The Journal, Thursday, 9/17: Critical Mind. Ugh.

When asked what advice he would give new writers, Ray Bradbury said, “Write at least a thousand words a day for ten years. Write at least a short story every week of your life, or its equivalent in essay form, play form or the novel. … Habit is everything. Learning one’s craft is locked into habit.” So there you go.

Got a good night’s sleep last night despite the idiot dog across the way doing his bark-at-nothing thing at regular intervals. Rolled out right at 3 to begin the day.

Slipping a bit in my ongoing retraining, so I’m retooling again. I always check email first thing while I’m waking up, read news stories, etc. But recently I’ve been responding to lengthy emails from a person who asks a lot of questions.

Now I’m not blaming the person for asking, so don’t get me wrong. I could always just say something like “Sorry, I don’t have time for this.” But I’m trying to help, trying to share my own knowledge and experience, so I don’t mind. And if you know me at all, you know I usually go overboard with my answers to be sure I answer the question thoroughly. So totally my fault.

This morning I received an email like that with nine numbered questions. To save a little time scrolling up and down I opened a Notepad document, listed 1-9 down the side, then wrote my responses.

It still ate an hour and a half out of my day. Granted it was almost a thousand words (I checked only for purposes of this post), and that many words of nonfiction from the conscious mind in an hour and a half is pretty much blazing speed, at least for me. But I allowed my response to eat about 1500 words worth of my fiction-writing time. And I’ll lose more time too. Time that I can’t afford to lose.

The problem is that once I’m working in my conscious, critical mind, it takes awhile to get back into the free-flowing subconscious creative mind.

So I’m tweaking my retraining schedule again. Beginning tomorrow morning, I’ll still check email, read news items etc. to wake up as always. I’ll even respond to some email, but long stuff or stuff that I feel requires a long response will have to wait until the end of my day.

Oh, beginning tomorrow also, this post will go out later in the evening. I’ll try 6 for awhile. If that doesn’t give me enough leeway, I’ll raise it to 7.

Now about the conscious mind. One of the primary functions of the conscious mind is to protect you. If you’re about to lean your hand on the hot burner of a stove, the conscious mind is what causes you to feel the heat and jerk your hand away. The conscious mind is what causes you to sense the edge of a cliff is near and back off. (The subconcious mind would say, “Go ahead! Might be a trip!”)

For a writer, the conscious mind invokes every writing myth you ever heard in an attempt to stop you from writing. (If you don’t finish what you’re writing, you can’t submit it or publish it and you won’t be “hurt” by rejection or criticism. This is why we don’t mind outlining or plotting or thinking about writing or just rewriting and “polishing” ad nauseam.)

And the critical conscious mind is wily in that regard. Notice, I recently (only a few days ago) had retrained myself to take no more than a half-hour of waking-up time before turning to the writing computer. Enter this correspondent, and suddenly I’m taking an hour and a half to two hours. Nicely played, conscious mind. (grin) But I’m putting a stop to it.

So how do you beat the conscious, critical mind? You take a personal oath to adhere to Heinlein’s Rules. Then when you realize you’ve fallen off, you wag your finger at your conscious mind, set it back in the corner where it’s supposed to be, and get back on Heinlein’s Rules.

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must not rewrite.
  4. You must publish what you write so people can buy it.
  5. You must keep it published so more people can buy it.

I’ve been falling down on Rule 2 lately. Why? Because my conscious mind keeps wanting to know where the story is going in advance. So I have to clear that away, start another story, write an opening and see where it goes.

I have to stop “thinking” and Just Write the Next Sentence. Now I’m putting all this here so you can see that if you have to battle this stuff, you aren’t alone. I battle it too.

Okay, so I wrote that response to my correspondent, and that siphoned me into using my conscious, critical mind. Since I was drowning in the CCM anyway, I came here to write this. And now four hours of the day are gone.

Now I’m gonna take a bit of time to adjust my head. Maybe I’ll read a little more Bradbury or something (it motivates me), and then it’s to the writing computer. I’ll see you again this afternoon when it’s time to post this.

By the way, I’m officially calling time of death on my 30-short-stories-by-September-30 challenge.

Did some reading and a few other things, and now, a full six hours after I got out of bed, I’m finally starting my fiction writing. That is completely unsatisfactory. Sometimes there are valid reasons not to write. Today is not of of those days.

My Current Goals and Challenge
My goals remain to write 3,000 words of publishable fiction per day and at least one short story per week. I probably will announce a new challenge soon. I do still want to stay in my retraining though, and writing short stories is the best way to do that right now. Stay tuned.

Topic of the Post: Nothing beyond what I wrote above.

Today’s Writing
Well, nothing like I wanted. Frankly, the fact that I started this post with that particular Bradbury quote is the only thing that made me write fiction today. I couldn’t break free of all the crap in my head. I’ll have it back tomorrow, I guess. I did write that foreword that was requested (1285 words) plus that long email earlier (1000) plus this (over 1200), so over 3000 words of non fiction. But very little fiction. Like I said, I’ll be back on it tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 1458

Writing of “Norval Babineaux” (not sure what this is gonna be)
Day 1…… 3405 words. Total words to date….. 3405 words
Day 2…… 1487 words. Total words to date….. 4892 words
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Writing of “Curious Shapes” (short story)
Day 1…… 1022 words. Total words to date….. 1022 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words (done)

Writing of “Nick Mansione” (short story)
Day 1…… 1458 words. Total words to date….. 1458 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words (done)

Total fiction words for the month………… 28300 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 493341

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/16: Challenges

Well, rolled out a little before 2 this morning. I was wide awake when I got up, but I’ve been tired most of the day.

My hobby is photography. I started it mostly so I could take my own cover shots for my books. I have a decent DSLR (Sony SLT A65) and some limited knowledge how to take good pics. Like writing, it takes practice more than anything else.

