Thoughts on Writing in Public

In today’s Journal

* The Bradbury Challenge Writers Reporting
* Writers Ask
* Thoughts on Writing in Public
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

The Bradbury Challenge Writers Reporting

During the past week, in addition to whatever other fiction they’re writing, the following writers reported their progress:

  • George Kordonis “Lost Time” 3209 Urban Fantasy
  • Adam Kozak “Catch and Release” 2087 Humor

Congrats to them both. 🙂

Writers Ask

I write the Journal originally in a Notepad (text) document, then post it to the actual Journal website, mostly for its formatting capabilities.

After I format it, I post it to The New Daily Journal at Substack, which is what you receive each day in your email inbox. It’s exactly the same as the post on the website. So you’re missing nothing in that regard.

For ​v​arious reason​s, a few Journal readers have expressed an interest in reading the post on the actual website (see the link above) instead of in their email.

But anyone can access that website, so I’ve “hidden” the all but the free TNDJ posts (like this one) on the site by marking them “Password Protected.” Letting others read them free would not be fair to those of you who find enough value in the Journal to pay for a subscription.

But if a paid subscriber wants access to those private posts—exactly the same posts they receive in their email inbox—I can give them the password. Just email me to let me know you need the password.

The TNDJ substack delivers only the posts, though. At the website link above, you’ll also find archives all the way back to 2014 as well as free gifts, a link to my books on writing, my critique and copyediting service, my bio and more, and everyone can access those.

I hope this clarifies everything.

Thoughts on Writing in Public

Most of you know the story. Fictionist Harlan Ellison (apparently more than once) sat at a desk in a department store display window and wrote short stories to requests from viewers on the sidewalk.

He wanted to prove writing into the dark worked, and just how easy and fun it was to write if you only follow the characters around and write down what happened and what the characters said and did in response.

Ellison would receive prompts from his audience via an assistant. When he got one that appealed to him, he would roll a sheet of paper into his typewriter and write.

As each page came off the platen, the assistant would tape it to the window, face-out, so those on the sidewalk could read it. Thus he was “writing in public,” fearlessly and without concern.

The image of him sitting in that department store window has long stuck with me. As a result, and as some of you will remember, I once set up a Stanbrough Writing in Public substack.

My intention at the time was to write a novel “in public,” posting a new chapter “live” each day. Actually, I’ve intended for a few weeks to delete that substack, but for some reason I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on that. Some little inner voice always stops me.

Writing in public is an excellent exercise in testing yourself for the presence of the writing myths. For that reason if for no other, I encourage you to try it.

You could do so on your own substack (it’s free) by visiting Substack and setting up an account.

You can also do so through Amazon’s Kindle Vella, though Amazon requires exclusivity for 90 days at a time. I don’t recommend exclusivity, but if you don’t mind cutting-out readers who prefer Apple or Kobo or whatever, to each his or her own.

But back to testing yourself. The question is, no matter which way you go, when it gets right down to it, can you sit and Just Write, then post what you’ve written (warts and all) for others to read?

If not, why not?

If you’re honest with yourself, the answer is always Fear:

  • Fear nobody will like what you just posted (some will and some won’t), or
  • Fear there might be a typo in your work (there almost certainly will, but so what?), or
  • Fear you’ll be laughed at (again, so what?), or
  • Fear that the story won’t be “good,” etc.

To write in public, you must be confident in yourself and simply Not Care what others think. Don’t pre-judge your abilities. Trust the readers to like what they like and not like what they don’t like, and go on about your business: writing.

All of that said, I could easily write short stories in public. But not on a typewriter in a department store window, not without a LOT of Wite-Out. (grin) As I said recently, I tend to “revise” on the fly.

And it gets worse.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, in my current novel I initially moved Chapters 14 and 15 to be the new Chapters 9 and 10. Yesterday, I moved several other chapters around. And of course, I changed a sentence here and there to wedge them into place.

As I wrote in this Journal yesterday, sequence matters. If I’d published this particular novel one chapter at a time (each chapter in this one is close to a thousand words or less) I suspect readers would be confused at the sequence.

Of course, maybe they wouldn’t have been.

That said, I believe the novel’s finally smoothed out. Though with the advent of the work I’m doing on this TNDJ it’s moving right now only in starts and jerks. (grin)

I even thought again about posting the current novel in public, one chapter at a time, free for anyone to read.

But it still wouldn’t be actually written in public, would it? My own fear precludes that. Fear that my characters might jump around, telling the story out of sequence.

Still, I’ve left that substack open, at least for now. I assume there must be a reason. Maybe the next novel. Or maybe I’ll start writing short stories again. Who knows? And it really doesn’t matter to me.

As long as I can keep running through stories with my characters and recording those stories on their behalf, what do I care?

Because that, my friends, is the whole point.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

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The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 1060

Writing of When the Owl Calls (novel)

Day 1…… 1884 words. To date…… 1884
Day 2…… 3699 words. To date…… 5583
Day 3…… 2086 words. To date…… 7669
Day 4…… 3167 words. To date…… 10836
Day 5…… 4011 words. To date…… 14847
Day 6…… 1724 words. To date…… 16571
Day 7…… 1633 words. To date…… 18204
Day 8…… 1378 words. To date…… 19582
Day 9…… 2332 words. To date…… 21914
Day 10…. 2038 words. To date…… 23952

Fiction for June…………………….….… 4370
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 344967
Fiction since October 1………………… 648024
Nonfiction for June……………………… 2800
Nonfiction for 2024…………………… 186430
2024 consumable words……………… 531397

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 8
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)……………… 90
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……… 239
Short story collections…………………… 29

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing are lies, and they will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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