The Journal, Monday, 6/19

Hey Folks,

Well, I’ve taught my grandson Bryan about as much as I can teach him. I expected the situation to resolve this week one way or the other. But my part in it resolved yesterday.

At my son’s invitation, Bryan chose to go north with him to Flagstaff, a much larger area with great opportunities.

If Job Corps calls and he decides to still go with them, I’ll arrange to get him to Tucson. If not, at least he has a start on his life.

***

The Mandel Center has made the United States Holocaust Museum’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos (1933-1945) available online FREE in searchable PDF files. This is an invaluable resource if you’re interested.

Visit https://www.ushmm.org/research/publications/encyclopedia-camps-ghettos/volumes-i-and-ii-available-online/.

You’ll have to answer a brief questionaire, then be patient as each part downloads. The whole thing downloaded for me in only a couple of minutes. Again, the download is free, whereas a hard copy of each book costs nearly $300.

UPDATE on Website Stuff

Well, the plugin I had such hope for isn’t working. It hasn’t missed sending me a copy of my own posts in my own category. But I posted six different posts in three other categories, and it didn’t send out any of those. So I guess I’ll call time of death on the experiment.

For those few of you who hoped to join me in this Writing in Public endeavor, sorry. I really thought it would work.

However, I still encourage you (all of you) to set up your own challenges, writing in public or otherwise. It really is great fun when you push yourself.

***

I’m off to New Mexico in the morning, about a 6 hour drive. I have a pair of uncles over there I really need to visit. I’ll be staying in a motel, though, so I hope to get some writing done while I’m gone.

***

Funny. Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a western magazine where I might want to submit short stories before I publish them outright. (Thanks, Alison!)

Today, I received a request from a curator at BundleRabbit to include two of my westerns in the upcoming Guns of the West bundle. One is my contemporary western novel, No Kind’a Time, and the other is a short story, “A Turning Point for Charlie Pilsen.” Cool, eh? I’ll announce it here and on my website when the bundle is out.

Today, and Writing

I woke early but rose late. You know how that goes sometimes. I spent the first several hours working on the Writing in Public website, tweaking the subscription plugin, etc. but to no avail.

I’ll spend a little time packing for my trip, and I’ll hope to write at least a short story today. We’ll see. I have a couple of great starts in mind.

No writing again today. I think I’m resting from everything that’s gone on the last couple of days and what’s coming up. That and fretting over the Writing in Public site.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Not much other than the stuff above about the Holocaust Museum.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 510 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 510

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12060
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 102040
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 439997

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 571 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Sunday, 6/18

Hey Folks,

Okay, first, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I hope you have a great day. I’m sending this out early, and then I plan to have a good day myself.

Topic: Website Stuff

This morning I worked to revise the postings on my new Writing in Public blog at hstanbrough.com.

I deleted the old email plugin and added a new one. Then I scheduled Jobs Like That (the novella) to repost in several parts.

It should go out every two hours from 9 a.m. this morning through 11 p.m. tonight. Tomorrow it will resume at 7 a.m. again, and the final post will go out at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

The “posts” page on the site is The Stories.

Pretty much any plugin will send an email when a new post happens. (JetPack comes to mind.)

But this one is supposed to send an email each time a new post happens per category.

Subscribers can subscribe to one or more categories.

So two or five or twenty writers can post scenes from their own short stories in their own category. Subscribers will receive emails only for the categories to which they’re subscribed.
But all from the same site. Amazing.

If the plugin works (fingers crossed), I’ll report that here in case any of you ever need to try something like this.

And when I’ve ironed out the bugs, I hope some of you will join me.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out really late this morning. I’ll correct that very soon. Nonwriting day today. I’ll be watching posts from Writing in Public. With any luck, there will also be a baseball game on somewhere.

If I get to do any fiction writing, I’ll report that in tomorrow’s Journal.

See you then.

Of Interest

Nothing that I saw.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 290 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 290

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11550
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1001530
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 439487

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 570 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Saturday, 6/17

Hey Folks,

My son is down from Flagstaff, so I thought this would be a nonwriting day, but it doesn’t feel like a nonwriting day. So I guess we’ll see.

Topic: Falling Off Heinlein’s Rules

Wow. I’m so close to falling off Heinlein’s Rules it isn’t even funny. And not the ones you would think of first (Rules 1, 2, or 3).

I’m all set to fall off of Rule 4. Frankly, it would be a little frightening. Well, if I cared. Maybe that’s the frightening part. I don’t really care.

