A Personal Challenge and an Invitation

Hi Folks,

I set myself a personal challenge. For the month of June, I want to write a new short story every day. That’s tough enough.

But in addition to that, I want to write those stories truly “in public.” I want the public to be able to watch virtually as the stories grow, scene to scene.

To that end, in the original challenge, I was going to paste each scene to a Facebook page I set up just for that purpose.

Only a couple days ago, my conscious mind wheedled its way in and I lost control. I decided maybe it would be better to post the whole story (albeit still once a day) to the Facebook page.

I reasoned that (1) apparently there weren’t many folks all that interested and (2) those who were interested would still see the end product each day, follow my progress on the challenge, etc.

But then Robert J. Sadler, a dear friend in Texas, pointed out to me in an email that, frankly, I was chickening out. (grin)

And he was right. (Friends respect each other enough to tell each other the truth. In my world, that’s the main qualifier to earn the title.)

In part of his note to me, he wrote

“…I can understand if the prospect of no story-starved pedestrians standing outside the window seems a reasonable reason for not implementing your challenge.

“That said, you made a point that this was your challenge and not issued to anyone other than yourself. So with that perspective in mind, whether the tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, the tree still falls. …

“So … if you wanna write-in-public, as you suggest, then knock yourself out… even if there is no public to witness it.”

Or as Yoda put it, “There is no try. Do or do not.”

And the epiphany?

Writing scenes has always been easy for me. Scenes pop into my head all the time, complete with characters, setting, dialogue and so on. So I can write scenes all day.

But with my conscious mind creeping in, I allowed myself to “hope” the scenes would connect well and the characters would lead me through to the end.

And that’s what I was doing wrong without realizing it. That whole “hope” thing.

Once I replaced “hope” with “trust” (thanks to my friend’s email), everything else fell into place.

So the challenge is back on, in its original form. Beginning on June 1, I will write one short story per day for the month. Each time I finish a scene, I’ll paste it “live” to Facebook so whoever wants to can see it.

But my friend was right. It’s my challenge. I’m not challenging others to do something similar, though if they do, it’s all right by me. I’m not even challenging others to watch.

I’m only challenging myself to give others something to watch.

If they watch and enjoy, wonderful. If they don’t, it will still be one hell of an experience. (grin)

By the way, if you want to follow along on this madness, visit https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/. There’s already some preliminary stuff there. The fun begins on June 1. If you have friends who might be interested, please feel free to share this post.

‘Til next time, happy writing!
Harvey

PS: If you enjoy great photography and great fiction, stop by Robert J. Sadler’s website at http://robertjsadler.com/ and browse. You won’t be disappointed.

The Journal, Tuesday, 5/9

Hey Folks,

Today should be the last day of settling into my office. I think the more difficult task will be getting used to writing in here. I almost look forward to winter, short as it is, so I can move my writing back to the Hovel. I put a lot of stuff through my writing ‘puter out there.

Speaking of the writing ‘puter, it’s back. (grin) I had nothing to lose so I plugged in an AC power (chosen at random from among three) and set it aside yesterday.

A little while ago, strictly out of curiosity I opened it and turned it on and voila! It’s back.

Topic: Epiphanies and Stuff

I set myself a personal challenge. For the month of June, I want to write a new short story every day. That’s tough enough.

But in addition to that, I want to write those stories truly “in public.” I want the public to be able to watch virtually as the stories grow, scene to scene.

To that end, in the original challenge, I was going to paste each scene to a Facebook page I set up just for that purpose.

Then a couple days ago, my conscious mind wheedled its way in and I lost control. I decided maybe it would be better to post the whole story (albeit still once a day) to the Facebook page.

I reasoned that (1) apparently there weren’t many folks all that interested and (2) those who were interested would still see the end product each day, follow my progress on the challenge, etc.

But then Robert J. Sadler, a dear friend in Texas, pointed out to me in an email that, frankly, I was chickening out. (grin)

And he was right. (Friends respect each other enough to tell each other the truth. In my world, that’s the main qualifier to earn the title.)

In part of his note to me, he wrote

“…I can understand if the prospect of no story-starved pedestrians standing outside the window seems a reasonable reason for not implementing your challenge.

“That said, you made a point that this was your challenge and not issued to anyone other than yourself. So with that perspective in mind, whether the tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, the tree still falls. …

“So … if you wanna write-in-public, as you suggest, then knock yourself out… even if there is no public to witness it.”

Or as Yoda put it, “There is no try. Do or do not.”

And the epiphany?

Writing scenes has always been easy for me. Scenes pop into my head all the time, complete with characters, setting, dialogue and so on. So I can write scenes all day.

