The Journal, Friday, 9/18: Priorities. Choices.

Well, as you can see, I decided to skip straight to 7 p.m. with this blog.

In the ongoing email nonsense, stupid me, I did it again. I rolled out at 2:30, fired up to write. I got my coffee, checked email. Then I spent over an hour responding to one. Ugh. That’s okay. It’s the last one.

And this was completely my fault. I can’t control what others ask. I can control only my response. Okay, now I can check that re-re-re-realization off my to-do list.

Hey folks, if you wanna share jokes, pictures, or other sillinesses with me, that’s all well and good. I need a break like everybody else.

But if you ask me a series of serious questions only to set me up for “sparring” via email because you think it’s fun? No. Don’t do that. I will wish bad things for you.

I don’t do light banter and sparring for fun about writing. I will give you my own proven best advice. You take it, you don’t, no worries. But ask because you seriously want to learn, and at least consider what I send back.

Don’t do it just as a juvenile exercise in verbal sparring. That’s just annoying.

Of course, if you would do that in the first place, you wouldn’t be signed up for my blog(s).

Listen, if any of you have not yet read Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing and Killing the Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing, I strongly advise you to do so. You can find both of them free, every chapter, at Eventually he’ll take them down, so I hope you’ll go read them when you can. You could even save them into a Word document or something so you can look at them from time to time.

Well, as I said, I’m tweaking my retraining schedule again. No walking again today. Writing. Only writing and little breaks.

Yesterday I called time of death on my 30-short-stories-by-September-30 challenge. That was stupid. I still have time, and it’s still possible if I stop being a moron and misusing my time. So it’s back on. Yeah, I know. Indecisive. Hey, I’m showing you all of it, not just the good stuff.

Again Dean showed me exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time in his Topic today. He’s talking about his own challenge to write ten books in the last four months of this year. It took him 17 days to write the first one, so he’s behind a bit. He wrote, “So what am I going to do now that the first book of the ten took longer to write than expected? Write the next book, that’s what. It is a very long time between now and the end of the year.”

See? Isn’t that perfect?

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 still also intend to write 30 short stories before October 1. I have a ways to go on that one. (grin) Stay tuned.

Topic of the Post: Priorities and Choices
As you know (ad nauseam) I encourage those who would be writers to consciously set priorities. And you do set your own priorities, period.

Yes, I know other people and sitautions are affected, but barring absolute emergencies (the house is on fire, etc.) you still set your own priorities. If you make playing golf once a week your priority, then that’s what you do.

Then once your priorities are set, you still have choices to make.

Let’s say playing golf is your number one priority on Sunday. But on Friday, a good friend calls and asks you to bring your pickup and your trailer and help him move across town.

Well then you have a choice to make. Choices are up to you too. Do you say Sorry, but this is my golf day, or do you say, Sure, I’ll be right over? Up to you.

What brought this up? I said to a recent correspondent that if someone decides they WANT to write, after that it’s a matter of sitting down and writing. The correspondent maintains that some people really want to write, but they don’t because they have no choice.

Sorry. That’s pure, unadulterated bull cookies.

It’s all a matter of Priorities and Choices.

Writing is something a guy really wants to do. He goes so far as to carve out time to do so, say one hour per day for five days per week.

But when the time rolls around for him to write, he chooses to mow the yard instead. Or he chooses to accompany his wife to the grocery. Or he chooses to watch a sporting event. Or he chooses to help his friend move across town.

Then later when his writer friends ask how his writing is coming, he says, “Oh, I didn’t write anything this week. I had to [fill in the blank]. I really had no choice. But I’ll get it next week.

No, he won’t.

The point is, it’s always something.

Sorry, but I’m just not buying it. Been there, lived it, succumbed to and overcame all the writer’s fears, and I’m still here.

If you couldn’t tell, “I had no choice” is way up there on my list of detested complaints. If you want to do something, do it. If you don’t, don’t. Shrug. Seriously, with very few exceptions it really is that simple.

(Oh goodness. I’d really like to finish this story right now, but the house is on fire and the door to my office is getting hotter as I speak. Maybe I ought’a go out the window, with my writing computer, of course.)

Okay, enough of this. I’ve been up almost 3 hours. To the stories.

Today’s Writing
Today I learned two things. One, writing really is easy when you remember to trust your subconscious. (Doh!)

That is, it’s really easy when you just sit down, put your fingers on the keyboard, and write whatever comes. Don’t try to figure out what’s gonna happen next, etc. Let the story tell you, through your fingers, what DID happen next. (This is Writing Off Into the Dark).

And two, I learned that the story I’m writing about Norval Babineaux is NOT a literary short story about the Cajun culture set in Louisiana. In fact, one’a my characters, a woman named Marie Babineaux, put her hands on her hips, jutted out her chin, and said, “Hey you. This here ain’t no simple little Cajun thing, no. This here is one’a them complex deals. This here is mo’ complex than a fi’ty cent sale at the Dollah Sto’ when you ain’t got nothin’ but fo’ty-nine pennies. You see what I’m sayin’?” Then she snapped her fingers in front of my nose. “Hey, hey! Earth to Harvey. Get on the stick, Dude. I gotta get outta here an’ get in the stores. No more’a this sittin’ aroun’, you.”

It is a science fiction novella or novel that BEGINS in Louisiana and spreads around the world. It might be the first book of a saga or series. Holy cow. And I thought my next longer work would be either the 9th book of the Wes Crowley saga or the first book in a detective series. Go figure. What wonderful fun!

Fiction Words: 4139

Writing of “Norval Babineaux” (umm, novel)
Day 1…… 3405 words. Total words to date….. 3405 words
Day 2…… 1487 words. Total words to date….. 4892 words
Day 3…… 4139 words. Total words to date….. 9031 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………… 32439 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 497480

Tomorrow I break a half-million words for the year! Woohoo!