The Journal: Writing Boards and Other Silliness

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Topic: Writing Boards and Other Silliness
* From the Wow, That Didn’t Take Long Department
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“Does anyone else feel imposter syndrome because they’ve had happy and stable childhoods and relationships?” Anonymous writer on a reddit writing board.

For the record, I’ve never met any professional fiction writer, many more advanced than I, who does not succumb regularly to a sense of “impostor syndrome.” That’s just one more silliness the critical mind throws at us to keep us from writing. (It does that to protect us. If we don’t write, our writing can’t be criticized.)

The difference is, pro writers realize what’s going on, laugh it off, and write the next story. It’s what writers do. We don’t get wrapped around the wheel of thinking. We tell stories. We sit alone at a keyboard and make stuff up.

Topic: Writing Boards and Other Silliness

I got “this” close to getting sucked deep into a writer’s board this morning. I avoid them because I don’t enjoy pointless argument.

But I have talkwalker alerts set to email me anytime my name is mentioned online.

A young writer (the one who left the comment that became the quote above) complained that “my writing feels really shallow.” She said her critique group TOLD her that her writing is shallow. They didn’t offer an explanation, of course. They couldn’t because they haven’t learned for themselves what constitutes shallow writing.

For them, still steeped in the myths, “shallow writing” is just another cliché to be batted back and forth as if they have a clue what they’re talking about. It’s one of those things they can’t explain but they “know it when they see it.”

Ridiculous. But the young writer believed them and bought into the problem.

Some kind soul recommended she read a couple of Dean’s books and my own Quiet The Critical Voice (And Write Fiction).

I’m grateful for the mention, but I’d much rather the respondent would have referred her to me directly, or at least to the Journal.

One of my great frustrations as a writer who is willing to pay his success forward is that so many have questions and so few ask them, at least of me or other more advanced writers.

Instead, they turn to writing boards, peer critique groups, and others who are on their same level of storytelling skill. Which has never made sense to me. Why attempt to advance your craft by “learning” from peers who are making the same general mistakes you’re making?

And why ask someone for advice when all they can do is spout “truisms” they’ve heard but are unable to offer positive suggestions? The whole thing reminds me of the “writing instructor” who said in a class several years ago that we should “show, don’t tell.”

When questioned, he said he couldn’t really explain it or provide examples, but that he knew it when he saw it.

Right. That was an invaluable lesson for me. I got up, left the class and never looked back.

But that’s a (fruitless) battle for another time. For this time, I joined the reddit community specifically so I could reach out to this one writer.

I left this comment:

“Good to meet you, [UserID]. Someone referred you to my book, Quiet The Critical Voice (And Write Fiction). But honestly, that might or might not help. If you have problems with depth in your writing, feel free to email me at and/or subscribe to my free Daily Journal at where I pay forward what I’ve learned over three decades in writing and publishing. I have written over 50 novels and novellas and almost 200 short stories. I’d be happy to help in any way I can.”

Later I went back and left the comment I added below the Quote of the Day above.

I’ll let you know if that writer emails me. But don’t hold your breath in anticipation. I certainly won’t. Chances are good I’ll never hear from her. And that’s fine. We all have our own road to walk.

It saddens me a little to know how huge a crowd is walking along with that young writer and how very few get past the myths and are walking along with me.

Anyway, that, I suspect, will be the extent of my involvement with any writing boards. Too depressing.

(Note: This topic will appear on PWW in slightly different form on Saturday, December 7. Which I feel is appropriate since December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day and my topic is so obviously a bomb. See below.)

From the Wow, That Didn’t Take Long Department…

I receivedd two responses to my foolish waste of time on the reddit board:

1. from the reddit moderators asking me to please not promote myself on the board (I suppose my mention of the Journal and providing my email address to the individual involved constituted self-promotion), and

2. from the writer herself, who explained her post wasn’t real, that she was only “trolling” the board to show how silly it is. I found that a little ironic.

Despite the time I already wasted there, I replied one more time, telling her cryptically if she needed anything as a writer to type my name into her search engine (I didn’t mention the name itself again). That will have to do.

Then I deleted my account so I won’t be tempted to waste my time again.

Today I’ll waste the day doing pretty much nothing other than finishing a Jack Higgins novel, maybe learning a bit, and maybe researching a few licensing options.

Sometime this week I’ll write another short story or two, or maybe the opening chapters of a novel. At the moment (4 a.m.) I have no clue. But it will be a good day.

I’ll talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “On Following Advice” at

See “Why Disabled Romance Is Important” at

See “The Secret Society of Women Writers in Oxford in the 1920s” at

See “TheBalanceCareers” website at Browse the manu in the left margin for topics that might interest you.

The Numbers

Fiction words today…………………… 0
Nonfiction words today…………… 1030 (Journal)

Total fiction words for the month……… 6481
Total fiction words for the year………… 391574
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13310
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 294390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 685964

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 197
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31