The Journal: Why Helping Writers is Important

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Yesterday (and the Day Before)
* Topic: Why Helping Writers is Important (and So Frustrating)
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day (Still bingeing on Bradbury)

“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.” Ray Bradbury

“The first thing a writer should be is — excited.” Ray Bradbury

On the day before yesterday, I was so zoned out I didn’t even notice it was the last day of the month, so not only did I not write that day, I didn’t prep my spreadsheet for May either. So I started yesterday, after I posted the Journal, by doing that.

Then I wrote. I didn’t “make up” for my day off, but I did have a pretty good day (see Day 10 below).

I wish all of my novels wrote as fast as this one’s writing. On the other hand, even with the fairly big numbers, I do a lot of back and forth from the genesis novel to this one to make sure things coincide and so on.

For just one example, while writing this novel I came up with an alien name for a particular device they use, so I went back and inserted it into the genesis novel too. And that’s happened at least a few times each day. So you can see, the novel’s actually writing even faster than it seems. (grin)

Topic: Why Helping Writers is Important (and So Frustrating)

Paying it forward, helping other writers, is important to me. But man is it frustrating. Frankly, I don’t know how Dean’s done it all these years.

In the past six years, I’ve told hundreds of writers the “secret” to becoming a successful professional writer. I think I got through to maybe 10.

This morning I received an email from a person I met back in the early 2000s, probably at the wonderful old Society of Southwestern Authors (SSA) annual conference. The conference was quite a big deal back then, drawing several hundred people each year. I was a regular presenter.

She wrote, “I’ve finished my second book. It’s an adventure book set in Medieval times. I’ve been sitting on it for a month or so because I don’t know what to do with it. I really don’t want to go down the unknown author road again.

“The book is around 43,000 words which seems like a good length for a first time author. The people who proofed it, love it. One of them said it sniffed of Game of Thrones. I don’t know about that because I didn’t watch the series.

“I’m just lost about what to do about the book. It was published in 2007 by Publish America, which I know isn’t around any longer. I have full rights for my book. There’s less than 100 copies published.

“I’ve rewritten the book and it’s much better than the one for Publish America. I also have 2 more books I want write for the series. I guess I was just hoping that reconnecting with you would help me along with this manuscript or maybe give me some ideas.”

Can you spot some of the myths at work?

This writer attended her writing group meetings regularly for years. She heard and practiced all of the conventional wisdom (myths) that beginning writers like to toss back and forth about writing — fifteen to twenty years ago.

In my response to her, I recommended she publish her book through D2D and Amazon, and then forget it and write the next book.

I told her about writing into the dark and about Heinlein’s Rules, the two concepts that changed my life forever just over 6 years ago.

And finally, I sent her four of my books:

* Quiet the Critical Voice (and Write Fiction)

* Writing the Character Driven Story

* The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life, and

* The Essentials of Digital Publishing

I also explained, briefly, how each could help her if only she’ll get out of her own way.

I hope she’ll listen. Sadly, statistics and long experience combined with the glut of horrible, clichéd writing advice out there tell me she probably won’t. And I guess that’s all right.

But it’s unfortunate. And knowing first-hand what wonderful freedom awaits writers who will dare to trust themselves is just frustrating.

Today, despite what anyone else is doing, I’ll write. I hope the same for you.

Today also, I included a couple of links in “Of Interest” to writing from the unconscious or subconscious, the wellspring of creativity. If you add cycling (a periodic revision, also from the creative subconscious) to what they’re talking about, you can write your novel in one clean draft. If you want to.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See the comments on “True Crime Thursday – Invasion of the Body” at Some good, thought-provoking stuff there.

See “Don’t Forget the Mask” at

See “Microsoft Word now flags double spaces as errors” at

See “Ghost Town Quarantine” at Story ideas abound.

See “Obscura Academy: The Bronze Age World” at Be sure to scroll down. Tons of story ideas.

See “Writing at the Speed of the Unconscious” at

See “The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations” at

See “Why Should You Be an Unconscious Writer?” at

See “Authors Guild Files a Friend of the Court Brief” at

See “Letters Out For Historical Workshop and News” at

The Numbers

Fiction words yesterday…………………… 4682
Nonfiction words today…………… 930 (Journal)

Writing of The Good of the Galaxy 2 (novel)

Day 9…… 3258 words. Total words to date…… 34842
Day 10… 4682 words. Total words to date…… 39524

Total fiction words for the month……… 4682
Total fiction words for the year………… 284276
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1330
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 104440
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 388716

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