The Journal, Saturday, 8/19

Hey Folks,

I have a couple of nonfiction projects to knock out this morning and then a friend coming for a visit this afternoon and evening. So not sure how much writing I’ll get done today, if any.

The story I was working on, I love the concept, but I might have to restart it yet again. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just read back and find what went sour.

My goal of writing a novel this month is fading fast. (grin) Then again, that’s what goals are for. And I’m in some sort of weird transition phase right now. Weird because I’m not even sure what I’m transitioning from or to.

Topic: Take Your Time

A friend emailed today to tell me he was going to “work on” getting a younger gent he knows to come to my upcoming seminar. I told him not to worry about it. The thing is, if he has to “convince” the guy to take a chance, the guy isn’t ready.

If I knew the guy, I’d tell him myself, “Hey, take your time. When you’re ready, you’ll get it. But in the meantime, practice.”

At which point, I have zero doubt, he’d look at me as if I have two heads. And that’s okay too.

The thing is, even for those of us for whom storytelling comes fairly easily, it takes around a million words of PRACTICE before we actually “get it.”

And by “practice” I mean putting new words on the page, not hovering over what we’ve already written. If you’re hovering, you’re spinning your wheels. If you don’t think so, that’s okay. Someday you’ll know.

Rewriting and self-editing and “polishing” and any other conscious-mind activity is a Complete Waste Of Time, and it will actually harm your work. Likewise, letting anyone else into your work-in-progress will harm your work. Just sayin’.

You don’t have to agree. It’s okay. Someday you will. (grin)

But back to that million words of practice — that’s from the time we start writing fiction “seriously,” not from the time we start breathing.

Thinking about the young man again, not everyone is ready to step out of the comfort zone of applying the same tired clichés they’ve heard about writing all their lives.

As an aside, that comfort zone is another function of the conscious mind. As long as you keep doing what you’ve proven time and again won’t work, you won’t publish anything and make yourself a target for criticism. It’s much easier to just keep following the same old “kill all your darlings” nonsense.

As a result, anyone who has new knowledge to offer — and somehow that’s especially someone who has successfully applied that knowledge for 20 or 30 or 100 novels or short stories — is immediately suspect.

And I really do understand. I was somewhat suspicious of DWS and a few others when I first turned my mind seriously to writing fiction a little over three years ago.

The one main premise I bought into (because it made so much sense) was that “practice” was a necessity. It’s Heinlein’s Rules all over again: write, publish, write some more.

And thank goodness I bought into that much. Somewhere along the way, the rest of it started to make sense and I managed to “get it.” Now, with over 180 short stories, 4 novellas, 26 novels and a writing work ethic, I finally feel comfortable enough to teach writing techniques.

Techniques that do not appeal to that conscious-mind comfort zone.

I’m grateful for every single person who takes a chance and attends my seminars. And I’m happy for them because I know the value of what they’ve received.

But even of those who attend, not everyone is ready — yet — to do the work. Not all of them are ready yet to apply what I teach them, and to practice it incessantly until they “get it.”

But at least the knowledge will be there when they ARE ready. It will surface as a moment of epiphany.

All they have to do is keep writing.

And the young man? He’ll get it when he’s ready, or he’ll find something else he enjoys doing as much as we enjoy writing.


I’m really not sure how, nor am I sure my untitled fiction will go anywhere, but I got a couple free hours to add to it today. So there’s that.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, actually from yesterday, read “Read Kris’s New Blog Post” at

Somehow or other, my main blog made the cut over at I always find it weird when someone’s heard of me before I’ve heard of them.

Fiction Words: 1856
Nonfiction Words: 780 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2636

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10390
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 129500
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 509120

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 631 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181