Write When You Are Able

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Thought of the Day
* A Few More Notes on Writing Fiction
* Write When You Are Able
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” William Pollard

Thought of the Day

According to Frank Theodat, a writer and Journal reader, In the Heart of the Fire (a Dean Koontz novella) is worth reading and then studying for hooks, openings and pulling the reader into the story.

Per the Amazon description, “In the Heart of the Fire” is part of Nameless, a riveting collection of short stories about a vigilante nomad….”

A Few More Notes on Writing Fiction

Price(s) of the Book

Yesterday a reader offered to purchse (pre-publication) two copies of the “official” printed, binder-ready edition of Writing Fiction. It will be delivered in a plastic snap-closure envelope.

  • For readers of the Journal, the pre-publication price is only $18 per copy. The regular price for the printed, binder-ready edition is $22 per copy (includes shipping).
  • The printed, binder-ready edition will always be available only from me. It will not be available at Amazon et al.
  • The pre-publication price of the EBOOK in your choice of .mobi, .epub, or printable PDF is only $9. (If you order the ebook, I will also send you the current iteration of Writing Fiction in PDF right now. Then I’ll send the “official” edition when it’s published.)
  • Be sure to email me to let me know which version you want so I can add you to the appropriate list (so I won’t forget).


  • The best way to pay is via PayPal. If you have a PayPal account, you can “Send Money” to harveystanbrough@gmail.com. (Or you can click the Donate Here link toward the end of any Journal post.)
  • You can also pay with a credit or debit card via PayPal even if you don’t have a PayPal account. Again, the easiest way is through the Donate Here link.
  • Finally, you can also send a check to PO Box 604, Saint David AZ 85630.

Oh, and yes, you may share the ebook version with your loved one or special friend.

I hope this clarifies things.

Write When You Are Able

I am fortunate. Life sometimes gets in the way, but otherwise I can write pretty much anytime I want to.

But I’m aware that many people are not able to write whenever they like. I used to be one of them.

If you work a day job (or two) and/or if you have young children at home and so on, your time is limited. Even your ability to prioritize your time is limited I get that.

One of my very few regrets is that I didn’t learn all the stuff I’m passing along through the Journal and now in Writing Fiction when I was younger, in my 20s or 30s or 40s or 50s. As it is, I didn’t learn it until I was 62.

Life is a series of trade-offs. I have all the time I want to write. I spend anywhere from 10 to 16 hours per day in the Hovel either writing one thing or another or doing other writing-related things.

One of my long-term goals is to write at least 101 novels before I face-plant on my laptop. With any luck, I’ll blow past that goal this year.

On the other hand, I’m old. I wasn’t there when dirt was invented, but I did catch a glimpse of the recipe.

When I first joined the Marine Corps we had a six-day work week, and when I returned from Sunday liberty on Sunday evening, as part of my preparation for inspection I had to wipe the dinosaur shtuff off my battleaxe. Just sayin’.

So if you’ve stumbled on Heinlein’s Rules and Writing Into the Dark at any age—even while you’re young and have limited time to write—I hope you’re taking advantage of it.

Even if you can squeeze out only a half-hour per day to write, that’s about 500 words per day (so 15,000 words per month). And that’s a lot more words than you would have written if you hadn’t taken that time to sit down.

And keep a spreadsheet. You will be flatly amazed at how quickly your numbers build up.

Finally, remember, the only person you’re competing with is yourself.

So you don’t have to write full time to be a fiction writer. Write when you are able. It’s all practice. Just think of how much more practice I could have gotten if I’d started writing fiction ten or twenty or thirty years ago.

Think how much farther along either you or I would be if we’d started the next story or novel yesterday.

For those of you who are my age or older, it’s never too late either, until it suddenly is.

Either way, no matter your age, you might know a great deal more now, after my previous series of posts, than you knew before those posts. And you’re a writer. So write.

Tomorrow, “How to Continue Learning Craft.”

A much-expanded version of tomorrow’s post is now a new appendix in Writing Fiction.

I also added an expanded version of the bit on Pacing from tomorrow’s post to the end of Chapter 7: Writing Setting. More on that tomorrow too.

Talk with you again then.

Of Interest

Again, nothing.

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 900
Additions to the nonfiction book 4000 (over the last two days)

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. To date…… XXXXX

Fiction for February……………………. 40199
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 157803
Fiction since October 1………………… 460858
Nonfiction for February………………… 65900
Nonfiction for 2024……………………… 97860
2024 consumable words………………… 255663

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 4
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 86
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 239
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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3 thoughts on “Write When You Are Able”

  1. Harvey, at 27 (soon to be 28), I know how you feel haha. I know there’s a vast gap between us in age, but I wish I had come to Heinlein’s rules in my early 20s instead of believing in the old myths and letting fear hold me back.
    But, as my mother loves to say (and she’s right), better late than never. I’m happy to have found Writing Into The Dark when I did and Heinlein’s rule. Now I can spend the rest of my (hopefully long) life in writing stories I love and enjoy telling, unhindered by the nonsense which plagues much of the writing community.
    Jack Kerouac, who is one of my writing heroes, is a big inspiration in that regard. His ‘spontaneous prose’ style with no revision (I know he revised to editorial demand, but he never liked too and later refused) has been inspirational to me and while I make no claim to be as good as Kerouac, I hope I can match his love of the Craft. I love to write, and finding WITD and Heinlein only made that love stronger.

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