The problem is, the “new” of all this has worn off. Way off.

Well, off everything but the writing.

I have a pretty sizeable backlist of novels that aren’t in paper yet. That doesn’t bother me too much. At least they’re “out there” in ebook form. They’re available in over 1200 sales venues around the world (including libraries). And they’re selling here and there.

But I just realized this morning, I also have a backlist of unpublished stories.

One novel, two novellas, and ten short stories. So three collections, too. A ten-story collection and two five-story collections.

That’s 16 publications I’m (so far) letting slip through my fingers.

And at the moment, I flat don’t care. Really! (grin)

It was such wonderful fun to Just Write the things, yet today I can only barely remember what some of them were about. Much less care whether anyone else ever reads them.

Every now and then you hear about some writer from the past and that his (or her) heirs have discovered sheaves of his (or her) unpublished stories in an old desk. Or bundles in a trunk. Or something.

Maybe I’ll just start tying mine into electronic bundles for my heirs to find. Shrug. Who knows?

Today, and Writing

Filled bird feeders (5 of them) and got them hung this morning. Then to Dean’s site, FB and to work a bit more on the Writing in Public website.

Started the water on the yard early. I have a lot of yard to cover, and I got only three sections of it watered yesterday.

Well, yes, a nonwriting day. I actually wrote a little, started a new story, but was interrupted. I’ll restart it again whenever with the same first line.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Please see the comments at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-an-epilog/#comments. Really good stuff.

And a little more on challenges with “Two Books Ready” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/two-books-ready/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 410 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 410

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10260
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1001240
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 439197

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 569 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Friday, 6/16

Hey Folks,

I’m adding this note late: I’ve decided to serialize my novella, Jobs Like That, over on the Writing in Public website at http://hstanbrough.com. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new installment is posted, drop by there and sign up for a free subscription. This thing is heavy on detail and grounding the reader in the scene. For genres, it’s heavy on action-adventure with a considerable chunk of romance tossed in.

Wow. When I got up, I started almost immediately working on the Writing in Public website. I enjoy doing that. It’s kind of a hobby. Now if I can figure out the new subscription plugin.

Anyway, I got so wrapped up in doing that, I almost decided this would be a nonwriting day. That will happen before too long, but I’d like to finish the novel first.

***

Sometimes I think I’ll never learn.

Y’know all that guff about the story slowing down, me taking a wrong turn, all of that?

Nope.

I tried to continue the story past the natural ending. That’s all it was. More on that below.

I started cycling through today, just finishing off what I did yesterday, and the ending flashed through, crystal clear. It was as if the characters were lined up in the back of my mind, their hands on their hips, all of them frowing and mouthing, “What are you doing, Harvey? Stop it!”

And here I am with another finished novella. That and a reminder that every book writes differently.

Revising Goals

Another realization came over me this morning. It’s been a day of realizations.

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to write at least one novel per month and to write 15 on the year.

Today that slapped me in the face. Hard.

The thought actually crossed my mind that I should “expand” my current WIP, which finished itself today, so it would be a novel.

But I don’t like that. It adds pressure, and it’s unnecessary. Plus, it would lead me to force something on my characters and my storylines, and I just don’t want to do that.

So I’m revising my goal instead. In fact, I think I mentioned this awhile back, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m doing it now.

I will write at least one long work per month (novel or novella) and 15 on the year. What the hey? It’s my goal anyway, right?

Today, and Writing

Worked on the new Writing in Public website for awhile this morning (a few hours). Finally to the Hovel at 8 a.m. and to the novel around 8:30.

So my writing day was over early, at around 11. Then putting the water on the yard, etc.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Magic Bakery: An Epilog” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-an-epilog/. And I do recommend checking back and reading the comments on recent earlier posts.

Just as a little addendum to my post a couple days ago on word usage, there’s “The Bell Tolls for ‘Whom’” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/the-bell-tolls-for-whom/. Such fun!

And one more, again via The Passive Voice: “There’s No Such Thing As A Self-Published Author.” Despite her foolish and faulty claim (“The term implies that a person can successfully publish a book all alone, and that’s simply not true.), the author then sets that aside with “Creating a digital book today is rarely done by one person all alone.”

Um, “rarely” is not the same as “never” and it isn’t the same as “can’t.” But if that weren’t enough, the author (Beth Bacon) then dismisses herself as a professional when she writes that “…we perpetuate the myth that one person can do it all by themselves.” I mean, wow. Anyway, you can read the whole thing at http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2017/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-self-published-author/.

