The Journal, Friday, 7/10

The Day

Rolled out at 2:30. Checked email and, from that, a few journal entries. Congrats to my friend Bonnie for a good start on a personal writing challenge. Also had an email from my buddy Dan, to let me know he’s on his way down. We’re headed for the Lower Gila Box on a camping trip this morning around 6.

And just then I realized I hadn’t written the story of the week yet. (grin) So as soon as I finish this basic post, I’ll get on that. I don’t like to limit a story, so I probably won’t finish it today. I’ll write the opening and see where it goes.

I’m posting this mostly so I can pass along the topic of the nnight. I’ll catch up on numbers etc. when I get back.

Topic of the Night: Just Start

Yesterday and the day before, “Just Start” was the first point of the topic of the night.

It would be EASY to allow my conscious mind to rationalize this opportunity away. My writing ‘puter is turned off (I usually just put my computers into sleep mode so they’re ready to go). My writing ‘puter also is packed in its handy dandy travel bag.

So the conscious mind says to write, I’d have to get it out, turn it on, plug it in, etc. Wouldn’t it be better to wait until we get to our campsite? Then, after things calm down, the day’s hiking is finished, THEN maybe I can write.

See? That’s the conscious mind trying to stop me from writing. It has all sorts of tricks. (Today it didn’t work. grin)

And another conscious-mind ploy is already under way because I’m still writing this nonfiction blog post instead of writing my story of the week. (grin) Not Writing Fiction comes in many guises. You have to guard against it, or at least be aware of it, at all times.

And the easiest way to beat it is to Just Start. Which is where I’m going right now. (grin)

The Writing
Started the story of the week, to be finished on the road. (grin) Aren’t challenges and streaks fun? This one is due to post Monday morning at 9 a.m.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 2238

Writing of “(as yet untitled)” (story of the week)
Day 1…… 2238 words. Total words to date…… 2238

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… 2178 words. Total words to date…… 28056
Day 12… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 18790
Total fiction words for the year……………… 424473

The Journal, Thursday, 7/9

The Day

Rolled out at 2:30. Checked email and went looking on CraigsList for a shell for my pickup. I don’t really use it as a truck anymore to haul things that don’t need protection from the weather, so….

Will spend the morning in Tucson for doctor and other things, including picking up that shell.

Another good walk this morning, though only a little over 4 miles. The 7.4 yesterday wore me out. (grin)

Took my camera with a different lens. Got some pretty good pics, but nothing to post today. What does this have to do with writing? I use the camera mostly for book cover pics and secondarily for art pics. Sometimes the pic gives me a story idea.

So I visited Dean’s site again, and again he wrote a great topic. I urge you to check it out. Just because you hit your goal for the day doesn’t mean you have to stop writing. You can move on to the next project or next goal.

Well, as it turns out, reporting the day today will be easy. Thanks to the proficiency of the medical profession, it was pretty much a total loss.

I showed up in Tucson at Pima Heart at 9:30 for a 10:15 appointment. I was to have an echo done on my heart, have my pacemaker checked, and then visit with the doctor to receive the results of the echo.

I was in the back at 10:10. My echo took a little longer than usual but went fairly smoothly, and the pacemaker check went like butter. I was out of those two by 10:30 with assurances that “We’ll call you in a few minutes for the doctor.”

JUST UNDER THREE HOURS later I was called back and put in a room. About ten minutes after that, the doctor came in, told me everything was fine, and dismissed me.

I am not pleased.

From there we went to a late lunch at Jimmy John’s. (A high note.)

And from there we went to buy a used camper shell for my pickup. The price was fantastic, the guy helped me put it on the truck, and finally, finally, I got back here just in time to write this note and watch NYPD Blue.

So no new topic today, and no writing. I’m reposting yesterday’s topic in case anyone missed it.

Tomorrow morning EARLY I go camping. Probably will be gone through Sunday. I won’t post during that time but will catch everyone up on Monday’s post.