But I have very limited technical knowledge re the mechanical inner workings. Recently the image sensor in my camera got some dust on it, and of course those show up in the pics.

I don’t like to doctor pictures after I take them, so I had to find a way to clean the camera without damaging it.

Finally this morning I took a couple hours to find the right manual online. Downloaded it, read the instructions, cleaned the image sensor (first automatically, then tested it, then manually) and the next shot I took was clean. Score!

No walk today again. Just being and writing and overcoming the sense that I want to go to sleep for awhile.

Anyway, after cleaning the camera and writing this and the topic below, I moved over to the writing computer to spend some more time with Norval Babineaux.

Topic of the Post: Challenges
Yesterday I got flippant and said my short stories don’t want me to meet my goal. That was my way of saying the stories are in command. Which is another way of saying my subconscious is in command.

Now that’s great for word count goals, but not necessarily so much for the goal of writing a complete short story (or two) every day or the current challenge of completing 30 short stories by the end of this month.
But although goals and challenges are wonderful motivators, the key to writing both well and prolifically is to have fun. That was kind of my point yesterday. Sorry for the flippancy and any confusion.

Anyway, back to challenges. Do any of you have any ongoing challenges? Have you set any recurring writing goals? If so, have you broadcast it to others whom you know will support your efforts?

I hope it’s all of the above. If not, I urge you to give it a shot. For one thing, it’s a great deal of fun. For another, I won’t be quite so alone in my insanity. (grin)

If you need an additional motivation, Ray Bradbury himself advised those who would be writers to write at least a thousand words a day, every day. Of course, a lot of times you’ll go over that amount. There’s always a story or a chapter or a scene to finish.

Anyway, as I wrote in a response to a comment yesterday, my current challenge is more tongue in cheek at this point than realistic for me. That doesn’t mean some of you couldn’t do it. Beginning today and in the next 15 days I would have to write 24 short stories. So that’s one short story every day plus an extra short story on nine days. Possible? Yes. Probable or even plausible (for me)? Nuh uh.

Still, I’ll leave it in place until I come up with something better. Which is probably going to be in the next few days.(grin)

My Current Challenge and Goal
Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge. Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Well, not as much as I’d liked. I’m just worn to a frazzle tired so I’m stopping a bit early. I have time for about another 1500 words, but I don’t have the brain for it.

Fiction Words: 2509

Writing of “Norval Babineaux” (not sure what this is gonna be)
Day 1…… 3405 words. Total words to date….. 3405 words
Day 2…… 1487 words. Total words to date….. 4892 words
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Writing of “Curious Shapes” (short story)
Day 1…… 1022 words. Total words to date….. 1022 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month…… 6 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 25252
Total fiction words for the month………… 26842 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 491883

The Journal, Tuesday, 9/15: Have Fun

Up right at 2 this morning at my little girl’s insistence. It’s all good. She’s a good baby.

I’m being lazy this morning. It took me over an hour to email a response to a lady who runs a nonprofit. Stuff about how to do things on her WordPress website. Yep, I still haven’t learned. Well, they either take the advice or they don’t. It isn’t like I’m getting royalties. Yawn.

I saw a video (posted it on my Facebook this morning) in which a guy hung out on a street corner. To passersby, he offered, absolutely free, either a large bar of Hershey’s chocolate or a silver ingot worth $150. In every case, they could take either one. In every case, they chose the chocolate. Oh yes, yes. I know those people. Sigh.

I also heard a classic this morning from a respondent (and I am paraphrasing the dialogue here): “Y’know, I offered this incredibly helpful product of mine absolutely free to 1,000 people and not one of them took me up on it. Guess I need to offer it to a lot larger group.”

Yeah, okay. That’ll work. Seriously? Shrug. Everybody needs a hobby.

No walk today at all. Just being and writing.

Okay, listen closely. Here, come closer. I gotta whisper so my subconscious doesn’t hear me. Ready?

My short stories do not want me to meet my goal and accomplish my challenge this month. I swear they’re against me.

Here I am needing to write two per day, and the stories are coming out longer and longer. I won’t be able to write two a day when each story is 4000 words or thereabouts, despite what I said a few days ago when I was feeling very cavalier about the whole thing.

Ugh. So I’m just gonna do what I always do at a time like this: remember to have fun. Writing isn’t work. It’s fun. If it was work, I’d find something else to do. I know I would, ’cause I’ve seen me do it. So I’m gonna have fun and enjoy the characters and what they say and do. The goal and the challenge are secondary. The characters and the fun come first.

I hope that’s how you look at your writing too. Remind yourself to have fun. Run and play with your friends.

Anyway, I posted the story I finished yesterday as next Monday’s story of the week. It’s the first SF I’ve written in awhile, and I even like it.

This morning I wrote for awhile on a new one, then got a shower and ate a little breakfast, then came back to writing. Then I played with my kitten for awhile (she’s sleeping in the window now) and came back to writing again.

As I’m writing this, I’m also eating lunch, and then I’ll go back to writing.

Currently in my challenge, I’ve written 6 stories out of 30. Today is the 15th. That leaves me 16 days (including today) to write 24 short stories. That means I have to write one short story every day, and on 8 days I have to write two. Yeah, well… we’ll see. (grin)

Well, I guess the number’s gonna stay at 6 for another day. If so, beginning tomorrow I have to write one new story every day plus two stories on nine days. Hmmm.

Topic of the Post: No topic today beyond what I wrote above about having fun.

