Two Glitches, an Epiphany, and NaNoWriMo

In today’s Journal

* Two Glitches
* Welcome
* A New Epiphany
* NaNoWriMo Is Coming! Duck!
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Two Glitches

1. I learned that at least one subscriber did not recieve Chapters 1 – 10 of Nick Soldata. (it’s titled only Blackwell Ops: 12 Nick Soldata.) If you didn’t receive it, you can view it at

If you didn’t received 11 – 20, you can view that at

2. Also, subscribers will receive 21 – 26 TODAY at around 10 a.m. AZ time, 27 – 30 TODAY around 1 p.m., then whatever I write today at 4 p.m. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait until all of this one has gone out to start writing my next novel. And I don’t want to wait. I want to keep my streak going. (grin)

Sorry for the inundation, but if I nip it in the bud this time, beginning tomorrow chapters will go out on the day I write them.


Welcome to Carol P and any other new subscribers or readers of the Journal. I hope you will find it useful.

Be sure to check out the Archives and other free downloads at the Journal website. And I don’t do the ambush thing requiring an email address. Just click the links and a PDF will download in a new page.

If you wanna see my tired old mug, here’s a video where Vin Zandri and I are chatting about writing and a bunch of other stuff.

A New Epiphany

Yesterday, I wrote and then posted all-new material for the novel (four chapters, 27 – 30) an epiphany came over me: I was actually more eager to write than I’d been before. I honestly didn’t think that was possible. But it makes perfect sense.

Writing into the dark, having zero idea where the story’s going or what will happen next, is exhilirating.

And doing so in public, letting the world see that writing as it comes directly from the characters through my fingertips and out onto the page on my word processor, is even more exhilirating.

So by the simple act of trusting myself and my characters, writing into the dark and then posting it to substack as I go, might actually make me even more productive and more prolific than I’ve ever been before. Go figure. Vin Zandri has said he uses Vella to keep himself writing. I guess my new Writing in Public substack does that for me.

Many folks won’t even try writing into the dark because they experience fear. The fear takes many forms, but most of the time it boils down to What if what I write is no good? (a value judgment) or What if the readers don’t like it? (another value judgment).

I experienced that too in the beginning. But I took a deep breath and realized a story or novel is only a few minutes’ or hours’ entertainment for the reader, nothing more “important” than that.

That’s why today I try to teach other writers that what’s important is THAT you write, not WHAT you write.

And I took the plunge into writing into the dark. Though I admit I did so only to prove to myself that it couldn’t possibly work for me.

Now, 76 novels, 9 novellas and over 230 short stories later, I realize that was an unreasoning fear. After all, if I “failed,” absolutely nothing bad would happen.

Nobody would come to my house to visit harm on me, and in a more literary sense, readers never remember what they read that they don’t like. They only remember (and look for more) of what they DO like. So it made sense to keep writing, keep learning, and keep turning out work that was better, bit by bit.

If you’re still frozen solid with fear at the idea of writing a story or a novel without knowing where it’s going, I urge you to take the plunge as I did only 9 years ago.

Yes, I wrote all that in only 9 years, and really in only 7 years because I took a couple of those years off.

I’m telling you, folks, letting go of all those “rules” people pound you with and Just Writing is a lot more fun than outlining, revising, seeking advice from critique groups, rewriting ad nauseam.

If you give it an honest and even skeptical try, you’ll soon find out writing into the dark is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. And you’ll thank your lucky stars you happened across it.

I promise.

I’m also very much looking forward to my next novel. No idea what it will be, but I will spell-check it and post it as I write it each day. Exhiliration cubed. It’s gonna be a ton of fun.

NaNoWriMo Is Coming! Duck!

Another writer reminded me that NaNoWriMo is on the horizon. I have to say, I’m not a fan.

Mostly because the folks who run NaNoWriMo tell participants they should “write sloppy” and “just get the words on the page.” Then they can “fix it” later. Strictly along the stiff, unbendable lines of the myths.

And I’m tellin’ you, that advice is a crock’a crap.