So thanks for your patience.

Topic of the Night: A Repeated Few Notes On Goals

1. Just Start — Yes, I understand you have Xxxxx going on tomorrow (or next week or whatever) but no, that is not a legitimate reason to put off setting a goal or starting a challenge. Why? Because there will ALWAYS be one Xxxxx or another starting or stopping or going on. There will always be birthdays and vacations and movies you’ve been waiting forever to see and so on and so on. If you want to start a challenge, just start.

2. Missing Isn’t the End of the World — If you miss your goal, what happens? Nothing. The same thing that happens when you achieve your goal for the day. Nothing. So don’t sweat it. If you vow to write 3,000 words of publisable fiction per day and you write only 1200 one day, nobody’s gonna come beat you up. Your house won’t suddenly be foreclosed. The bank won’t suddenly come get your car. Nothing happens. So challenge yourself already. Set goals.

3. Adjust Your Goals as Necessary — If you challenge yourself (or set a goal) to write 3,000 words per day and you just can’t make it and feel that you need to back that off to 2,500 or 2,000 or whatever, that’s perfectly all right. Again, it’s YOUR goal. It affects nobody but You. If you only write 1000 words per day (that’s about an hour) five days per week that would still be 20,000 words per month. That’s a 60,000 word novel in three months, and that’s taking every weekend off and only working one hour a day.

4. Set Other Goals Too (em) I have to shed some fat. Beginning today, my goal is to walk at least 4 miles per day. Every day. (It’s just walking.) And yes, I’m going to keep a journal to motivate myself. Last year I lost from 205 down to 174 pounds.

Okay, this is a biggie. IF ANYONE OUT THERE would like to post your numbers on a website (similar to the way I do here), let me know and I’ll set you up with an account on another website. Right now several other people have accounts but only a few are using the site. I’d be happy to let you in if you want in. It’s a good way to get support from other professional writers and hold yourself accountable.

The Writing
No writing today but I AM taking my writing ‘puter with me on the camping trip. If I can’t hammer out 3000 words a day while I’m out there then… well, I just don’t know.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: XXXX

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… 2178 words. Total words to date…… 28056
Day 12… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 16552
Total fiction words for the year……………… 422235

The Journal, Wednesday, 7/8

The Day

Rolled out at a little after 1. Checked email and took care of some other housekeeping type matters.

Had another good walk this morning. I set out to do 6, but with various side trips to line up pics, I ended up with just under seven and a half miles. Great walk. And so far I can still move. (grin)

Went out about 4:15, was at the two mile mark (per the road signs) by sunrise. Got some pretty good pics. I switched back to my 105mm prime lens. All former Marines who take photos should use a 105mm. (Inside joke.) Anyway, after breakfast and a shower, I got a load of laundry started, then posted some pics to Facebook. You can see them here.

Then over here to write on this for a little while. I’ll write the topic of the night now, then go write my own stuff for awhile, then do whatever else and report it all here.

There is a GREAT BLOG TOPIC over at Dean’s site. It’s all about attitude. Go read it. I command you. (grin)

Okay, I did nothing the rest of the day but write, except that I allowed myself to be distracted by Facebook comments on the pics I posted there. Usually I’m pretty good about turning away from this (business) computer but not today for some reason.

And then I had what I thought was going to turn into an emergency with a long-time Marine Corps friend, but it wasn’t. At this point, only three of us remain from the earliest days of our unit at Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. That’s just unreal to me. And when I emailed one of those guys today, the email bounced with “no such mailbox.”

Freaked. Me. Out.

But I called and he’s still around. Thank goodness. I’m gonna go see him in August and then probably swing up to Lake Havasu City and visit with the other one.

Topic of the Night: A Few More Notes on Goals

1. Just Start — Yes, I understand you have Xxxxx going on tomorrow (or next week or whatever) but no, that is not a legitimate reason to put off setting a goal or starting a challenge. Why? Because there will ALWAYS be one Xxxxx or another starting or stopping or going on. There will always be birthdays and vacations and movies you’ve been waiting forever to see and so on and so on. If you want to start a challenge, just start.