My Current Challenge and Goal
Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge. Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Well, the trend continues. And this one might actually be the beginning of a novella or novel. I honestly don’t know. I only know it feels like the end is nowhere in sight, so this one might be around for awhile even as I write other short stories past it. At least I’m havin’ fun. (grin)

Fiction Words: 3405

Writing of “The Singeing of Norval Babineaux” (short story or something)
Day 1…… 3405 words. Total words to date….. 3405 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words (done)

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month…… 6 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 22743
Total fiction words for the month………… 24333 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 489374

The Journal, Monday, 9/14: Farewell, Smashwords, and Why

Up a little before 2 this morning. Email responses and playing catch up with a little reading filled the first half-hour of the day. I didn’t drop by Dean’s site a second time yesterday so I did that as part of my waking up ritual this morning.

By the way, if you haven’t heard of Storybundle.com, check it out. I don’t buy every bundle that comes out, but every now and then they have one I can’t refuse. Basically, you pay what you want for a LOT of great reading.

The URL for the current bundle is http://storybundle.com/disasters. Once you sign up, they’ll send you announcements of other bundles. And free stuff. Like right now, a free issue of Lightspeed Magazine. (grin)

Guess I’ll write the topic now. Then I’ll write fiction for awhile, and then a walk (finally, after a few days off).

Took longer to write the topic than I thought it would. Finally to writing.

I screwed up. I relented and let the little girl out this morning while it was still dark. Again, something scared the stuffing out of her. When I let her in she began racing through the house like she did two days ago.

This time I corraled her quickly, brought her into my office and shut the door. But then I had to spend some time alternately catching her, petting her, telling her everything’s all right. I shut the blinds on my two open windows so she couldn’t see outside and that helped a lot. (Sure wish we could adjust our vision so we could see like they do at times.)

Still it took a good half-hour to calm her enough so I could open my office door without fear of her climbing to the top of the cabinets and inadvertently harming herself again. Now she’s lying on a Navajo rug just outside my open office door so I can see her and she can see me. Three times she walked over here and rubbed against my legs while I’m typing. Just making sure I’m still here.

I understand. Fear is one of the very few universal emotions, something we all share on this little blue rock. And anyone who believes the other creatures on this planet are not “self-aware” is really stuck in the collective human ‘holier-than-everything’ attitude.

Back to my story for a bit before my walk.

Had a good walk of just over 5 miles, then back here to read Dean’s post where I found exciting news. It was so good I threw together a special post over on my main blog and sent it out earlier today. See News Flash below.

Now back to my writing.

News Flash
Turns out ebooks are NOT declining as reported by traditional publishing’s “big 5.” Turns out, INDIE published ebooks are taking a lot larger market share. Ebook sales actually are INCREASING. Great news in this wonderful new world of publishing.

See for yourself at Author Earnings Report. Seriously, if you’re a writer, you want to read and understand this.

I urge you also to visit the website of Dean Wesley Smith where he provides a brief discussion of this. Very interesting stuff.

Topic of the Post: Farewell, Smashwords, and Why
Yesterday I started the topic of the post with “Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you.” That’s true for today’s post as well.

Back in 2011, during the first year of the “gold rush” of electronic publishing, I signed up for a Smashwords account. Today, I have 143 books (nonfiction, novels, short stories and collections) published with them.

When I finished a work, whatever it was, first I published it to Smashwords. I allowed them to distribute it for me to 12 of 13 sales venues (all but Amazon). Then I published it to Amazon.

Enter Draft2Digital http://draft2digital.com, a sleek new company that does what Smashwords does but MUCH more quickly and efficiently. They distribute to the same “big six” that Smashwords distributes to (Apple, B&N, Kobo, Inktera, Oyster, and Scribd) plus Tolino, a growing ebook store in Germany that was created specifically to rival Amazon.

Yesterday, I published a short story to D2D and Amazon, but for the first time, did NOT publish it to Smashwords. Why? Because then I’d have to clunk my way through the “opt out” radio buttons thirteen times so Smashwords would not distribute it (because D2D is distributing it).

Now admittedly, if I HAD done all that, the story would still be available in the Smashwords store, and I’m always advising writers to sell in as many markets as possible. But the thing is, having to spend a half-hour clunking around on Smashwords’ site just so a short story will be in their store… well, it simply isn’t worth the time.

Another thing, through the Smashwords online store I’ve sold mostly nonfiction. And most of that I’ve sold when I’ve created coupons for it, and then advertised the coupons. Again, it’s a lot of effort for very few sales.
I’m not lazy when it comes to expending necessary effort, but any time I spend uploading etc. is part of my investment in my writing. Since it’s part of the investment, I have to consider what return the effort will yield.

Here are a few stark numbers:

  • At Amazon.com it takes me about 15 minutes from clicking Create New Title to clicking Publish IF the process is uninterrupted by Amazon’s ridiculous page-loading times and jumping around. Probably the average time is 20 to 25 minutes. However, Amazon is currently my best venue, so the frustration, while annoying, is worthwhile.
  • At Smashwords.com it takes me about 10 minutes to go from entering the title of my book to clicking Publish at the bottom of the form.
    • But then I have to go to their ISBN Manager to assign an ISBN for distribution to some of the big six as well as several tiny library venues (where I’ve never sold a book).
    • Then I have to go to their Channel Manager. There I have to find my book (there are three pages) and then click thirteen “opt out” radio buttons one at a time so Smashwords will not distribute to anyone except the Smashwords.com online store.
    • Even after I’ve done all that, even though I’ve opted out of distribution to every place that requires an ISBN, I continue to see a message saying I need to assign an ISBN to my books. Very, very clunky system. I skip over the ISBN Manager since I no longer use them for distribution, but using the Channel Manager easily adds another 10 minutes and roughly half a ton of frustration to the process. Not worth it.
  • And D2D. Ahh, D2D. At Draft2Digital.com it takes me about 3 minutes from Add New Book to Publish. On the final page I check the stores to which I want them to distribute my work (so seven checkmarks), verify that the work is either mine or that I have the rights to publish it, and I’m done. They assign an ISBN for the venues that require it, but I don’t have to do anything with that.