Fiction Words: 1378
Nonfiction Words: 400 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1778

Writing of Jobs Like That (June novella)

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087
Day 8…… 1113 words. Total words to date…… 17200
Day 9…… 1378 words. Total words to date…… 18578 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10850
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 100830
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 438787

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 568 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Thursday, 6/15

Hey Folks,

Well, there y’go. Half the month is almost gone already.

Kind of two topics in the post today. Read down through the “Today and Writing” section for some craziness.

Topic: More Thoughts on Challenges

I was telling someone a day or two back that any 30-day time period is still 30 days even if it doesn’t start on the first of a calendar month. Duh.

I’ve pretty much decided when I finish with the June novel, I’m going to start my story-per-day challenge again while posting each scene “in public” to my new Writing in Public website.

I hope to eventually add other writers with similar challenges into the mix. I’ll make the offer again when I find a plugin that will enable us to send subscribers an email update each time we post a new scene, vs. once a day.

In the meantime, if you have a website already and you want to start a challenge, you can do so right there. Just do it.

Especially if your website isn’t already cluttered with your past writings, lectures you’re offering and two blogs. (grin)

You could even post your updates “live” to Facebook, though I advise against it. What goes on Facebook is out there forever whether you like it or not. Putting it on my own website gives me the option of taking it down.

Today, and Writing

Started the day with coffee, email and Facebook, but then did some more work on the new Writing in Public website. I don’t want to start that yet anyway, but I want the site to be ready when I do.

To the Hovel, finally, around 10:30.

Well, I feel like the novel took a wrong turn somewhere. I’m listening to my creative subconscious, not my critical, conscious mind.

The little voice deep inside’s been nagging me over the past couple days of writing even as I wrote. That’s how I know it’s the creative subconscious.

I wrote some good stuff during that time (I think) but it went in a different direction, maybe into a different story, maybe even into a different genre. The current WIP is action-adventure, and this thing wandered off into romance or something.

Not like a romantic episode or twist, but like the story’s turning completely into a cute-meet, boy gets the girl sort of thing. Ugh. Fun enough to write, but not the same story.

Then again, this is not the typical girl who appears in a male-dominated action-adventure, so maybe she and the situation are supposed to be there. We’ll see.

So I started reading way back at the first word, allowing myself to touch the story as necessary, just very minor tweaks and corrections of inconsistencies. I have a feeling I’ll know when I hit the point where the story wandered off in the wrong direction. If it did.

Doing nothing but cycling I added around 1100 words by 2 p.m.

Then I moved up to the house and got distracted. Made some tea, fed a cat, responded to an excellent comment (see “Of Interest” below) etc. Finally back to the reading/cycling at 3.

Well, I didn’t finish the read-through today. I did learn that the part I thought I was going to cut doesn’t need to be cut. The woman involved just hasn’t shown me yet who she is.

I’ll start again tomorrow where I left off today. A little cycling and then (I hope) full steam ahead.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For a wonderful surprise, see “The Magic Bakery: A Chapter in the Center” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-a-chapter-in-the-center/.

For fun, check the comment and my response on my previous Journal post at http://harveystanbrough.com/daily-journal/the-journal-wednesday-614/. (Thanks again, Elise!)

For more fun, visit The Passive Guy’s site at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/. Some great humor there. Specifically I’m thinking of “How a Witch Cured My Writerly Envy” and “My Partner Doesn’t Use Bookmarks….”

Fiction Words: 1113
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1763

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087
Day 8…… 1113 words. Total words to date…… 17200

Total fiction words for the month……… 43672
Total fiction words for the year………… 336579
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10450
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 100430
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 437009

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 567 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Wednesday, 6/14

Hey Folks,

I keep feeling like I need to take a day to create covers and promo docs for the last nine short stories I wrote. Then I need to distribute them and ship them off to BundleRabbit.

I’m ever aware that each day I wait is a day that story isn’t able to accumulate sales.

Usually I do all that stuff as I go, often the same day I write the story. But in the frenzy that was my recent writing in public challenge, I let it slip.

And just my mindset, when I get in the mood to create covers, it will be better to do them all one after the other.

So soon I’ll do that. But not today. Today I get to “novel” for awhile. (See the topic below.)

***

In the midst of everything going on — or actually not going on — with Job Corps, I got a Facebook message early this morning with some bad news. One of my heroic uncles (lifelong forest ranger, firefighter and so much more) is fading.