2. Missing Isn’t the End of the World — If you miss your goal, what happens? Nothing. The same thing that happens when you achieve your goal for the day. Nothing. So don’t sweat it. If you vow to write 3,000 words of publisable fiction per day and you write only 1200 one day, nobody’s gonna come beat you up. Your house won’t suddenly be foreclosed. The bank won’t suddenly come get your car. Nothing happens. So challenge yourself already. Set goals.

3. Adjust Your Goals as Necessary — If you challenge yourself (or set a goal) to write 3,000 words per day and you just can’t make it and feel that you need to back that off to 2,500 or 2,000 or whatever, that’s perfectly all right. Again, it’s YOUR goal. It affects nobody but You. If you only write 1000 words per day (that’s about an hour) five days per week that would still be 20,000 words per month. That’s a 60,000 word novel in three months, and that’s taking every weekend off and only working one hour a day.

4. Set Other Goals Too — I have to shed some fat. Beginning today, my goal is to walk at least 4 miles per day. Every day. (It’s just walking.) And yes, I’m going to keep a journal to motivate myself. Last year I lost from 205 down to 174 pounds.

Okay, this is a biggie. IF ANYONE OUT THERE would like to post your numbers on a website (similar to the way I do here), let me know and I’ll set you up with an account on another website. Right now several other people have accounts but only a few are using the site. I’d be happy to let you in if you want in. It’s a good way to get support from other professional writers and hold yourself accountable.

The Writing
Finally got back on the horse today. Not as much writing as I’d liked, but the story is flowing again.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 2178

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… 2178 words. Total words to date…… 28056

Total fiction words for the month…………… 16552
Total fiction words for the year……………… 422235

The Journal, Tuesday, 7/7

The Day

Rolled out at 2. Checked email, then did some things with an old friend’s website. Cleaned it up a bit.

Had another good walk this morning. Just under 4.5 miles out along a rural road out here. I used to walk in town but I don’t care for getting bit by all the “good” dogs out there who “wouldn’t harm a fly, really.” Right.

Checked Dean’s blog. More on that in the topic of the night below.

I’m taking a day off my own writing today. I have a routine appointment with my doctor in a little over an hour, so just kind of killing time until then. After that, probably lunch (since I’ll already be in town anyway) and then back here.

Okay, the trip to Benson is over. Back here I didn’t do a lot. Just kind’a rested for awhile.

And no, none of that has anything to do with the doc appointment. All of that was fine. As I wrote in a poem one time, “It’s time to reconnect some frazzled ends, / unbend a few warped planes, demagnetize / a short in my long circuit.” (grin)

Wes threw me a curve a couple days ago, something huge and completely unexpected. I’m gonna give it a day and a night to ferment. Note: I’m NOT going to think about it and wonder what happens and all that. That isn’t my job. I’m just giving my subconscious to decide what it wants to do, where it wants to go with this new plot twist.

(Yes, there is a plot. Per Ray Bradbury, plot is not something you carefully plan out. Plot is the tracks the characters leave as they run through the story.)

So back at it tomorrow.

Topic of the Night: The Value of Personal Challenges

Dean Wesley Smith started on July 1 with a new personal challenge: he would write a short story every day during the month of July. At the end of the month, he’ll compile all of those stories and the accompanying blog posts in a book titled The Stories of July. I’m pulling for him.

Folks, here’s a guy who has 40 years as a professional writer and well over 100 novels traditionally published. Yet he still sees value in setting goals and challenging himself specifically.

He has said in his blog for the past three days that if he hadn’t challenged himself to write those stories, he wouldn’t have written them. Even though he was exhausted toward the end of his day, he forced himself to write the story on each of those three days because he had challenged himself and he didn’t want to fail in the challenge.