D2D does for me what Smashwords does but in a lot less time and with absolutely zero frustration. Score!

So for me, it’s bye-bye to Smashwords. I might put my major publications (novels, collections) up in their store, but frankly I doubt it. I really REALLY don’t like having to “opt out” 13 times per publication.

Now I’m a fair guy, so I will be addressing this issue with Mark Coker soon. Well, relatively soon. I probably won’t do so until I’ve moved my major nonfiction books over to D2D. Anyway, I’ll keep you updated, but I think he’s pretty entrenched in the way he does things.

So it’s like this. Five years ago, he and his company were on the cutting edge of ebook publishing and distribution. Today they’re eating dust from every other major player.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to try to answer them for you. Please ask in the comments section below.

My Current Challenge and Goal
Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge. Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Well enough, I guess, but I was on this particular story much longer than I wanted to be. A lot of cycling back on this one as it kept twisting and turning. A lot of fun though. I hoped to finish this one today and write another, but I’ll have to save that for another day.

Fiction Words: 2511

Writing of “The Day They Came” (short story)
Day 1…… 1437 words. Total words to date….. 1437 words
Day 2…… 2511 words. Total words to date….. 3948 words (done)

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month…… 6 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 19338
Total fiction words for the month………… 20928 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 485969

The Journal, Saturday, 9/12

Up a little before 2 this morning. Writing before 3:30. A little delay this morning because I was (and am) tending to my kitten.

Yesterday, something outside scared her badly. She raced in, then through the house looking for a place to hide. For some reason she didn’t hide in her safe place under the bed. Instead she ran back into the kitchen, up on the counter, then up on the cabinets. The tops of those are nearly eight feet off the floor.

She was stuck there because there was no room to turn around. I ran back into my office to get a small chair so I could get her down, but by the time I got back she had already jumped to the tile floor. In the process she hurt her left hip. Now she’s having trouble even jumping from the floor up to my desk.

So I’m kind of watching over her this morning, babying her and so on.

I don’t think she broke anything, but either way she has to take some time to heal. But she’s very much a free spirit so I have to watch to make sure she doesn’t jump from too high up and keep irritating the injury.

For example, her food bowl is in a broad window alcove next to my desk, so it’s about 30″ off the floor. After she eats, she wants to jump straight to the hard floor, so I watch and redirect her to go off the front of my desk onto a chair, and then from there to the floor.

So I guess that’ll be the next few days.

This falls into the Life Happens category, and in this case, it takes precedence over everything else.

No walking again today. I don’t want to be out playing in the desert when my little girl decides to do something she isn’t up to right now.

After I filed this post yesterday I put together a cover for “Harold Nickel’s Last Dime.” In addition to writing today, I hope to get the formatting done on the two stories I’ve finished and on the one I will finish today.

Oh, just in case you’re wondering, I’m sticking to my one story a week goal too. Each story I post as the free story of the week was written during that week.

Update: Finished the last story, “Exotic,” at about 4:30. The cover fell into place and I published it to D2D. The numbers are below. Makes me feel like a real writer again.

Topic of the Post: Writing When You Can
Sometimes, like today, life intervenes in your writing time. In most cases, though, it doesn’t keep you from writing. Most of the time it merely adjusts the times that you write and the length of time during which you are able to write.

Some people (I am one of them) are fortunate in that they can slip into and out of the Alpha state of consciousness at will. Most people can, actually, though most people aren’t aware they have this ability.

But they do. Let me prove it. When you were in school taking a test, were you ever stuck for an answer even though it was right on the tip of your mind? Did you put your pencil to your lips and roll your eyes upward, as if the answers were written on the ceiling?

Yep, most of us did that. And most of the time, the answer “came to us,” just as we knew it would.
I’ll bet you do the same thing when you’re writing and you suddenly find yourself stuck for a particular word. You roll your eyes up or you stare off into space for a moment. And often as not, the word comes to you.

The physical act of rolling your eyes up triggers Alpha and accesses the subconscious. The physical act of staring off into space slows the electrical activity in the mind to Alpha rates as well.

And that’s why this technique works. Because we are accessing our subconscious mind by dropping into Alpha for a moment.

Okay, so why is the ability to slip into Alpha at will important? Because Alpha is the beginning stage of what we call the subconsicous. And the subconscious is MUCH better at telling stories than the conscious, critical mind.

So writing when you can — Most people, writers included, have more time available to them than they know. Most of the writing I get done today will be in ten minute to half-hour increments. If you write about a thousand words per hour (that’s only 17 words per minute), you can write about 170 words in ten minutes or 250 in a quarter-hour. Do that several times during the day (when you can) and the words will build up into the thousands. And the story will get finished.

So don’t worry about it. When you have a few minutes, sit down at the computer (where your story is already up on the screen) and just have fun. Immerse yourself for a few minutes or a half-hour or an hour in the sheer joy of running through the scene with your characters, writing down what they say and do.

Which is where I’m going right now.

My Current Challenge and Goal
Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge. Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Writing around the kitten was a challenge in itself, but one I gladly performed. I’d have been pleased with any amount of writing today, so it all turned out really well. Super well. And all of it was writing in small increments. I hope in another day or two she’ll be back to her version of normal and we can both get back to our usual roles.

Fiction Words: 4531

Writing of “The Old Jenkins Place” (short story)
Day 1…… 1856 words. Total words to date….. 1856 words
Day 2…… 1357 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words (done)

Writing of “Exotic” (short story)
Day 1…… 3174 words. Total words to date….. 3174 words (done)

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month…… 4 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 13199
Total fiction words for the month………… 14789 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 479830

The Journal, Friday, 9/11: Going On the Cheap

Up right at 2 this morning. Again, by 3 a.m. I was writing. That’ll work. The retraining continues. I’m noticing I seem to have less self-discipline the older I get. Is that how it’s supposed to work?