Depending on various factors back there, soon I’ll take a couple days to go see him or to attend the funeral. Part of life and living, but so much of it gets to be a drag after awhile. I know I’m confiding in the choir here.

Topic: Please, Don’t Be Ignorant

Or at least don’t put your ignorance on display.

Ignorance is not a “bad” quality. It just means a lack of knowledge.

But if you choose to be a writer, shouldn’t you at least try to learn everything you can about the language and word usage?

It seems to me we’ve entered an age in which many of us would rather sound cool than illustrate that we aren’t ignorant.

I’m talking about creating nouns of verbs and verbs of nouns and other word-usage anomalies where there’s no reason to. Other than wanting to sound cool.

I don’t mind, really. But it’s still annoying. And disappointing.

When I read the work of a favorite author and see, in narrative, phrases like “should of” instead of “should have” or “should’ve,” it doesn’t completely destroy the reading experience. But it mars it.

When I hear that a writer “journals” when what she means is “writes” or “keeps a journal” or “makes entries in a journal” I want to hurl chunks. I know, I know, but bear with me.

When I hear that someone “journals,” I wonder why nobody “diaries.”

And why doesn’t anyone “novel” or “short story” or “flash fiction” or “poem”?

“I can’t go tonight,” she said. “It would interrupt my journaling.”

Yeah? Well, I can’t go either. It would interrupt my “short storying” and maybe even my “noveling.”

In “Of Interest” today I feature an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader.

In his article, he features an infographic that’s titled “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Book.” Perfectly legitimate, that.

But in the title of the article he wrote to showcase the infographic, Nate saw fit to change “Book” to “Read,” as in “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read.”

Why?

The change doesn’t enhance the meaning of the title. It doesn’t make it more descriptive or more informative.

It only makes me wonder whether the author is actually ignorant, is trying too hard to be innovative, or is just lazy. (Lazy because “read” used as a noun is short for “reading experience,” which of course means “book.”)

I feel the same way when, in a work written for publication, I find “gift” used as a verb in place of the perfectly adequate “give” (or “gifted” for “gave” or “presented”).

And I feel the same way when I hear professionals use “likely” when they mean “probably.” Or when body parts are given human traits (“nose smelled” “legs raced” “eyes looked” “ears heard” etc.).

Contrary to what some folks believe, I don’t go around looking for instances where the writer’s ignorance is on display. I really don’t. Even when I edit.

I just read. Those instances of ignorance on display leap off the page at me and interrupt my reading.

And then I don’t buy anymore of that author’s work.

Food for thought.

Today, and Writing

Spent the first couple hours of the day playing with Facebook and then writing the stuff above. Cross-posted the topic to the ProWriters blog too.

Around 6:30, I went to the Hovel to “novel” for awhile. (This is fun.) As has become my habit in this book, I cycled back first, then wrote about 600 new words in a new chapter. Moving right along.

A good day of writing today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “D2D Partners with Findaway Voices to Provide an Alternative to ACX Starting 7/18/2017” (More Freedom and Control Over Your Audiobooks) at https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/. Sounds like a really good opportunity.

Take with a grain of salt “Q & A with Peter Stampfel, Submissions Editor of DAW Books” at http://themetropolitan.metrostate.edu/issue/2016/12/005/. (Thanks, Ann!)

See “Infographic: The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/13/infographic-ultimate-flowchart-finding-next-read/.

“Two Bundles With Two Novels” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/two-bundles-with-two-novels/. I have to admit, I’ve bought both of these bundles.

Fiction Words: 3462
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4332

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087

Total fiction words for the month……… 42559
Total fiction words for the year………… 335466
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99780
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 435246

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 566 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Tuesday, 6/13

Hey Folks,

Topic: Foiled, Sort Of, By Technology

Well, I called off the challenge I extended earlier re writing in public. Thus far I haven’t found a WordPress plug-in that will email multiple postings per day from a blog to subscribers. Much less from multiple feeds.

As my friend Robert pointed out awhile back, writing in public is still writing in public even if nobody’s being notified or watching.

And I very much enjoyed my abbreviated effort earlier this month, so I still plan to do it again soon. I’ll keep you posted in case any of you want to follow along.

(If DWS was doing this, I’d follow along avidly, if only to pick up tips on how to do it.)

Anyway, while I was looking for the aforementioned plug-in, I realized the few who signed up have their own websites as well.

From a marketing standpoint — and really, isn’t everything about marketing? — it would be better for them if they post on their own blog so any readers will already be on-site to buy their books.