In that way, he gave power to the challenge, and in that way, he increased his body of work by three more stories.

If at the end of July he’s written only 30 stories or only 28 or something, certainly he will have failed to success. But for my money, I think the earlier in a challenge you fail, the harder it would be to continue the challenge the next day.

Add to that the power of streaks. The more consecutive days he goes with a new story written each day, the harder it will be for him to allow that streak to end. At that point it becomes “Well, I’ve written a short story on each of 12 consecutive days, how can I just let the sreak die today?”

And that’s the power of streaks.

The Writing
Nada today.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: XXXX

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 14374
Total fiction words for the year……………… 420057

The Journal, Monday, 7/6

The Day
Rolled out at 2:30.

Had a good walk this morning up an arroyo. Four wheeler ATVs hadn’t torn it up too badly, but neither was the sandy bottom quite as packed as I hoped it would be from the rain. Back on roads for awhile I guess.

Been just doing little or nothing most of the morning.

Topic of the Night: Quick, Somebody Stop Me

I hate misunderstandings. I despise them. I screwed up the challenge thing I was trying to do, so I’m withdrawing it, period.

I allowed myself to be turned sideways on the challenge I issued, so I’m pretty much calling it off. I didn’t have any outright takers anyway, so not like it’s a big deal.

One respondent whom I respect as a writer didn’t want to post stories to a website because she’d rather publish them to Amazon and Smashwords.

I don’t blame her. That’s what I do with mine, but I do that PLUS posting them online. I leave the “free” one up on the site for a couple of weeks, and then I take it down. But it’s also up (for sale) at Amazon and Smashwords, and it’s there forever. (If you want to read some of my fiction free, visit HarveyStanbrough.com and click the Free Story of the Week tab.)

That’s what I would have recommended to anyone who took me up on the challenge. Once a week you write a new short story. You post it to the site, but you also create a cover for it and publish it to Amazon and Smashwords. And then you take it down from the site a week later. Simple.

But this whole idea is just silly, really, from my point of view. To make it happen, I have to set up a new website (I don’t mind) and tweak it. I have to teach any participants how to use it. I have to keep a list on hand of user accounts and passwords and take time to help users with various and sundry glitches. And really, I don’t have time.

So I’m withdrawing the offer. Dumb idea in the first place.

But hey, if you’re a writer, unless you routinely write 3,000 to 5,000 words per day without needing to resort to any kind of motivational “tricks” like challenging yourself,  I strongly recommend you challenge yourself.

  • Challenge yourself to write XXXX publishable words per day.
  • Challenge yourself to write a new short story (or essay or chapter or whatever) every week.
  • Challenge yourself, create a streak, and then keep the streak going. You don’t have to believe me, but I’m telling you, it’s magic if you want to become a prolific professional writer.

If you want to show off your work on a website (in addition to publishing it to Amazon and Smashwords) and if you already have a website, you’re all set. I you’d like to do that but you don’t have a website, maybe I can help you with that. Let me know.

So forget the original challenge, and forget the ridiculous “revised” challenge.

I get so fired up about what’s working for me that sometimes I forget: what works for me isn’t necessarily what will work for everyone else or what everyone else will want to try.

Okay, now I’m gonna write for awhile, finally. (grin)

The Writing

I dawdled. When I try to do something to help someone but I don’t explain it so they can understand it I feel compelled to make it all better. My “challenge” fiasco apparently helped no one and let me rope myself into explaining it. And that’s what I did, off and on, most of the afternoon. So I allowed my writing time to slip away.

Mea culpa.

The good thing about daily goals is they reset every day. Tomorrow, I have to write 3000 publishable words of fiction. I don’t have to make up for what I messed up today. Woohoo!

Today’s Writing

Fiction words: 1585

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878

Total fiction words for the month…………… 14374
Total fiction words for the year……………… 420057

The Journal, Sunday, 7/5

The Day

Rolled out at 2:30 but after being awake and dozing off an on for two full hours. So I’m starting the day with sand in my eyes. Ugh. Happens.

