The Journal, Saturday, August 31

In today’s Journal

* Topic: Some Rambling Thoughts
* I planned to be gone…

Topic: Some Rambling Thoughts

I’m still on vacation, which I find a little odd and frankly a little unnerving. I’ve been writing very little nonfiction (all of it here) and very little to no fiction. I want to get back to the latter.

I’ll get back to the former too with some regularity, but I probably won’t post “items of interest” other than occasionally in the body of the post, as I have in this one.

I think for me getting back to writing fiction regularly will take ignoring whatever “mood” I’m in and just writing. In other words, discipline.

So in the last day(s) of my vacation, I’m considering a major shake-up of my process and maybe even my time. I firmly believe we only advance by trying new things.

This is due, in large part, to ideas I gleaned from listening to a podcast with Joe R. Lansdale (see below).

1. Write what you feel like writing. For example,

* It’s okay to skip around to different genres. If a genre interests you, write it.

* It’s okay to stop a novel in the middle and write an unrelated short story.

* It’s okay (and even advisable) to write for only a more-or-less set amount of words or pages or scenes or hours per day and then spend the rest of the day doing other things.

* It’s okay that there are occasionally days when you’re busy with things other than writing.

* Just a reminder, take time to read.

2. Show up and do the work (play) by setting a daily goal. Write a set number of words (or pages or scenes or hours) per day. Your goal may vary from one day to the next depending on other things that are going on in your life.

(One “trick” for this: One of my mentoring students is currently writing to a set word-count goal per day—the goal varies with the day—and then exceeding it, writing a little more than the goal requires. As a result, her numbers are off the charts.)

3. Keep the writing fun. This is paramount. Even if you structure your goal (word-count, etc.) around other, necessary things in your life, instill within yourself the mindset that the writing time is a reward for having done those other, necessary things.

These are all things I’ll be doing in the near future, along with learning more about writing and licensing my IP.

I planned to be gone a bit longer, but a few days ago Phillip McCollum sent me a link to an interview with Joe R. Lansdale. I finally devoted some time to listen to it yesterday. I will listen to it again.

It’s on The Prolific Writer podcast, and it’s almost an hour and a half long, but it’s very worthwhile.

It helped me. I suspect it will help you too.

Get your favorite beverage, settle in and listen at

And thanks, Phillip, for sending the link.

Talk with you later.

PS: Dean’s finally back with more on the Trademark book he’s writing. Check his post.

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glynn Marco (novel)

Day 8…… 1253 words. Total words to date…… 15916

Total fiction words for the month……… 15916
Total fiction words for the year………… 374653
Total nonfiction words for the month… 28640
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 246710
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 621363

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Saturday, August 31”

  1. Thought you might enjoy the podcast, Harvey. 😉

    I’ve really been taking the reading part to heart, as well. After hearing just how much Joe reads, it made me realize how important that is for a writer. I’m only able to get through about a book a week right now, but that’s more than I’ve done in the past.

    I’ve also made it a very directed part of my study process. I picked out ten books in the urban fantasy genre written by stage 4 writers to read for pleasure, which I will then go back and study for genre-specific tropes as well as wider techniques. I started a few weeks ago and am three books down. A fourth just couldn’t hold me after 100 pages (not to my taste).

    Anyway, all this to say I found the podcast equally inspiring.

    Hope you got some good photos at Tombstone!

    • Thanks, Phillip. A lot of what he said struck a chord with me (as you could tell). In my reading, I “feel” books as I go through them. One of my favorite all-time authors is Jack Higgins. When I read his, I get a sense of “I could do this, but it’s currently somewhere above me.” I re-read to get a feel for the flow, a sense of pacing, how he works description and short scenes, etc. It really is incredible. Like King in horror/psychological suspense, Higgins is alone at the top of the thriller/suspense heap.

      In Tombstone, the lighting wasn’t quite right, but I’ll get more. It’s only about 15 miles up the road. I’m looking forward to getting down to Douglas soon too (maybe tomorrow). That will be a great trip.

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