No walking today. With over 7 miles two days ago and almost 6 miles yesterday, I’m taking a day off from walking.

Okay, got a lot of writing done today as well as a cover for “Finding Harold.” It will be the story of the week for next Monday.

That’s really about all that happened today. Since the topic is so long, I’ll curtail the rest of this.

Topic of the Post: Going on the Cheap
Don’t do it. There. End of lecture.

If you’re a writer and if you’re serious about your work and if you want others to take you seriously, invest in your product (your writing, your cover, your book).

You can invest the time to educate yourself and the money in professional programs so you can create your own eformatting and print layout and ebook and print covers OR you can invest money in paying professionals to do those things for you.

What brought this up?

I recently was privy to see a complete and utter piece of literary garbage that was (from the front matter of the book) “printed with the Espresso Book Machine at The University of Arizona Main Library.” I kid you not.

I can’t say whether the author believes his book has now been published by the U of A (it hasn’t) or what. Maybe he uses the service because it’s free. I don’t know. What the “Espresso Book Machine” turned out was so terrible, I won’t even do the few minutes’ research to find out what it costs, whether it’s free, or anything else about it.

What I will tell you is this: Garbage in, garbage out. Even if your writing is excellent, if the formatting of the document you feed into the maching looks like garbage, what you get back will look like garbage.

Here’s my brief review. Remember, this is all formatting stuff, stuff that could EASILY be fixed if the person who formatted it had only cared enough about his final product to take his time.

The Table of Contents — The title of this page (Table of Contents) was in the same font, same size, and same attribute (normal, not bold, etc.) as the listing below it. Capitalization of titles varied within the TOC and from TOC to actual story. The TOC itself was hokey. First was the title of the story, then a space, then the word page (yes, lowercase) and then a span of pages, for example 3-16.

Overall Layout of the Book — The inside front cover (apparently) was the only title page. The title was at the top, the author’s name was near the bottom, and a page number was at the center bottom. (The title page should not be numbered.) There was no publishing information on the title page. (Usually the publishing company name and city is displayed there.)

The next page was the copyright page. It stated the year of copyright, but failed to mention in whose name the book is copyrighted. Seriously? The formatter skipped a line and inserted a dedication. Skipped another line and inserted permission for teachers to reprint parts for classroom use. (Yeah, that’s gonna happen.) Skipped one more line and added a simple disclaimer. Then skipped a few lines and inserted a brief paragraph blaming the Espresso Book Machine for this travesty, although that isn’t how they put it. Oh, and lest we forget, the copyright page is numbered page 2.

Page 3 is the previously discussed TOC, and the first story began on page 4, a recto. Later in the book, some stories began on the verso (left page of an open book, as they should) and some on the recto (right page of an open book).

Finally, on most pages the text began at the top of the page, but on some it began one or two lines down. The same spacing discrepancy appeared at the bottom of many pages.

Titles of the Stories — The titles of the stories were the same font, font size and font attribute as the body of the stories. (Usually the title is bold attribute and/or a larger font size.)

As I mentioned in the section on the TOC above, the titles of the stories varied with regards to capitalization.

The position of the titles at the top of the page also varied. Some were left justified and some were centered.

Apparently no standard was applied. The key for good and efficient formatting is standards. They can be your own, but you have to have them, and you have to apply them evenly throughout the work.

The Body of the Stories — The body of the first story was double-spaced with no extra spacing between paragraphs and with the first line of paragraphs indented. It would have been perfect if it were single-spaced. (Remember, this is for a print book.)

Hyphenation obviously was not turned on. As a result the text is broken with rivers of wide white space running diagonally through the text.

All of that is from page 4 (beginning of the story) through the first full paragraph on page 8. After that there was an extra space between that paragraph and the next. Then it returned to no spacing after paragraphs until page 13, where the anomaly happened again.

Then it continued normally again until page 17 where the anomaly occurred twice in a row. The story ended suddenly without any sort of signifier such as “The End” or a series of asterisks or “Go Away.”

The second story was formatted differently. It was left justified, single spaced, with a space after each paragraph, and without first-line indents. Great for a blog post. Pretty good even for some nonfiction print applications. Not so much for a story in a collection of short fiction.

The third story was formatted the same as the second, except in some places it looked as if there was no space between two paragraphs.

The next several stories were formatted the same as the second and third, with no first-line indent, block paragraphs, left justified, and a space between paragraphs. Except sometimes there were two spaces between paragraphs.

This truly was an ugly, ugly book.

Now again, to be fair, the Expresso Book Machine is ONLY a machine. It was not at fault for this piece of literary garbáge. Whoever formatted the Word file for the author was at fault. The author should fire whoever laid out this travesty, immediately and with prejudice. Even if it was the author himself. Or maybe especially if it was the author himself.

Do you understand? If you put out a piece of garbage like this, it won’t matter how good the writing is because the reader won’t get that far.

So as I wrote at the outset, when it comes to downgrading your own work by going on the cheap, don’t do it. There. End of lecture. Again.

My Current Challenge and Goal
Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September.
To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge.
Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Finished the Harold Nickel story, then got a good start on another one, so I’m a happy camper.
Fiction Words: 3858

Writing of “Harold Nickel’s Last Dime” (short story)
Day 1…… 2327 words. Total words to date….. 2327 words
Day 2…… 2002 words. Total words to date….. 4329 words (done)

Writing of “The Old Jenkins Place” (short story)
Day 1…… 1856 words. Total words to date….. 1856 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words (done)

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month…… 2 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 8668
Total fiction words for the month………… 10258 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 475299

Writing and Selling Short Fiction

Hi Folks,

I’m thinking about doing a daylong seminar on this. It would depend on interest. If you happen to be interested and able to travel to Tucson, let me know by email please at harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

A brief announcement for a friend. JoAnn Popek and Deborah Owen recently told me about a no-fee short story contest. The deadline is September 15 though, so get cracking. (grin) For guidelines, visit Creative Writing Institute and scroll down.

