The Journal, Wednesday, January 3

Hey Folks,

I’m constantly amazed at the variations among writer experiences.

In that regard, there are several informative comments on Dean’s post from yesterday. You can see those at I was gratified to see that a couple of commenters on Dean’s post took away some of the same things I got out of it. Amazing. We aren’t quite as insulated and alone as we sometimes believe we are.

I also get an occasional blog post from a young writer named J.R. Murdock. You can see his latest at

Like some of the folks who commented on Dean’s post, J.R. experienced a major life event, the near loss of his job. J.M. Ney-Grimm, an experienced professional fantasy writer who commented on Dean’s post, lost her mother in October. Those are massive life rolls.

In the case of J.R., I exceeded his word count goal although I fell far short of my own annual goal. (I wrote 75% of the 12 novels I planned to write in 2017, but only 60% of my extended goal (15 novels). Yet I wrote only 41% of the overall annual word-count goal I hoped to reach.

Yet J.R. reached almost 74% of his own annual word count goal.

What does all of this mean? Only that goals, discipline, and life rolls are very personal things. I’ve always believed in comparing myself to others as a way of stretching myself. Dean has been the dangling carrot to my mule for years.

But the only truly valid comparison (the excused absence granted by life rolls aside) is comparing your own production with your own realistically set goals.

J.R. set a much lower goal than mine last year, and he missed it, though in my book at 74% he did pretty well. Especially considering that he has a stressful full-time job, still has children at home, and lives in Southern California, which perhaps holds the crown for the most attractive-nuisance distractions per capita. I applaud the guy, and I’m pulling for him.

I’m always surprised a little, in a good way, at the energy pouring out of the new starts we make at major junctions, like the recent beginning of the new year.

You saw that same thing recently from me (, despite my cynicism regarding the way humans think about Time. I’d like to hear about your writing goals too, if you have time to add a comment below.


Despite rolling out at 3 a.m., I didn’t get started on the novel today until 9 a.m. That’s fine, in keeping with my new, more-relaxed attitude toward writing.

My daily word count goal drives me to the computer, but once I’m there I trust that I’ll get the words I need. So driven and relaxed. The best of both worlds.

In the first two sessions (still cycling) I added just over 1200 words in the Hovel. Up to the house for early lunch and to spend a little time with the baby (my cat).

I went back to play. I didn’t really think I’d hit the word count goal today, but I actually exceeded it. Man that feels good!

Back soon.

Of Interest

See John Gilstrap’s “Note to Copy Editor” at

Some of the other posts at The Kill Zone blog might be of interest and/or useful to you as well:

See Dean’s “I’m Back Writing As Well” at

See “The Kindle for Nonfiction Already…” at Excellent, insightful article.

Kevin Tumlinson, who is a major mover at Draft2Digital, is also a good thriller writer and a podcaster, among many other talents. Check out his site at He also personally answers his own email.

Fiction Words: 3189
Nonfiction Words: 620 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3809

Writing of The Origin Novel (working title)

BF…………… 32658 words.
Day 1…… 2689 words. Total words to date…… 35347
Day 2…… 2636 words. Total words to date…… 37983
Day 3…… 3189 words. Total words to date…… 41172

Total fiction words for the month……… 8514
Total fiction words for the year………… 8514
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1910
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 10424

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 0
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Wednesday, January 3”

  1. I’m afraid I have a tendency to set unrealistic goals, despite your constant advice to make goals realistic. I rarely reach my daily word count goal, but more often, will reach a longer term, less definitive goal (such as “by tomorrow afternoon, I will complete this chapter plus one more”)
    Then I wonder if setting one goal (long term) offsets others (daily word count).
    Most of the time, my major goal is to finish the day with progress on my current project; that is, don’t let this day get away without writing “keeper” pages.
    I kick myself on those rare occasions when the only thing I’ve written during the day is a blog post.

    • Hey, if it’s working for you, why rock the boat? I set my daily word count goal low intentionally. I know I can write 4000 words in a good day, and stretch to 5000 or more on a great day. But I set the daily goal at 2500 words, then added the kicker: “on average”. That gives me the room to miss now and then, but it also drives me to want to go over whenever I can.

      In the back of my mind, my “real” daily goal (again, on average) is 2740 new words. Why? Because that will propel me to the 1,000,000 word mark for the year.

      But the 2740 seemed a touch unrealistic, mostly because it’s tied to the annual goal. So I set a number I know I can reach on a normal day, an easy goal. This helps be build momentum because I hit it regularly. It also helps me relax because I don’t have to worry about reaching for something that might elude me (like 4,000 words per day). Plus on days when I do miss, I haven’t lost much. (grin)

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