new year in the comments or via email.

Just remember the difference between goals and dreams: Dreams (selling a million copies of your book) are outside your control. Goals (writing 2 or 4 or 6 novels next year, or writing a new short story every week) are within your control.

For just one example of helpful sharing, see the comment Maggine King left back in mid-November on my post about “Fiction Writing and Pulp Speed.” Suffice it to say, if you’re considering being a professional writer, math is your friend.

Here’s to new beginnings. Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See “Getting Your Books Noticed” at

See “Imagination” at You can also be original by simply trusting the characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 660 words

Writing of “The Jimson Stage” (opening)

Day 1…… 2454 words. Total words to date…… 2454
Day 2…… 803 words. Total words to date…… 3257 (nah, tossed out)

Writing of WCGN 5: Carmelita Ramos (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 2602 words. Total words to date…… 2602
Day 2…… 1081 words. Total words to date…… 3683 (stalled and thrown out)

Total fiction words for December……… 3535
Total fiction words for the year………… 629419
Total nonfiction words for December… 1630
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 20770
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 822459

Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 13
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

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.

6 thoughts on “The Journal: Flip-Flop?”

  1. Hi Harvey! Thanks for linking to my comments in November because math really does make it clear! (Let’s just say I have plenty of wiggle room to become a more prolific writer. LOL). 😁

    Currently I’m still struggling with the myths and critical voice at times. I have two helpful quotes (that I got from you and Dean) posted at my keyboard that I read daily. The first is “Dare To Be Bad!” and “Write The Next Sentence.” Both are calming to me. 🥰

    I’ve been on this Writing Into The Dark journey for nearly two years. The first year I took Dean’s Publishing Challenge and wrote and published 12 novellas. That felt good. Yay!

    But this year I’m kind of disappointed in myself and have only completed six. I think doing the challenge motivated me so I’ve signed up for the Short Story Challenge to start in January.

    I’m getting pretty excited about it. 🤠 Should be lots of fun.

    • Thanks, Maggie. Now add to that challenge writing a novella each month or every two months. I know you can do it. Challenges (and the resulting streaks) drive us to the keyboard. The rest is just having fun.

  2. I’m taking my first workshop by Dean Smith in January on writing short stories. Very excited about it. I needed to get involved in some learning to help boost me along. My son has been going through some medical problems and I hadn’t been writing either. He’s coming along better now but has a hip surgery scheduled for Monday so they’ll get him patched up good as new.
    I’ve been wanting to take one of Dean’s workshops for a while. My wife got it for me for Christmas.

    • Good for you, Christopher. Without Dean’s advice and encouragement early on, I wouldn’t be where I am today as a fiction writer. But more importantly, prayers and good thoughts for your son. And good on your wife for her support. Cool!

  3. I started writing a while back but conflicting ideas (myth + critical voice) got in the way. I often get back home tired from working but I started wrote something this weekend (Non-fiction) but it felt good to put fingers to keys again. And my Monday is better for it.

Comments are closed.