Worked on my Audio Lectures website over at http://HEStanbrough.org to make it responsive as well. I think that’s all for websites until someone takes me up on the weekly challenge. Only took an hour. Kind of a fun diversion.

Over on Dean’s website yesterday (July 4) was a bit on holidays. Interesting. It’s my take as well. (A “holiday” is just another day, or the way I put it, sun comes up, sun goes down.) And then on July 5 there’s a much more interesting piece on the importance of challenges and streaks. I’ll talk more about that in the topic of the night, below.

Then I’ll go to Wes Book 8 and write for awhile. Unsure what the rest of the day will hold, although I’ll probably watch a few NYPD Blue episodes, and I’ll probably watch at least some of the ladies World Cup soccer championship between the USA and Japan. If you enjoy watching soccer at all, this ladies team is really something to see, the way they constantly pressure the opponent. Extremely good team.

Topic of the Night: Challenges and Streaks as Goals

Everybody here already knows a dream is something that’s wonderful to hope for but that is outside of your control. That is, it depends on other people, circumstances, and so on.

But a goal is something that is entirely within your control. It is something that you CAN attain.

You also know I’m a big believer in setting recurring goals, goals that re-set at regular intervals, like daily or weekly or monthly. Although a month is a long way to see at one time.

It’s a lot better for me to say I’m going to write one short story per week instead of saying I’m going to write four or five short stories per month, or fifty-two short stories per year. If I took the longer view, I’d get down to the last few days of the month and find myself having to write four or five stories. Or I’d get down to October and realized I need fifty-two short stories before December 31. Ugh.

So I set short-term goals and let the longer terms take care of themselves.

I set a goal to write 3,000 words per day, plus one short story per week, plus (loosely) one novel per month. But if I hit my daily goal, the other two won’t be a problem.

Challenging yourself is nothing more than setting a recurring goal. In fact, I think you can’t challenge yourself without setting a goal.

And a streak is both an incentive and a goal. Like my short story a week challenge. I set it for a year. The year was over on April 6, 2015. But I’m still going because Streaks Have Power. Once you get a streak going, it’s very hard to just stop. And it all goes into your personal literary canon, so what’s the down side?

The Writing
Not a bad day writing today. For numbers, almost a repeat of yesterday. What was weird today is that it all happened in two very quick sessions. (grin) I guess my conscious mind is so tired that it just stepped aside while the subconscious was playing. I figure I keyed about 1200 words per hour today.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 3186

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293

Total fiction words for the month…………… 12789
Total fiction words for the year……………… 418472

The Journal, Saturday, 7/4

The Day

Rolled out at 1.

Spent an hour or so just waking up, checking out a few websites. I shouldn’t do that. Most often when I look at other websites that have anything to do at all with writing I am disappointed or flat out annoyed.

  • JA Konrath is an avid supporter of Amazon Kindle Unlimited. For some reason, he apparently sees nothing wrong with supporting Amazon’s drive toward a monopoly.
  • Another famous guy constantly talks about being certain to hit plot points and rewriting etc. which is contrary to everything I teach. He (and his editor) do occasionally come out with some good stuff so I won’t diss ’em too bad. Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne. Also a major shout-out to Jeffrey Simon, Steven and Shawn’s web guy, who taught me out of the kindness of his heart how to send more than one blog from one URL. Thanks Jeff!
  • CampNaNo (I heard) expects around 1600 words per day (they think that’s a lot) and preach that writing sloppy is all right. Plus some of the completely irrational crap I read from some of the folks who participate just flat boggles my mind. (I do know there’s also some good things coming from good people on NaNo and I know some of you probably swear by it and that’s fine. I just can’t handle all the negative stuff I hear people telling writers who don’t know better than to listen.)
  • And then there’s ol’ Chuck Wendig, who is a prolific profesional writer and could do SO much good but still preaches rewriting and a bunch of other stuff that I believe is mega-bad advice. He also feels compelled to curse, purely gratuitously, in very annoying ways. I guess the fact that there’s simply no reason for all the garbage language is what makes it so stinkin’ annoying.

