In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* Topic: Think
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“Nothing will stop you from being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” John Cleese (from KillZone blog a day or two ago)
Yesterday, I got up early to give myself more time on the novel, but that didn’t really work out. I was tired much of the day, and I wasn’t thinking quite right. Lesson learned. Maybe. I got just over 3600 words (see Day 3).
At the end of the day yesterday I was going to write a topic for today, but my my brain felt cloudy, so I waited until this morning. Sure enough, a topic reared its head as I was researching items for “Of Interest.”
I almost titled this “Harvey Calls Bullsh*t.”
I’m constantly annoyed at all the harmful advice out there. And most of it doesn’t come stomping through the front door of reason. Most of it slips in through a side window. It seems friendly and innocuous. And it will destroy you.
That’s why for years, I’ve advised others to Question Everything. We should all strive to use our brain housing group for something other than a hat rack or to showcase a new hairstyle.
That’s just good general advice for living an authentic life. But this is a writing blog. So specifically, when you read or hear writing advice FROM ANYONE (yes, even me), question it.
Break it down to its most basic form and then try to respond to it, at least in your own mind. Does it still make sense? Then give it a try. Is it silly? Then discard it.
For example, I recently saw this quote as a “hook” for a blog post in a major venue: “If you don’t have a solid grasp on whether or not readers are picking up the next book in your series, you don’t know if it’s worth carrying on with it.”
The truth is, you can’t have “a solid grasp” on what readers are doing at any point in time. And even if you think you do, that doesn’t mean they’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow or next week or next month.
You have ZERO CONTROL over who picks up the next book in your series. Yes, you can frantically follow the numbers at Amazon or wherever, but that won’t tell you who MIGHT pick up your book tomorrow or the next day or a week, month or year from now.
Sadly, I know too many “writers” who write one book, then literally spend the rest of their time watching numbers.
So what to do?
Write the best story you can, design the best cover you can, write the best sales copy you can, publish it, and move on to the next book.
Because here’s the thing: Books aren’t produce.
Books don’t spoil or “go bad” in a month or a year or ten years.
Even if nobody’s interested in your series right now, that doesn’t mean nobody will be interested a month or a year from now. Write what you want to write, publish it, and then leave it up so readers can find it.
So the writing advice posed in the quote above is just ridiculously easy to answer:
1. Do you ENJOY writing the series?
A. Yes. (Then it’s worth carrying on.)
B. No. (Then it’s NOT worth carrying on. And why in the world are you writing it in the first place?)
I can almost hear a ton of people out there screaming, “But it isn’t that easy!”
Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? It’s as easy as you want it to be. And your writing is one of the few areas where you really do have control.
Life is already filled with things we have to do whether or not we enjoy them.
Sitting alone in a room making sh*t up should be fun and enjoyable. It should be an escape. Don’t let anyone make your writing just one more stressor.
Today, I’ll continue writing my current WIP, the second book in what I expect will be a series. Why? Because it’s the most fun I can have with my clothes on.
And I’m not writing it because of some silly, high-handed notion that some imaginary reader will enjoy it. Some will, some won’t. Shrug.
I’m writing it because it’s a ton of fun and I want to find out what happens next.
Talk with you again soon.
See “14 Myths About Writers” at https://www.authorspublish.com/14-myths-about-writers-2/. Cute. And mostly true.
See “The Science Behind the Meet-Cute” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-science-behind-the-meet-cute/.
See “Vegas Workshops Postponed” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/vegas-workshops-postponed/.
See “Plague Writing” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/plague-writing/.
See “A Pleasure-oriented Society Full of ‘Wholesome Degeneracy'” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/a-pleasure-oriented-society-full-of-wholesome-degeneracy/.
See “The Hunter, The Hunted, and “The Most Dangerous Game” at https://crimereads.com/the-hunter-the-hunted-and-the-most-dangerous-game/.
See “Why True Stories Don’t Always Make Good Fiction” at https://crimereads.com/why-true-stories-dont-always-make-good-fiction/. On the limits of turning to reality for inspiration when writing a compelling novel.
See “Little Ammunition Plant on the Prairie” at https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/joliet-army-ammunition-plant. Maybe a story idea.
See “How to Make Pizza Like a Neopolitan Master” at http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20200415-how-to-make-pizza-like-a-neapolitan-master. The recipe is at the end.
Fiction words yesterday…………………… 3633
Nonfiction words today…………… 860 (Journal)
Writing of The Good of the Galaxy 2 (novel)
Day 1…… 6138 words. Total words to date…… 6138
Day 2…… 4514 words. Total words to date…… 10652
Day 3…… 3633 words. Total words to date…… 14285
Total fiction words for the month……… 51055
Total fiction words for the year………… 259037
Total nonfiction words for the month… 18520
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99670
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 358707
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 49
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31