But with my conscious mind creeping in as I thought about the challenge, I allowed myself to “hope” the scenes would connect well and the characters would lead me through to the end.

And that’s what I was doing wrong without realizing it. That whole “hope” thing.

Once I replaced “hope” with “trust” (thanks to my friend’s email), everything else fell into place.

So the challenge is back on, in its original form.

Beginning on June 1, I will write one short story per day for the month. Each time I finish a scene, I’ll paste it “live” to Facebook so whoever wants to can see it.

But my friend was right. It’s my challenge. I’m not challenging others to do something similar, though if they do, it’s all right by me. I’m not even challenging others to watch. I’m challenging myself to give others something to watch.

If they watch and enjoy, wonderful. If they don’t, it will still be one hell of an experience. (grin)

If you want to follow along on that madness, visit https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/. Some preliminary stuff is already there. The challenge begins on 1 June.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4 a.m. Did little the first few hours. Went to the grocery early, around 8, to get that out of the way.

Back here I did some household chores and basically wasted the morning. Along the way I wrote this stuff and cross-posted a version of the topic to the big blog. It will post there next Tuesday.

I also read over most of The Storm and touched it a bit here and there, but I’m not counting today as a writing day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you enjoy great photography and great fiction, stop by Robert J. Sadler’s website at http://robertjsadler.com/ and browse. You won’t be disappointed.

See “The Elements of Style: ’50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice'” at http://boingboing.net/2017/05/08/the-elements-of-style-50-ye.html.

See “How to determine your price point when self-publishing” at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2017/04/how-to-determine-your-price-point-when.html.

At Dean’s place, “No Writing Tonight” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/no-writing-tonight/. Not particularly helpful, except to me at the moment after the last few days. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 790 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 790

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 13679
Total fiction words for the year………… 261273
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 79690

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 340963

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 531 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Tuesday, 5/2

Hey Folks,

A few more thoughts on the forthcoming challenge—

I won’t write a novel in public. There’s no realistic way to do so.

Also, I’ve decided on a dedicated Facebook page as the venue for this challenge. Might as well make it truly “in public.”

To that end, here’s the post I added to Facebook this morning. I also shared it with several major writers’ groups around the nation:

ANNOUNCING A NEW CHALLENGE

A few decades ago, a writer named Harlan Ellison set up a desk in a storefront window and wrote short stories, one after another, on a manual typewriter.

As he finished each page, he stood and taped it face-out to the window so those interested could read his stories as they were being produced.

No editing, and (OMG!) no rewriting. It’s called “writing in public”.

I’m thinking of doing the same thing on a special, separate Facebook page I will set up in the near future specifically for this purpose.

I will also combine this with a personal challenge to write at least one short story per day for a month straight (in either June or July), mimicking my unintentional mentor, Dean Wesley Smith.

I’ll post the pages of the story as they come out on the FB page so readers can follow along as the story progresses. I wll neither request nor accept comments on the pages/stories. (Trust me, that would kill the impetus.)

Just to be sure you understand, I’m NOT challenging anyone else to do this. Only myself. I’m a masochist, not a sadist. 🙂

Thoughts? 🙂

Today, and Writing

Rolled out right at 3. Checked email and found Gnondpom’s comment awaiting approval. That led me to writing the first long bit above about the challenge. Which I later replaced with the Facebook post.

Around 3:30 I went to CreateSpace again to do the final proof of The Right Cut.

I seem to be taking a leisurely stroll into the day. That feels good. Around 8 a.m. I went to the Hovel, revised some of the above.

Around 8:30 I created a cover for the story I wrote a day or two ago and did the other prep work (formatting, promo doc, etc.). I saved it to my flash drive. Later today I’ll upload it.

Around 9 I went back to the house to get my sunglasses (prevent too much glare from the computer screen). I ended up creating the FB page for my forthcoming endeavor.

10 a.m., finally back to the Hovel and the novel.

Worked on the novel off and on much of the day, interspersed with too much playing on FB with my new page, etc.

If you’d like to see the new page where the magic will happen (grin) check out https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/. Again, comments are welcome.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Some great comments on “Challenge Hit!! 30 Stories in 30 Days” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/challenge-hit-30-stories-in-30-days/.

And some sheer excitement at “Wrap Up and Start New” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/wrap-up-and-start-new/.

Fiction Words: 3366
Nonfiction Words: 490 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3856

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593

Total fiction words for the month……… 6593
Total fiction words for the year………… 254187
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1510
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 76200

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 330387

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 524 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Monday, 5/1

Hey Folks,

Hey, a new month and a new week! Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so.