I know that sounds fickle and maybe a little lazy, but the fewer times a reader has to click to buy your books, the more likely they are to buy.

I hope everybody who’s reading this will dive into a challenge of your own. And if any of you happen to find a plug-in that will do what I outlined above, please share the info.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 this a.m., and probably this is the last time I’m going to mention it.

Most mornings I browse emails and Facebook while waking up with my morning coffee.

Today, like yesterday, was an exception. I worked a bit on the new website from the time I got up. About an hour into that process, I realized it wouldn’t work the way I’d hoped.

At that point I called time of death. I emailed the few participants to let them know and offer some advice, then moved on to other things.

Around 6 I headed out to get the lawnmower. Chores this morning. Cool! Took only an hour to mow front back and west yards.

Now I’m resting up a bit and working on the new website a bit. Just playing, really. Biding my time as we have an appointment around 9:30 and don’t want to start anything serious before then.

After Mona’s doc appointment (she’s better than good, healthy as a healthy horse) I hit WalMart, then bought gas, then a new gas can (the old one is severely cracked, which I found out just after I’d filled it), then home to write.

I was writing along fine from about noon, but then Job Corps called with yet more requirements. Back to hurry up and wait.

And I still have to go back to pick up Mona from work, so I’ll have a better writing day tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

“The Magic Bakery: Last Chapter” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-last-chapter/.

Fiction Words: 1631
Nonfiction Words: 510 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2141

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625

Total fiction words for the month……… 39097
Total fiction words for the year………… 332004
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 430914

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 565 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

Quieting the Critical Mind

Hi Folks,

Following on the tail of Trusting Your Subconscious Mind, this suits.

I’ve talked before about writing off into the dark. In fact, my whole Daily Journal is based on that method of writing, piggybacked on the writer’s determination to follow Heinlein’s Rules. I even teach an Audio Course on Writing Off Into the Dark. Click the link and scroll down to Course 12.

But one subtopic is sorely lacking any direct instruction that I can find, even my own. Possibly because it’s a highly personal problem that must be solved by each writer for himself or herself: How to Quiet the Conscious, Critical Mind.

I could tell you how I do it, but that might or might not work for you. At least sometimes I tell my critical, conscious mind (yes, aloud) to get away from me, leave me alone, go sit in that corner over there until I’m finished writing.

And once you’ve sent your grownup, responsible, control-freak conscious mind packing? Be a two year old, for goodness’ sake! Just tell a story! Run and play and enjoy yourself!

Now, writing off into the dark merely means writing without an outline. But a big part of that (and the reason practitioners don’t use an outline) is learning to trust your subconscious. Learning to let go and turn off your English teacher’s voice in your head.

I call it the Golden Bradbury Rule, and I’m paraphrasing: If you don’t surprise yourself, how can you possibly hope to surprise the reader?

A correspondent emailedme to ask how to shut off the critical voice. I suppose I could have just said something like, “The same way you did before” (grin) but I didn’t want to be flip.

The thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever heard any direct instruction regarding HOW to turn off critical voice, but there are a lot of hints at how to do so in all the other advice. Here are some of those hints:

  • Just let go of control and trust your subconscious. Don’t consciously construct sentences etc. You know how to do that without thinking about it, so Just Write.
  • Don’t “direct” your characters as the almighty writer on high. Get down in the trenches and run through the story with them. Be the recorder. Describe the setting(s) they’re running through and write down what they say and do.
  • Don’t Think. Just write. Again, if you don’t surprise yourself as a writer, how can you hope to surprise the reader?

When he was asked how he wrote Dandelion Wine, Bradbury responded that he wrote it the same way he wrote pretty much all of his stories and novels. He sat down at the keyboard, put his fingers on the keys, and just wrote whatever came.

And that is perhaps the best advice on how to quiet the critical mind. Put your fingers on the keyboard and just write what comes. When you get stuck, just write the next sentence. Then write the next sentence. Then write the next sentence.

Now, how do YOU relinquish control and just enjoy the story as you’re writing it? How do YOU quiet your critical mind?

Happy writing,

Harvey

The Journal, Monday, 6/12

Hey Folks,

Kind of a neat post over at Dean’s place today, about domain-name hoarding. I can relate.

I have domain names for all of my personas, some of my pseudonyms and some of my characters, like Wes Crowley. I have domain names for my own name, and also some for business names that I don’t want to risk losing. Go figure.