Every time I do browse the web like this (about once every other month or so) I feel so very frustrated for all the young writer minds out there that are being twisted out of shape by these successful people who are sitting back and flinging the smelly stuff far and wide. I absolutely abhor it.

Then I remember all over again why I’m so very glad I finally found Heinlein’s Rules and Writing Off Into the Dark and the (most of the time) true common sense of people like Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rush. Bless their hearts. And I don’t mean that as a Texas epithet.

Turning to the writing ‘puter now to write the next short story. This is number 100 overall and the 71st story I’ve written since April 15, 2014.

Okay, finished the short story in three average sessions. About another hour to create a cover, publish it to Amazon and Smashwords, and post it to my website. This is not only number 100, but it’s also the first ever to be posted to the main site. Hope it works. (grin)

In the meantime, if you want an advance look, you can find it on my main site at HarveyStanbrough.com. Just click the Free Short Story of the Week tab.

Oh, re the challenge I issued yesterday, it’s a GREAT way to hold yourself accountable. So jump on in.

Topic of the Night: No topic tonight. Sorry. Too tired.

The Writing
went very well today. Conceived of, wrote, and published “Death of a Persona,” a dark but humorous jaunt through the imagination. My personas are characters in this one. Eric Stringer’s personality really shines through. Read this one, and I think you’ll see what I like about Eric. And why I had to let another persona go.

I was going to write some with Wes too, but I decided to take the rest of the day to do nothing. My brain’s tired. (grin)

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 3201

Writing of “Death of a Persona” (story of the week)
Day 1…… 3192 words. Total words to date…… 3192 done

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 9603
Total fiction words for the year……………… 415286

The Journal, Friday, 7/3

Happy 4th of July Independence Day to everyone. Hope it’s an enjoyable one for you.

The Day

Slept ’til almost 3 this morning. Woohoo! But a little late to work.

Okay, first, a very brief announcement. Beginning with tomorrow’s post (so July 4), this particular post will go out at 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. As it is right now, sometimes this post cuts into my real writing time. Can’t have that.

I wrote the topic of the night for this post, then posted a similar one to the Pro Writers blog (the main blog, over 500 subscribers). That post will go out on the morning of July 5. You guys get the challenge first. (grin) See below.

I was hoping to walk this morning (that would be right now, 5 a.m.) but sporadic rain and a hellacious wind negated any possibility of that.

Now that I have most of this post written, I’m moving  over to my writing computer to spend some quality time with Wes Crowley and friends.

As part of the day this morning I remembered that although I’d written the story of the week (“Saved”), I forgot to post the cover on the website on The Short Fiction page. Got that done and then, for some reason, I did a count. Sixteen rows of six book each, plus three: 99 short stories, 99 covers. Goodness.

The next short story I write will be my 100th short story, and the 71st story I’ve written since April 15, 2014. As of July 6 (Monday) in my own story-a-week challenge there will have been 66 weeks. In that time, I will have written and published 71 short stories. Not too shabby for an old guy. (grin)

Topic of the Night: Issuing a challenge

Okay, it’s probably been way too long since I issued a challenge. I’m issuing it here first. I will also send it out on my Pro Writers blog (the main blog, over 500 subscribers) probably tomorrow.

This is only an effort to help some of you get to writing. The good thing about a challenge is that you may choose to accept it or not. Completely up to you.

This challenge comes in two forms:

1. Write one new short story every week. The story may be any length and any genre (other than graphic erotica), as long as it has a setting, characters, conflict and a satisfactory resolution. That last one’s a biggie. If it’s missing either conflict or resolution, it isn’t a short story. It’s maybe a vignette.

