The Journal, Sunday, August 26

Hey Folks,

As I expected, no fiction writing yesterday. If I write today, I’ll report it on Monday.

I received feedback on my previous novel from my first reader yesterday, and this morning I applied that feedback and (I hope) enlisted her aid as the first reader for the one I’m working on now. (grin)

Now I just have to come up with a couple of titles. One for Nick Spalding 2 (the one I finished) and another for Nick Spalding 1 (the WIP).

In the meantime, here’s Part 2 of the topic I started yesterday. (You can see Part 1 at

Topic: Preaching to the Choir, Part 2

7. Letting the critical voice in — The error of thinking it’s okay to do a critical read-through to catch and fix errors and look for points you need going forward.

Every time you let the critical voice in, especially if you actually invite it in, the next time becomes easier.

You’re telling your critical voice you want and need its help, and you really don’t. Trust your subconscious and let your fingers fly. True joy awaits, I promise.

If you want to do a read-through for any reason, do it as a reader for pleasure (that will engage the subconscious), not a writer. Read strictly for pleasure, on-screen, while your fingers rest on the keyboard.

If that little voice says “Add this,” add it. Anytime you hear a negative in that voice (ooh, wrong word; ooh, that sentence is too long; etc.), you’ve slipped into critical voice.

If that happens, physically leave the keyboard and the story. Put it out of your mind. Tell your conscious mind to get lost, that it’s not welcome. Take a walk. Do something to shake it loose.

And when you come back, bring the story up on the screen, back up a paragraph or two from where you stopped, and begin reading strictly for pleasure while your fingers rest on the keyboard. And as the writer of the original post wrote, “let your fingers” (characters) “do the work” (tell the story) “instead of your brain” (critical voice).

8. It will come in time — You’ll get back into the flow of writing in time.

Only no, you won’t. Not until you let go of the fear that causes you to depend on your critical voice. As Bradbury once said, “Nothing good in literature ever came from the conscious mind.”

9. Distractions suck — Yes, yes they do.

I have a strong personality and strong opinions. I also have strong ideals (world peace, etc.) but remain rooted in reality.

I realize many of you are annoyed and distracted by things that don’t annoy or distract me. Hey, works for me. Vive la différence.

About ten years ago (not joking) I stopped watching or listening to the national “news” on television. In my opinion, today’s “unbiased press” in the US easily rivals the old Soviet TASS Agency for their ability to propagate witch hunts and churn out propaganda.

I was observing my kitten one day, and I realized whatever the foolish humans in the nation’s capital do, if it doesn’t directly affect her, she doesn’t worry about it. So I adopted her attitude. And it works.

So yes, clear out as many distractions as you can. I don’t recommend divorce or disowning your children, but otherwise, distance yourself from annoying outside influences.

10. We write so others can escape reality for awhile (psychiatrists call this “tranferrence”) — Absolutely. But write first so YOU can escape reality for awhile.

It’s why your characters and their stories exist, to enable you to escape. Then, later, decide whether to share the story so others can escape too.

I’ve written 32 novels and am steeped in the story of the 33rd. There’s one I still haven’t released to others (published) and I might never do so. Don’t ask. I have my reasons. (grin)

But the point is, it was worthwhile to write because it was vastly entertaining to me. It may or may not ever be entertaining to anyone else, but at the moment that isn’t my concern.

11. Others care about what I write and even That I write — Those who read and enjoy what you write care, sure. Others, not so much. Not really, and that’s okay.

12. I’m trying — For this one, I’ll just quote Yoda (grin): “Do or do not; there is no try.”

Again, the writing — allowing the characters to tell you their story — is the thing.

Notice that in every case above, except maybe number 9, the catalyst is fear as created by the critical mind. And even in the case of number 9, if you continue to allow distractions and let them keep you from writing, that one’s based on fear too.

But it’s an unreasoning fear, as are all the others. It’s unreasoning because there are zero real consequences. If you “fail,” absolutely nothing will happen, except the sun will dawn on a new day tomorrow, which means you get to try again.

So it’s all good. So get out of your own way and write already if that’s what you want to do. And if it isn’t, that’s okay too.

Of Interest

See “Put Some Snap in Your Style” at

See “Agent Danielle Smith’s Former Clients Speak Out” at Yet another agent-related horror story.

Talk with you again soon.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 880

Writing of Nick Spalding 1 (novel, tentative title)
Brought forward…… 17778 words

Day 1…… 1449 words. Total words to date…… 19227
Day 2…… 1611 words. Total words to date…… 20838
Day 3…… 3169 words. Total words to date…… 24007
Day 4…… 3077 words. Total words to date…… 27084
Day 5…… 2146 words. Total words to date…… 29230
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 47349
Total fiction words for the year………… 295646
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16760
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 115046
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 410442

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 6
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 11
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 32
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 6
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………………… 193