I’ve had questions recently from folks who are signed up for my Free Short Story of the Week. (If you are not signed up, you can Sign Up Here.) They all ask why I’m not selling my short stories instead of putting them on the website free. A professional writer friend of mine asked the same question in a slightly different context a few weeks ago.

Think about that for a moment. Why in the world would I limit the audience for my short stories to around 70 subscribers? The answer is, I Don’t.

Yes, if you subcribe (see Sign Up Here above), you will receive a brand new short story free in your email once a week. It costs you nothing and you can read it as many times as you want for the next week or so.

But I ALSO publish each story, usually on the day I write it, to Amazon, the Smashwords store, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Inktera, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd and Tolino. Through those markets, my stories, collections and novels are available in over 100 nations worldwide within a few days of publication.

To give you an idea of the process, as I’m writing this (September 2), I wrote the next short story of the week yesterday. It’s called “Paper Hearts.” As soon as I finished it, I did the format, created a cover, and published it to my Free Short Story of the Week blog. It will go live on my website on the morning of Monday, September 7. It will go out in email to subscribers on the afternoon of the same day.

So I posted it to my website yesterday and set a future release date. But I also published it for sale to Draft2Digital, a distributor who sends it to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Inktera, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd and Tolino. Then I published it to Smashwords, but only for sale in their online store. (You can buy titles at Smashwords.com in any ebook format.) Then I published it to Amazon.

If you want to see it, I recommend you subscribe to my Free Short Story of the Week and wait until Monday to read it. Or just come back to my website on Monday and click the Free Short Story of the Week tab.

But if you’re really in a rush and you have more money than patience, you’re more than welcome to visit your favorite ebook store anytime and buy it. It only costs $2.99. That includes tax, even if you live in Europe and have that horrible VAT thing going on.

Not ony do I sell each individual short story that I write, I also do this:

When I’ve written five short stories, I combine them in a short collection and sell it for $4.99. So my readers can buy my stories one at a time for $2.99 (five stories would cost just under $15) or they can get five stories in a short collection for $4.99.

So when I’ve written TEN short stories, guess what? Besides the two 5-story collections for $4.99 each, my readers can also opt to buy one 10-story collection for $5.99 to $7.99. Can you say Good Deal?

From a writer and indie publisher standpoint, each story gives me multiple streams of revenue, too. When I’ve written ten short stories, I get thirteen publications: ten individual stories, two 5-story collections, and one 10-story collection.

And each of those is for sale at every venue listed above PLUS at those venues’ subsidiaries. Most of the “big” vendors have a few to several subsidiaries to whom they further distribute the books. Cool, eh?

That gives me three separate streams of revenue for each short story. Thirty streams of revenue for ten stories. Times the number of venues in which my stories are for sale.

Finally, I also publish each 5-story and 10-story collection as a paperback. Do I get a lot of sales in paperback? No.

But when the reader finds my collection or novel online and sees the paperback price (usually around $15.99) right alongside the ebook price (usually around $5.99) it makes the ebook price look really good. See? Which of course it is.

‘Til next time, happy writing. And selling.

Harvey

Note: If you find something of value in these posts or on this website, consider dropping a tip into Harvey’s Tip Jar on your way out. If you’ve already contributed, Thanks! If you can’t make a monetary donation, please at least consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. Again, thank you.

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/9: Retraining

One more fairly major change to this blog. I’ve changed it so the full post appears in your email. You’ll still have the option of reading the whole thing in your browser where it looks a lot better. And of course I’ll continue to hope you will refer this to others, but you can also just read the whole thing in your email now.

This won’t help those who don’t bother to even open the email, but for those of you who do, maybe this will make things a little easier.

Rolled out a little before 2 again this morning. Checked email and other stuff while waking up. Unfortunately, I was distracted so failed to write during the first two hours of the day.

Sometimes email or Facebook or an article in one of the newsletters I get distracts me too much. I might need to go straight to writing, then go to emails and all of that after two or three writing sessions (so around 5 or 6 a.m.) Maybe I’ll try that for a day or two. I mention this only in case you might also have this problem occasionally.

So today I allowed myself to be distracted, then wrote this blog post and now it’s almost time for my walk.

Becoming a professional writer takes some retraining, and some of it is ongoing. Like you, I’m learning as I go. Much more on all this in the Topic below.

I’ll go out to walk about 6. Then back here to write.

Good walk. Left my camera in the pickup and just walked. Planned on 6 miles, but at mile 3 I decided to go for 8. Then about halfway to that I realized I was being stupid and cut it off. Ended up with 7.4 miles at just over 18 minutes per mile. Not bad for an old guy. Turns out I could have made 8. I’ll put that in the bank for another time.

Topic of the Post: Retraining

Well, all of that was a good lead-in to the topic of retraining.

If you want to become a professional writer, or if you want to become a more prolific professional writer, chances are you need to change a few habits. That’s the retraining I’m talking about.

This is something nobody else can do for you. It’s a lonely, internal endeavor.

Others can give you motivation, tools and suggestions that you can use in your retraining, but that’s as far as they can walk with you along this very private path.

What keyed my own retraining way back in early 2014 was reading Dean Wesley Smith’s very short book, How to Write a Novel in Ten Days. He ghosted a complete 70,000 word novel, under contract, in ten days. He blogged about the experience as he did it, then published those blog posts as a book.

When I first started retraining myself to be a writer, I adjusted my personal day to replace a few hours that to me were wasted. I replace those with hours during which I could work. That’s why I go to bed at 7 or so.
The time from 7 to 11 p.m. holds little value to me. I would do nothing but sit on the couch and stare at the TV, slowly numbing my mind. So I sleep during those hours.