2. If you don’t write short stories, then your challenge is to write at least 5,000 publIshable new words every week. (This can be from a longer fiction work in progress [WIP] or in memoir or even creative nonfiction.) Or maybe you don’t have a WIP. Here’s the perfect opportunity to write that novel you’ve been wanting to write.

I will set up a website where those of you who accept the challenge may post your weekly story. (grin) Again, this is all up to you, but if you don’t show your story to others, how can you prove you wrote it?

A few things up front:

1. You retain all rights (copyright) to your work. Seriously. I’m a writer too. I don’t want to steal your stuff.

2. You may use a pen name on the site if you want. No problem. Just let me know what it is and I’ll set up your account that way.

3. Nobody’s going to critique your work. That isn’t what this is for. This is only to get you to the keyboard, to get you writing. Birds fly. Fish swim Writers write. I probably will close comments on the website.

4. I can’t guarantee you a particular number of readers, obviously. I do encourage you who participate to spread the word to your friends, family, etc. This will be a great opportunity to gain new readers for your work, and for the other writers on the site.

5. Of necessity, I reserve the right to remove any writing from the site at any time. I also reserve the right to close any account at any time.

So there you go.

If you want to accept the challenge, please leave a comment below or email me directly at harveystanbrough@gmail.com. (That’s a lot of stuff. I recommend you click the link or copy/paste rather than trying to type it in.) Please let me know your desired pen name (the name under which your stories will be published on the site).

I will respond fairly quickly. If you haven’t heard from me within a few hours, email me again.

Once I begin receiving the names of a few participants in this challenge, I’ll set up the site and send out the URL, login information and brief instructions to all participants.

The Writing
My own writing went well today. GAWD I love this writing into the dark stuff. Bradbury said if you don’t surprise yourself, how can you expect to surprise the reader. Absolutely true.

In the writing yesterday, the mayor revealed something to Wes that made me stop typing and sit back from the computer for a moment. It was incredible. And then today, Wes did the same thing. We even had an old friend from way back in Book 3 pop up here sixteen or seventeen years later.

Wonderful and absolutely the best fun you can have with your clothes on and without a fishing pole in your hand.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 3201

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107

Total fiction words for the month…………… 6402
Total fiction words for the year……………… 412085

The Journal, Thursday, 6/2

The Day

Rolled out a little after 2.

Well, first, very pleased to report all three of my blogs are now in one central location. In the upper right corner of my new website, you can now click a link to subscribe to the Story of the Week, The Daily Journal, and/or The Main Blog (Pro Writers category). When you subscribe, your email address will be added to whichever list(s).

If you’re subscribed to The Main Blog, you will receive that post in your email every ten days (1, 11, 21 of each month). If you’re subscribed to the Story of the Week, you will receive a freshly minted short story in your email every Monday. If you are subscribed to The Daily Journal, you will receive that post in your email every day just after 6 p.m.

Not a lot to the day today. Tweaked the website a bit more. Added a My Personas page and then a page for each persona. That was kind’a fun. I also put a new short story on the Harvey Stanbrough page and on the Eric Stringer page. So if you aren’t subscribe to the story per week and you’d like to read a couple of really good short stories, stop by there.

I wrote a little bit, then had to a pretty good walk, then tweaked the site a bit more. Then I wrote a bit more. That’s the whole secret to being a writer, as I think I talked about recently in a topic of the night. It isn’t just writing all the time (nobody deserves that much Heaven). It’s coming back and coming back and coming back.

Topic of the Night: Dean Wesley Smith is Insane

Of course, I mean that in only the best possible way. (grin)

Dean issued himself a new challenge. He’s going to write a new original short story every day during the month of July. Even I am not that insane. But I am thinking of starting a pool to bet on when he’ll break the streak. I might even tell him about the pool. Maybe that’ll keep him going for 31 stories in 31 days. (grin)

Also, remember that his “day” is not like most people’s day. His day begins at around 1 p.m. and goes until around 5 a.m. the next morning.

I urge you to go take a look at his blog today.

