The Journal, Saturday, September 28

In today’s Journal

* Nothing today
* Topic: What I Missed
* Oh, the rough night?
* Of Interest
* The numbers

Nothing today other than the topic below and whatever’s in Of Interest. Had a rough night last night.

Topic: What I Missed

There are two key parts to this topic: preparation and confidence in one’s self and one’s abilities. Naturally, the former fuels the latter. If you are appropriately prepared, you have more confidence in what you do. More confidence that you will be successful.

Preparation is key. Anyone who’s ever taken an exam in school understands that studying and learning, not cramming, constitutes true, valuable preparation.

I forgot that, apparently, with regard to my recent interview for The Prolific Writer podcast. And the interview (in my opinion) suffered as a result.

I got flustered. I rambled. A lot. I forgot things.

And I have no excuse. None. Ryan J. Pelton, the gracious host, sent me some questions a week or so in advance, ostensibly to help me prepare.

And I did, to some degree. I copied and pasted the questions from his email into a Notepad document, then wrote out my responses. One by one. In order.

So I thought I was prepared. I thought I’d studied.

But I didn’t. I crammed.

When I called in to the show for the interview, Ryan first talked with me briefly as if to put me at ease.

No problem there, of course. As you all know, I’m an old hand at running my gums and I know the subject matter. It never dawned on me to ask him whether he would ask the questions in the same order as those he’d sent me via email.

And he didn’t. Not only did he not ask the questions in the same order, but he even omitted a couple.

Oh-oh. I got flustered. I was rattled.

Ryan calmly asked his questions, but as a result of my flustration (that’s a word now), I frantically searched through my list of questions and responses. So the interview, which I suspect (and hope) he will somehow repair during editing, is a rambling, loosely woven series of responses that (I’m afraid) blatantly reflects my lack of preparation.

The only thing worse than not being prepared is having your readers (or in this case, listeners) recognize your lack of preparation.

Of course, if you listen to the podcast when it goes live in a few weeks, your mileage might vary. It does contain a few things that I haven’t talked about before. Or at least I think it does. So you might actually find a gem or two among the weeds of blathering verbiage.

At least, that is my hope. But either way, the thing is out there now. I can’t pull it back. When Ryan sends the link to the live podcast, I’ll report it here and let you be the judge.

As to what I missed… Ryan didn’t ask about where I write. If he had, I’d have talked a little about the Hovel and having a dedicated writing computer (no or only sporadic Internet, no games, etc.).

He DID ask about my current project and where readers could find my books. But I completely spaced the part about my current project (Book 7 of the Blackwell Ops series), but I went on seemingly forever about StoneThreadPublishing, discounted direct sales to readers, my other two websites, and the fact that I go wide with my publishing rather than going exclusive with any one store.

Which brings me to the second part of this topic—Confidence, or maybe Preparation Breeds Confidence—which will appear both here and over in PWW in the near future.

I didn’t truly prepare for the podcast, and I suspect my lack of confidence is illustrated above. Thank goodness that isn’t my norm as a writer.

Oh, the rough night? I was awakened by one of those dogs who barks at absolutely nothing. And he kept barking until I finally walked across the street, opened the neighbor’s front door (the neighbor was home, by the way) and let the stupid dog in so he would shut the hell up.

Then, of course, I was awake (after a half-hour’s sleep) and couldn’t go back to sleep. So as I said, a rough night. Today I’ll do nothing but attempt to not chew the head off anyone I talk to.

Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See “Interesting Discussion (Strangely Enough, With a Book Agent) at Wow. This is a great checklist if you want to get a literary agent.

I’ll never need this list, but to each his own. If you want an agent, I strongly recommend this list, and remember that the agent works for YOU, not the other way around. You’ll certainly be paying her enough to dictate terms.

If you’d care to see a truly ignorant post that you can read and then print out (so you can carry it out in the yard and burn it), see “How Long Does It Take To Write a Book?” at I’d love to be able to say I’ve never seen such a crock of crap, but unfortunately I see it all the time.

Just one stupid quote from the article as an example: “But if you’re writing a typical novel (50,000 words or more) on a typical schedule (a few hours of writing per week), you’ll likely fall somewhere in that 6-to-12-month range.”

Seriously? (Yet isn’t it amazing that if you write two 50,000 word novels in a year you’re considered “prolific”?) Wow.

Finally, for a great “feel good” post, see “Help Wanted: Butler. References needed. Livery opt.” at

The Numbers

Total fiction words for the month……… 5578
Total fiction words for the year………… 380231
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14460
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 261170
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 641401

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

4 thoughts on “The Journal, Saturday, September 28”

  1. Harvey,

    It doesn’t matter to me–and probably to most other readers/listeners, if I may speak for them–how smooth your interview went. HONESTY is the main thing. I’d rather hear one honest thought from you than all the BS that passes for advice from most of the so-called writing craft experts out there.


  2. It’s funny how you always praise writing into the dark, whereas for this interview, you’re mad at yourself for being underprepared. Yet if you had outlined your answers to death and just recited them during the interview, that interview would probably not have been very good.

    When I’m listening to podcasts, I like to feel that I’m listening to a real person, rambling and all. And knowing your blog, I’m sure you managed to pass on quite a lot of useful information. Besides, your job is to be a writer, not an interviewee, so listeners are likely to be more indulgent than readers.

    I’m wondering whether it’s not just your critical voice trying to regain some power on you? It knows that you’re very good at not listening to it when you’re writing, so maybe it’s simply trying to stop you from expressing yourself in another medium?

    • Exactly, Céline. Nonfiction (and “live” interviews) are a little different than writing fiction, but similar enough that I shouldn’t have been rattled. I basically outsmarted myself. Also, when I’m writing fiction, I have no responsibility to the reader. My only responsibility is to convey the characters’ story as it unfolds. But in nonfiction (and interviews) passing along what I hope will be useful information to other writers, I feel responsible to those writers for what I’m advising them to do. (Not that I’m attached to outcome, as in whether or not they “buy” it or do it, but I’m responsible for what I tell them and how I say it.) Yes, I know the subject matter, but knowledge is only half the equation; the other half is presentation, and that’s where I feel I stumbled. But as I wrote elsewhere, I suppose we’ll see. 🙂

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