The Journal, Tuesday, August 14

Hey Folks,

The following is about professional (or aspiring professional) writers, which I’m beginning to believe are born, not made. They are driven. Their overall number-one priority, the one thing to which they always return, is writing.

Now, some write part-time because that’s what they enjoy doing. Some write a memoir to leave for their family. Some simply enjoy attending writer conferences or writers group meetings and immersing themselves in the life for awhile. Maybe they enjoy talking about writing. Maybe they enjoy rubbing shoulders with writers and agents and publishers. And all of that’s fine. Nothing wrong with it. But those aren’t the folks I’m talking about here.

Topic: Writers Write

Professional and aspiring professional writers write. They too might write a memoir and attend conferences and writers group meetings. But for them, What they write always takes a second seat to That they write.

A blog post popped into my inbox this morning from a young writer to whose posts I first subscribed a couple of years ago. I wasn’t learning anything from the guy, but he was somewhat prolific (around 280,000 words of fiction in the first five months of 2017) and watching him speed along in his writing was fun.

For a long time, he was posting regularly — once a week, as I recall — and always with a motivating update about his writing, book covers, etc. That was up through early October, 2017. His post then was about “getting back on the horse” (resuming his writing).

Then he dropped off the face of the earth.

He surfaced again on January 2, 2018 and laid out his goals for the new year. He would finish three books that were over halfway written and write at least six more books by the end of the year.

I emailed him privately, told him I was glad to see him back. I cheered him on. He wrote back, assured me he’d been through a dry spell, but he was back.

And he disappeared again, not to resurface until today.

In today’s post, he offered some excuses for his absence. It was nothing earth-shaking, no emotional or physical life rolls. It was things like getting back together with a band, practicing, etc. In other words, his priorities shifted.

He thanked us subscribers for staying with him, then announced vague new “hopes” (not “goals”) and a forthcoming Patreon page to which he hoped we would contribute.

Uh, no.

On the whole, frankly, the post left a bad taste in my mouth.

For one thing I no longer support Patreon. They regularly bite the hand that feeds them. That’s the main reason I opted to set up my own Rewards for Patrons page over on the big site. And as an alternate, a PayPal donation button.

But more than not wanting to support Patreon, I was overcome with a sense that I just can’t count on the guy. In my mind, he’d already gone from being a Writer to being a Whatever Happened To [Name] guy.

For a long moment after I read the post, I let my cursor hover over the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. But I didn’t click it. I decided to wait, see what happens.

Because on a smaller scale, I’ve been there myself. I’ve gone long periods without writing fiction, albeit for me (for a writer), a week or two feels like a “long period.” But even then I was writing the Pro Writers blog and this Journal.

Those of you who have been with me from the beginning will remember that for a time (three or four months?), I even stopped writing this Journal. But during that time I continued to write. There was still the Pro Writers blog over on the other site and there was still my fiction.

This “work ethic” (too haughty a term for something so enjoyable) is not something that’s exclusive to me. It’s a simple fact: No matter what they’re writing, writers write. There are no excuses.

All of this makes me understand why Dean includes his nonfiction writing (his blog and even his email responses) in his writing totals.

And I realize it’s why I include my Journal and blog posts in my own overall writing totals. (I don’t include email responses or the imbedded comments I make on copyedits. For me, that would be too much approximation and too time consuming.)

But all of this — all the “rules” of writing, all the talk — boils down to one fact: writers write.

And for me it’s a kind of return epiphany, a reminder. But the epiphany is that I and other professional writers don’t really need the reminder. It’s one that we have never needed.

Because we’re writers. Like Joe is a mechanic or Bruce is a pool-builder or Jay is a drummer.

Fiction writers write fiction. Bloggers write blog posts. Writers write.

Finally to the Hovel around 9:30.

A particularly good day today since I started late and stopped early. I have a copyedit to begin. (grin)

Of Interest

I’ve often talked in this Journal about using all the physical senses, not only sight, when you write. For an excellent article, see “What Specific Smells Remind You of Home?” at

See “Being There: How It Really Feels To Be Tased…and Amazed” at

Here you go. A ready-made story idea. See “Found: A WWII-Era Fighter Aircraft Under Ice” at

Via The Passive Voice, and for the sheer joy of it, see “Notes Nearing Ninety: Learning to Write Less” at

See you again soon.

Fiction Words: 3618
Nonfiction Words: 910 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4528

Writing of Nick Spalding 2 (novel, tentative title)

Day 10… 3477 words. Total words to date…… 30128
Day 11… 1911 words. Total words to date…… 32039
Day 12… 3251 words. Total words to date…… 35290
Day 13… 1327 words. Total words to date…… 36436
Day 14… 4420 words. Total words to date…… 40856
Day 15… 3618 words. Total words to date…… 44474

Total fiction words for the month……… 33520
Total fiction words for the year………… 281817
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9860
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 108146
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 389713

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 5
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 11
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 31
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 6
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………………… 193