Just yesterday, as an afterthought, I looked up WritingInPublic.com.

Of course, it was already taken. It won’t make money for me anyway, so I didn’t bother finding out who owns it so I could make an offer to buy it.

But I suspect it’s Dean. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4 again. Started working on the new Writing in Public website and did that for the first 3+ hours.

Moved out to the Hovel around 8:30 and started on the novel. Some cycling back and a lot of new words. Around 10, up to the house for some iced tea.

Not a bad day of writing, but not great. Still, I’ll take it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

“Amazon Releases Word Doc Templates…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/09/amazon-releases-word-doc-templates-making-better-pod-books/.

“Amazon Overhauls its Publishing Portal…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/09/amazon-overhauls-publishing-portal-new-dashboard/.

Both of those are at The Digital Reader. If you don’t already subscribe, consider it at https://the-digital-reader.com/.

Dean’s “Domain Collecting” is interesting at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/domain-collecting/.

And just in case you’re interested, “Bob Dylan Rescues Literature From The Literary Set” at http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/12/bob-dylan-rescues-literature-literary-set/.

Fiction Words: 2825
Nonfiction Words: 240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3065

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994

Total fiction words for the month……… 37466
Total fiction words for the year………… 330373
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8420
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98400
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 428773

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 564 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Sunday, 6/11

Hey Folks,

Wow. Already had a few writers sign up for the upcoming Writing in Public Challenge. I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent.

Once I get the site put together, I’ll send out an email with log-in specifics, etc. If you’re interested, I recommend emailing me fairly soon.

There’s still room if anyone else wants to jump in. Remember, how you structure your own challenge will be completely up to you. The only requirement is that you post things so readers can read.

I also had an email asking whether it’s all right to share the invitation with a writers’ group or critique group.

Sorry, but no. Everyone’s welcome to follow along. It’s “writing in public,” after all. But please don’t share the invitation to participate.

However, if you want to share the invitation with a friend who’s also avid regarding the craft (so a pro or wants to be a pro), that’s fine.

For example, DWS doesn’t subscribe to this Journal. But if he emailed me and wanted to post his own challenge from my site, of course I’d sign him up.

Anyone can set a goal and embark on a challenge of this kind at any time on their own, and I encourage them to do so. But I have to limit participation on the website.

A Thought on Writers’ Groups

First, a disclaimer: Whatever works for you is fine. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

My personal take on writers’ groups (critique groups, etc.) is this:

I would kill, maybe literally, to meet regularly with a group of other professional writers and aspirants.

In that sort of “group,” the attendees would strive to contribute new information on what works and doesn’t work for them in the business and-or craft of writing.

Those are extremely rare because most pro writers and serious aspirants would rather stay home and write. That’s why I follow sites like those of DWS and Kris Rusch and J Conrath and Kevin Tumlinson and Robert J. McCarter and others.

Then there’s the TYPICAL writers’ group, of which there are hundreds.

In those, would-be writers gather, maybe share a meal, and listen to a speaker present a program during which he or she spouts the same tired old clichés regarding writing.

Uhh, No.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out late at just before 4. That was annoying, because I was wide awake at 2:30, but opted to sleep-in. Time is so precious, and I just tossed half a handful of it overboard.

I wrote all the stuff above and listened to the podcast mentioned in “Of Interest” below. I hope to write sometime today, but it’s Sunday. Maybe a lazy Sunday.

Moved out to the Hovel at around 10. I started working on the novel again, and noticed there was another short story in it.

I copied and pasted the excerpt to a new file, wrote a new opening (398 words) and now I have a new stand-alone short story. I love when that happens.

During the interim, my son left, headed north again, and before that he lost a screw out of his glasses. I had some extras, so I fixed them for him.

Around 1 or so I moved back to the house to write a little more on the novel. But it’s definitely a lazy Sunday.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “A Couple of Fun Things” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-couple-of-fun-things/. If you don’t, you’ll miss a couple of important links. (grin)

Check Kevin Tumlinson’s site at http://kevintumlinson.com/. Check his Blog. Check his Podcasts. A lot of good stuff on his site. The segment with Dean begins at about 10 minutes into the WordsLinger podcast.

Fiction Words: 1933
Nonfiction Words: 600 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2533

Writing of “The Fight” (short story, derived from the novel)

Day 1…… 0398 words. Total words to date…… 2701 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169

Total fiction words for the month……… 34641
Total fiction words for the year………… 327548
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98160
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 425708

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 563 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176