From 2 to 6 a.m., it’s quiet and I can work, so I substitute those hours for the ones I cut.

Those hours, that schedule, is pretty much all I have left of my original retraining. But what I do during that time has slipped severely. So here I am, having to retrain myself again. In case they’ll help you in your own endeavors, here are the main points of my own retraining:

  • I’ll keep the hours I have now, but I’ll use the early hours (2 to 6 a.m.) for writing.
  • In all writings, I will strive to give my subconscious free reign and Write Off Into the Dark.
  • I will adhere to Heinlein’s Rules.
  • I’ll get off the break-every-hour schedule. Dean does this so I thought I’d try it. It doesn’t work for me. As often as not, forcing myself to take a break after an hour or so kills the story I’m working on. I’ll continue to take breaks when I’m tired, even if only to get up and move around a bit, but I won’t limit those to a particular time frame or word count.
  • I’ll spend no more than a half-hour on wake-up time. During that time I’ll consider my progress and make necessary adjustments in my current challenge. Might also use the time to revisit goals, etc.
  • As part of my retraining, tomorrow morning (and on the mornings that follow) I will write for at least two hours before my walk (fiction only).
  • I’ll continue to walk on most days. Gotta do it, and I like it anyway.

And I’ll continue to post this blog as a journal for myself and in the hopes my mistakes will help someone else.

My Current Challenge and Goal

Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September.
To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge.
Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Still stuck in a slow start on the challenge. Every story is different. In this one, I’m working to add a lot of depth through the characters’ physical senses, so I’m doing a lot of cycling back. It’s similar in a way to rewriting, except you do it as you go and it’s all done in creative voice (from the subconscious). In other words I’m not making any conscious decisions regarding word choice or sentence structure or anything like that.

I finished this one, but at times it was rough going. Not smooth and not as much fun as it should have been. The fun was more in the dialogue exchange among the characters and in weaving the setting into that through the senses of the characters.

I won’t do a second one today, that’s for sure. As I said, I allowed myself to be distracted, and that slowed me down a lot.

Tomorrow morning I’ll get up with a new story idea and go for it.

Fiction Words: 1762

Writing of “Finding Harold Harshbarger” (short story)
Day 1…… 0721 words. Total words to date….. 0721 words
Day 2…… 1762 words. Total words to date….. 2483 words (done)

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month……… 1 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month……… 2483
Total fiction words for the month…………… 4073 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year……………… 469114

The Journal, Tuesday, 9/8: Challenges

Rolled out a little before 2 this morning. I think I’m almost caught up on my rest. Still, not much in the mood to write, although I’d better GET in the mood as the clock is ticking for the next short story. (grin)

Again I didn’t do much this morning but catch up on more of my preferred reading. Later I also opened all the pics (over 400) from the Gila trip. I separated out the ones my partner wanted to see and put them in a special folder to share. (As soon as they’re synced in my Dropbox, Dan, I’ll send you a link.)

Went for a walk, though it was more to take more pics than anything else. Still, turned over just less than four miles. Also managed to take 168 pics. All that in about 2 hours.

Did a little more yard work after I got back from the walk.

Topic of the Post: Challenges

I was reading Dean’s blog post a little while ago. He set a mega-challenge for himself. To meet the challenge, he has to write three novels in September, two in October, three in November and two in December. That’s ten novels in four months. He’s thinking around 40,000 to 60,000 words each.

He’s getting a slow start on the first month. He needed to write a novel every 10 days during September, and today, on the 8th, he’s written only about 15,000 words. But he isn’t worried.

For one thing, writing “only” two novels during October and December gives him a little catch-up room if he needs it. For another — and this is the biggie — if he “fails” in his challenge and writes “only” 7 novels or 8 or 9 instead of the 10 novels he plans to write, won’t that just be terrible? (grin)

The real value in a challenge is teaching the writer that Failing To Success is a good thing.

I said something similar a few posts back. Even if I stopped writing right now and didn’t write anymore fiction for the rest of the year, I would still end the year with over 466,000 words of publishable fiction. And all but 11,410 words of that is actual PUBLISHED fiction. This year.

So even if I just stopped right now, I would have “failed” to success.

But that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? (grin)

A New Challenge

Back in July, Dean set himself another challenge. He challenged himself to write 31 short stories in 31 days. He then published them individually as short stories, but he also will publish them in a collection titled The Stories of July (or something like that).

Now seven days of September are already history, but I really need to jumpstart my writing. I need to get my writing blood pumping again. So I’m setting a new goal, publicly. As Andy Griffith would say, “Right chere, right now.” (grin)

Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. Not really that big a deal. It just means that I’ll have to write two stories on seven of the remaining twenty-three days. (grin)

Now, just so everything’s above board, to satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, not flash fiction (6 to 99 words) or short-shorts (100 to 2,000 words). So they all have to run over 2,000 words. I don’t dictate to my characters how long stories have to be, so I might write some of those shorter ones too, but if I do they don’t count toward the challenge.

Stay tuned. This should be a blast.

Today’s Writing

Okay, first a note about the Wes Crowley saga. I’ve set the most recent novel aside for the time being. From what I can tell, it doesn’t feel like being written right now, so that’s that. I still feel as if there are at least two more novels in the story, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I think this is the right thing to do. Book 9 was rough from the beginning, and it isn’t supposed to be like that. On that one thus far, I wrote only 11410 words in 8 days. That’s an average (aritmetic mean) of only 1426 words per day. On a novel full of characters that I love. That isn’t me.

So it’s off to the races on the challenge. I hope maybe some of you will join me.