Also take a look at his topic of the night. It’s about creating and using a Title Generator. Interesting stuff, especially if you can write a story off a title. I often do that with my short fiction.

The Writing

Decent day of writing today. I feel like I’m building up slowly or something. I could have hit at least another thousand words today. The story’s really rolling. But when NYPD Blue came on, I psyched myself. I decided I’d turn on the TV and turn up the sound and just LISTEN to NYPD Blue but continue writing. Then I’d watch all five episodes on Sunday anyway.

Nope. It’s just too good a show. When I turned it on, I stopped for just a moment, was drawn in by the hook, and spent the next 45 minutes (no commercials on Audience) watching an excellent show.

So I got just a little over 2000 today. No biggie.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 2486

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906

Total fiction words for the month…………… 3538
Total fiction words for the year……………… 408884

The Journal, Wednesday, 7/1

The Day

NOTE: I’m trying something today with this blog post. I’m sending it from my main website at HarveyStanbrough.com. If it goes only to those who are signed up specifically for this journal, then it’s all good. If you are reading this and you are NOT signed up for this journal (formerly FrostProof808.com), please accept my apologies. Thanks.

Rolled out a little after 2. Wow. July just kind’a snuck up on me. Even as I was posting this note yesterday, I didn’t equate 6/30 with the end of the month.

My goal for the month of June was to mimic the month of May in word count and get 80,000 words. I didn’t. I fell short by about 14,000 words, but I’ll take 66,000 and call it good. (grin)

I have to get labs done at 7:30 this morning for a doc appointment next week so I didn’t want to start anything with the novel yet. So I continued working on websites a bit this morning, tweaking here and there. By the way, if any of you would like to talk about websites, themes, plugins etc. just email me. I’ll help in any way I can.

So web stuff for the first two and a half hours of the day, and then I came here to do this. I’ll finish what I’m gonna do here, and then go over to the main blog and write at least one post (maybe two or three) and schedule it for publication. I like to stay a little ahead over there so I don’t have to worry about it.

Then I’ll go do the labs and then back here to write.

Wound up working with the website again. Sigh. The day’s nearly over for me so I’m gonna prep this for the test I mentioned in the opening sentence.

Topic of the Night: Writers’ Conferences

I was invited to speak at the Missouri Writers’ Guild conference in Kansas City next April. They want me to present in two breakout sessions (45 minutes each) and then teach a master’s class on the final day. They’re paying me pretty well plus airfare, hotel and food, so yeah, I’m going. (grin) It’ll be kind of fun after not having presented at a big deal conference for so long.

At one time, I presented at 18 in a year. That was rough. Anyway, I say that so you understand where I’m coming from here. I’ve presented at a lot of conferences and I’ve always given attendees something of value. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case at all conferences or with all speakers.

Many speakers have no problem taking the fee and then dropping names for half their presentation time, telling attendees all about the famous people they’ve met.

Other speakers will do the same thing and then spend half the presentation time hyping their own books or other products.

Yet others simply don’t know what they’re talking about. Some people take a great deal of pleasure in teaching things they don’t know. Perhaps it makes them feel better about themselves or something. I don’t know. There are FAR more of this kind of presenter at conferences now than there used to be, probably because of the money crunch.

But my point here is just this: Before you attend a conference, do your research. Unless it’s Breadloaf or the Iowa Writers’ Conference or something like that. Do your homework. Look up the presenters. What have they accomplished, especially in the topic they’re presenting?

Actually, the same goes for speakers at any gathering of writers. If you go and listen and buy into bad information, it’s really difficult to dislodge that and replace it with valid information.

I think it was Mark Twain who once said it’s much easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they’ve been fooled.

So hey, be careful out there.

The Writing
Weak start to the month. I’m not stuck or anything. Allowed my attention to be diverted by this new bright, shiny obejct. (grin) Back on the writing tomorrow.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: 1052

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420

Total fiction words for the month…………… 1052
Total fiction words for the year……………… 406398