After I finished here yesterday, I set up my formulas for my May spreadsheet, then went in to cook supper.

***

May I just say I don’t like people who are ignorant?

I’m not talking about intellectual capacity or the lack thereof. I’m talking about a willingness to assert assumptions despite a complete lack of knowledge of the subject matter.

What’s truly annoying is that such assumptions are most often delivered via snide remarks or innuendo. The whole thing conjures, in my mind, a crystal clear image of a braying jackass.

By their very nature, assumptions are almost always wrong. For that reason, they serve to further illustrate, rather than conceal, the ignorance of those who assert them.

Unfortunately, assumptions are also the lightest form of slander and may, in extreme cases, even lead to character assassination.

Time is far too precious to spend any of it on them.

Fortunately, during a brief back and forth on this very topic on Facebook this morning, I also did something useful and productive. I proofed a digital copy of The Right Cut, the 10th book in the Crowley series.

I had to ask the layout person to tweak a couple of alignment issues, but otherwise it was perfect. So in another day or two the entire series will be available in print.

Feel free to assume I’m thrilled about that. (grin)

Topic: A Forthcoming New Challenge

Dean’s blog is supposed to be a version of “writing in public.” So is this one, as it’s an unabashed look at the day-to-day of writing and other stuff.

But let’s face it. Neither blog is really writing in public. Both are more like reporting in public. They still serve a purpose (I suppose) because they let others see what can be accomplished while doing all the other “life” things that happen.

Dean admits he got that term or the idea for it from Harlan Ellison, who at one point set up a desk and a typewriter in a storefront display window.

Harlan wrote several short stories, one page after the other. As he finished a page of a short story, he would get up and tape it to the window.

So the folks who gathered on the sidewalk could read the story, page by page, as he wrote it.

How’s that for confidence in writing into the dark? (grin)

That was truly writing in public.

And it’s a really intriguing idea.

I did a watered-down version of that once, sort of, when I was writing a short story every week and then posting it to my website. That lasted quite awhile. Around 70 consecutive weeks, I think.

But now I’m thinking about truly writing in public. I just have to figure out how to do it.

Probably I’ll write a new short story every day for a month. (Sound familiar?) But I really like writing novels, and novels sell better.

Or maybe I’ll write a series character. Whether in short stories, novellas or novels, all the work will rotate around that character.

Probably I’ll create a new website just to hold that insanity, whatever it is, so those daily posts won’t add further clutter to the current website.

In any case, I’ll post my WIP every day for all the world to see. Folks will even be able to subscribe to it (free) if they want.

Note that this will NOT necessarily be the finished product. Viewers will see the day’s fiction production, raw, as it comes off the computer, misspellings, inconsistencies, warts and all.

This challenge will have the added benefit of increasing my productivity.

One caveat: I won’t allow anyone into my work as it’s progressing (that’s a sure way to kill impetus), so I won’t allow comments on those posts.

I admit, part of the reason for this is to do something even DWS hasn’t done. (grin) Kind of a “go where angels fear to tread” sort of thing.

I’m not sure yet when this will start. Probably June 1 or July 1. That will give me some lead time to clear the decks. Plus this month I already have several days scheduled when I’ll be on the road for an unwelcome trip. I might have another trip in June too, but we’ll see.

So what do you, as a writer or reader, think of this challenge? Great idea? Insanity? If it had dynamite for brains it couldn’t blow its nose?

Let me know in the comments below. Or if you want, email me privately. I’d really like your input.

***

Whatever I end up doing for the future challenge above, I have a new one starting today. It’s simple, really. I want to get back to my 3000 words-per-day average.

I’d also like to turn out two novels this month. I plan to take one day off between novels and zero days off (that aren’t forced) during novels.

The goal is to get ahead of the curve on my annual goal before I start whatever I’m going to do with the future challenge.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out way late at 4:30. Ugh. I was awake around 3:15, but I just didn’t get up. Mea culpa, but I’m paying for it. Lethargy rules the day.

I set the water on the yard, did some other stuff online and up at the house, and eventually moved to the hovel around 10. Then I wrote most of the stuff above this.

Now it’s 11:40 and I’m headed for the house for a break. I will write fiction today, though at the moment I’m not sure what or when.

Wow. That turned into a whole thing. I copyedited a couple pages for a friend, answered a couple of emails, reset the water on the yard, and it’s 12:30 already. Better look around for something to write. (grin)

Okay, I started a new novel, probably SF. Not too bad a day, considering I started way late.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Challenge Hit!! 30 Stories in 30 Days” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/challenge-hit-30-stories-in-30-days/. Nothing really meaty, but still pretty cool.