Well, a slow start on the “race.” (grin) Only 721 words on a brand new story. Absolutely no worries. I expect to finish this one in an hour or two in the morning, then write a second one. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even knock out a third one tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 0721

Writing of “Untitled about Mavis Harshbarger” (short story)

Day 1…… 0721 words. Total words to date….. 0721 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Total challenge stories for the month……… 0 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month……… 0721
Total fiction words for the month………… 2311 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year………… 467352

 

The Journal, Monday, 9/7: Reading

As you can see from the title of this post, beginning today I’m offering a slightly different format. I’m including at least a hint at the Topic of the Post in the title. When I don’t include a topic for that day, I’ll try to slip something in there to give you an idea of what the post is about.

I’m also going to be removing older posts from the website. They take up unnecessary space, and there’s no need for that. I’ll leave some of them up in case anyone wants to scroll back. Maybe a week’s worth or something. But if you enjoy a particular topic or something like that, be sure to save it for yourself.

Rolled out around 3:30 this morning. The trip to the Lower Gila Box was very good, but more exhausting than I realized. We both (Michael = Dan, and I) got a lot of good pics. I thought a few of mine would slide up into the excellent category, but when I opened them on my computer last night, they just weren’t all that. I’ll post a few of them on Facebook later. Probably. Maybe.

Haven’t done much this morning but catch up on reading online news and newsletters, emails, etc. Later today I hope to read more in a book of Bradbury interviews. More about that in the topic below. I’m also going to mow the yard in a while, and I plan to put together a few daylong seminars. So no fiction writing today.

No walk today either. Maybe even for the next couple of days. My buddy and I walked only perhaps 3 miles per day on Friday and Saturday, and another mile or so on Sunday before we left to come home. But a great deal of that walking was on some pretty steep slopes. And it seemed we were always climbing, never descending. Weird how that works. (grin)

Okay, so rather than boring you with minute by minute details, I’ll just say generally today will be some nonfiction writing, some reading, some exploring a new sales venue I found (I’ll report on it later if it works out), some work out in the yard, and a lot of sitting under a fan trying not to move so I won’t burst into flames.

Talk with you again mañana.

Topic of the Post: Reading

Of some significance, while we were camping in New Mexico, I caught up on a bit of reading. Specifically I read parts of a book called Conversations with Ray Bradbury. Edited by Steven L. Aggelis, this is a compilation of Interviews with Bradbury, whom I consider to be the best short story writer—and maybe the best storyteller—of all time.

I strongly recommend this book.

The title is not yet available as an ebook (darn it), but I got a mint-condition paperback copy for 99 cents plus $3.99 (or thereabouts) shipping. If you’re interested, just look for the title at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, then pick which copy you want. I think you won’t be disappointed.

In many ways, the writing advice imbedded in Bradbury’s responses validates my own beliefs about good writing practices, including writing into the dark, reading your work aloud and many others.

But I have also learned a few things (in less than a few hours’ reading time) that might have taken me years to learn if I hadn’t picked up this book.

Bradbury’s process is slightly expanded over my own and over what I teach. He does write strictly from his subconscious (writing into the dark). But instead of sending his work off to a first reader, he then reads over his own work, reading aloud, looking carefully to trim anything that is unnecessary to the work.

He isn’t looking to rewrite anything. He isn’t looking at sentence structures. He’s looking only to trim the fat.
The, I believe, he submits the work or publishes it. (I say “I believe” because in one interview, when pressed, he told the interviewer he makes at least seven passes at his work, cutting more each time. I seriously doubt that is true. I suspect it’s something he feeds writers who need to feel that their own “rewriting” process is valid.)

The point is, remain open to learning. The more open-minded you remain, the more information you can take in, assess, and choose to retain or discard. And the more your skills as a storyteller and writer will improve.

Today’s Writing

As I mentioned above, no fiction writing again today. Just kind’a getting used to being back. Also I put together three daylong seminars I’m planning to offer to the good folks in the greater Phoenix area and also over in Tucson. We’ll see whether anyone’s interested.
Here they are just in case you’re interested:

Writing Off Into the Dark (daylong writing intensive) — Major subtopics include Heinlein’s Rules, Productivity, Writing Myths, The Difference Between Short and Long Fiction, How to Practice Writing, The Difference Between Rewriting and Revising (Cycling Back), and a lot more.

Writing the Character Driven Story (good for any length story, daylong writing intensive) — Major subtopics include Where to Get Story Ideas, How to Write from Inspiration, The Importance of Setting and How to Write It, How to Write an Opening, How to Select a Genre, The Five Senses Exercise, and two more in-class and take-home exercises.

Smart Self-Publishing (daylong seminar on the publishing side of writing) — Major subtopics include Why Self-Publishing Instead of “Traditional” Publishing, The Difference Between Self-Publishing and Subsidy Publishing, Copyright Explained (It Costs Nothing), ISBN and LCCN Explained (Don’t Buy Your Own), Set Yourself Up as an Indie Publisher, Epublishing and Print Publishing, Getting Paid as a Self-Publisher, Your Book Available Worldwide in a Matter of Days, Price Your Ebooks and Print Books Competitively, The Importance of the Book Cover, Where to Find Cover Art, and a handout listing specific URLs and recommendations for formatting, print layout and cover design.

So there y’go. If you’d like to have any of these seminars in your area, email me at HarveyStanbrough@gmail.com or leave a comment below.
Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words
Day 5…… 1587 words. Total words to date….. 8327 words
Day 6…… X943 words. Total words to date….. 9270 words
Day 7…… 1084 words. Total words to date….. 10354 words
Day 8…… 1056 words. Total words to date….. 11410 words
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXXX words

I’m gonna leave up the number for ol’ Wes while my subconscious continues to turn the story over. If it doesn’t perk up and get with it pretty soon though, I’ll send Wes out behind the barn to think about what he’s done while I’m writing some other stuff.

Total fiction words for the month…………… 1590
Total fiction words for the year……………… 466631