If you had to fill a large hole with gravel, would you load a wheelbarrow with your shovel, transport it only part way toward the hole, then dump it? Then come back “later” to load it again and carry it the rest of the way?

Of course not. That seems like a lot of extra and unnecessary work to me. I’m way too lazy to touch work twice when I don’t have to.

Write your story or novel as cleanly as you can the first time through. You can write 50,000 words in a month by devoting an hour and a half to two hours per day to the process.

You only have to write 1667 words per day to reach 50,000 words in a month. It ain’t that hard, especially if you just write whatever comes. But if you only have a half-hour or an hour per day to write, use it to write. You’ll be amazed how quickly the numbers add up.

If you participate in NaNo — or even if you don’t — trust yourself and your characters, write whatever comes, and just have fun with it. But write it as cleanly as you can the first time through. Then publish or submit it and move on to the next story or novel.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

How to Exclaim!

What the Well-Dressed Spy May Soon Be Wearing

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

A Treatise on the State of Middle Grade and Young Adult Publishing Today If you’re a middle-grade or YA writer you might check this out.

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 1100

Writing of Blackwell Ops 12: Nick Soldata (novel)

Day 1…… 3683 words. To date…… 3683
Day 2…… 3186 words. To date…… 6869
Day 3…… 3315 words. To date…… 10184
Day 4…… 3260 words. To date…… 13444
Day 5…… 3175 words. To date…… 16619
Day 6…… 3649 words. To date…… 20268
Day 7…… 3061 words. To date…… 23329
Day 8…… 3705 words. To date…… 27034
Day 9…… 3237 words. To date…… 30271
Day 10…. 3566 words. To date…… 33837
Day 11…. 3033 words. To date…… 36870
Day 12…. 4327 words. To date…… 41197

Fiction for October…………………… 73237
Fiction for 2023………………………… 290779
Fiction since August 1………………… 176232
Nonfiction for October……………… 22360
Nonfiction for the year……………… 220700
Annual consumable words………… 511419

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 5
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 6
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 76
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 234
Short story collections…………………… 31

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 will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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4 thoughts on “Two Glitches, an Epiphany, and NaNoWriMo”

  1. Hi there,
    it is interesting how some guru teaches that only the ‘traditional way’ is acceptable in writing. (Outline, rewriting etc…) And you, as a writer, must take it as a hard job, as a difficult profession, as a work, because you own that to the readers. Interesting, that those who writes (a lot), don’t have time to teach something like that. Those who doesn’t write or those who are at the beginning in their writing, they teaches those things. However, everyone needs to start somewhere.

    I like what you say: that what you write is only a few hours of entertainment. Don’t need to take it so seriously. That the important thing is you write, not the words you have written. (I am at a point where the importance issue hit me. Need to silence that voice.)

    I like nanowrimo and the community around it. At least in my region, they are more likely accept my way of writing. For the more, one of my writing friend from the nano showed me the blog of Dean Wesley Smith. And from there I came here. By the way yes, there are certain “rules” makes writing difficult at the very least. But you don’t have to follow every made-up rules.

    • No, Balázs, you certainly don’t have to follow any of the traditional “rules.” And the more of them you give up, the freer you are to simply write stories and have fun.

    • As I remember, I’ve discovered the blog of DWS about 5 years ago, when I was just starting with long fiction.
      I was writing a mystery novel “Singapore Gambit” (that still have some sales without any ads) and just wanted to complete it as fast as possible. So I googled “how to write faster” (or so) and suddenly found his blog.
      His view on art was so different that it took about 2 months to complete it and about half of year to dig into all terms and stuff.
      Since that I started to research is there any other methods. I’ve listened to retired script writers and academic psychologists, tried to research market and listened to Brandon Sanderson’s lectures, reread “On Writing” by King and same by Koonts, got an award and still isn’t popular enough to earn more then coffee money.

      But only DWS ideas worked for me. Like in an old poem by Kasugi Isshō:

      My eyes, which had seen all, come back,
      Back to the white chrysanthemums.

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