Fiction Words: 3227
Nonfiction Words: 1020 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4247

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227

Total fiction words for the month……… 3227
Total fiction words for the year………… 250821
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1020
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 75710

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 326531

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 523 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Saturday, 1/21

Hey Folks,

Back to writing this morning. Even though I still don’t know how the novel will end, I’m looking forward to finishing so I can start the next one.

Rainy and drizzly overnight and this morning, with a little sleet tossed in for good measure, so I’ll be in the Hovel soon probably. For now I’m outside. Probably I’ll hang around the house until everyone’s awake.

Topic: Challenges

One reason I’m looking forward to this novel being finished is so I can set a new challenge for myself. That (burning) desire is based in part on Dean’s “A Question…” and the comments that followed it (see “Of Interest” below).

But I also have to be cautious.

Before I can start and take on a new “deadline challenge” I’ll need to increase the number of hours I spend in the chair actually writing each day.

So effective today, I’ve increased my daily word count goal to 4,000 words per day.

I’ve also rededicated myself to taking a break every hour, even if it’s only to stand up and walk around for a few minutes. The sole purpose of that is to give me the opportunity to expand the number of hours in the chair.

The word count isn’t really much of an increase, but I’m taking baby steps. Probably I’ll increase it again soon, by which I mean within the month. And the increased word-count goal is more to reset my brain (attitude) than anything else. It’s a way to change my focus (my discipline) so that I’m spending more of the time I’m in the chair actually writing more fiction.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, please be sure to read comments on A Question… (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-question/#comments). Wow. Extremely good stuff there.

The latest Author Earnings Report is out, and it’s a doozy: http://authorearnings.com/report/dbw2017/

After that, strictly for fun, check out A Writer in the Air (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-writer-in-the-air/). He includes a link to the short version of the ride. You can see the full video (action starts at about 8 minutes) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxDZjg_Igoc&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs.

Flash Fiction Contest: http://www.pikespeakpenwomen.com/2017-flash-fiction-contest.html

Today, and Writing

Again, I rolled out at a little after 3. Messed around for awhile with email and reading, then wrote most of the stuff above.

Outside by 4 until the sky started spitting at me. The little girl joined me for a few minutes, but water falling out of the sky is not her favorite thing.

Fixed a mess of pancakes around 6, ate a few myself and left the rest for a ready-made breakfast for the woman and the kid I occasionally see around the house here (grin). Then I got dressed and headed out.

In the Hovel by 7:10, wrote more of this Journal entry, and to the novel around 7:30. The end is nigh. Here we go.

Started writing at 7:30 and looked up a little after 8:40. Oops. Time for a break. Up to the house for a little while.

Well, that turned into a whole thing (grin). 9:30, back to the Hovel and the novel.

10:40, time for a break. Not a particularly productive hour as I had to “figure out” some necessary things (who, among 12 characters, are in one place or another at certain times so it doesn’t contradict itself).

11:30, back to the novel. Not quite 12:30, time for another break. This is very strange. Even with the less-than-productive session, I’m hitting just below 1000 words per hour. Nice to know the average stands up. Back in a bit.

1 p.m., back to the novel. Almost 2, so another brief break. This time I’m almost having to force myself.

2:15, back to the novel.

3:10, wrapping it up for the day. The novel will definitely be finished tomorrow. Probably another three or four thousand words. Only the climax and the denoument.

So not quite five hours in the chair, a little over 4200 words of fiction plus this journal, a few emails and yes, a little spider solitaire. (grin) And a few good, productive breaks.

See you tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 4251
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4901

Writing of The Claim (novel)

Day 1…… 4391 words. Total words to date…… 4391
Day 2…… 3632 words. Total words to date…… 8023
Day 3…… 1416 words. Total words to date…… 9439
Day 4…… 2673 words. Total words to date…… 12112
Day 5…… 4284 words. Total words to date…… 16396
Day 6…… 3159 words. Total words to date…… 19555
Day 7…… 3834 words. Total words to date…… 23389
Day 8…… 4953 words. Total words to date…… 28342
Day 9…… 4982 words. Total words to date…… 33324
Day 10… 3618 words. Total words to date…… 36942
Day 11… 3133 words. Total words to date…… 40075
Day 12… 2964 words. Total words to date…… 43039
Day 13… 3410 words. Total words to date…… 46449
Day 14… 3285 words. Total words to date…… 49734
Day 15… 3460 words. Total words to date…… 53194
Day 16… 4251 words. Total words to date…… 57445

Total fiction words for the month……… 59073
Total fiction words for the year………… 59073
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13640
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 13640

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 72713