The Journal, Monday, 2/13

Hey Folks,

This Journal is kind of a social thing for me, isn’t it? I enjoy chatting with my friends each day. Thanks for being there.

If you didn’t read the topic in yesterday’s Journal you might want to read it before reading the one below. Just sayin’. You can find it at

* * *

Very strange night here.

One of the things that annoys me most are when people say, “One thing about [whatever state they happen to be in], if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it’ll change. Hyuck hyuck.”

I think the annoying part is that they say it, every single time, as if they’re imparting some great wisdom that nobody has ever uttered before.

The other annoying part is that it’s not only a trite cliché (because it’s true) but that it’s true of pretty much every state in the Union. Arizona is no exception.

Yesterday a cold front moved in. Temps dropped from 80° to around 50°. Last night it started raining at around 6. Thunderstorms with heavy lightning started around 7. Sometime around 9 the very heavy rain started.

Around midnight we had heavy nickel-sized hail. At about 1 I went outside to gather some of it. (After an hour at 48°, the hail was still dime sized.)

It’s now almost 3 and the thunder is still sounding. Oops. Just started hailing again. Pea-sized this time. Oops. Heavy rain now.

But it’s all right. This is Arizona. I’ll wait five minutes and it’ll change.

* * *

My little girl slept part of the night on my left arm per usual. But most of it she spent under the bed. I’d rather she was with me, letting me “protect” her. On the other hand, under the bed she’s taking responsibility for her own warmth and safety, a lesson many humans need to leart.

* * *

The Superstars Workshop (Seminar) Dean mentioned yesterday probably is good. But a tad pricey for me. If I had that kind of bucks, I’d sign up for one of Dean’s coast workshops.

Interesting to note, though, there are a LOT of books on the writing business and the writing craft, some by those who will present at Superstars, for a LOT less money. Just sayin’.

Topic: How Does Cycling Fit with Writing Off Into the Dark?

Some have confused “cycling” with “rewriting.”

One very good student of several of my own writing seminars recently wrote that she was about to perfom “cycling or rewriting or revising or redrafting or whatever other name you want to call it.” (Again, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.)

As I’ve written here before, the difference is that cycling is done with the subconscious, creative mind.

Rewriting and revising (and editing) are done with the consicous, critical mind. And redrafting — well, that means tossing out the whole thing but retaining the original idea and writing it from scratch again.

I mentioned in yesterday’s Journal that when I write off into the dark, I’m down in the trenches with the characters.

I’m running through the story with them, struggling to keep up, and writing down what they say and do and the settings they allow me to see.

After I’ve written a segment, usually after a break, when I return to the WIP I go back and read over what I’ve written on the characters’ behalf.

I’m reading it just as any other reader will read it: For the story. In other words, I’m not reading critically. I’m not critiquing it. I’m enjoying the story. I’m reading strictly for entertainment. Let me say that again. I’m reading strictly for entertainment.

I’m not looking at sentence or paragraph or chapter structure. I’m not counting to make sure I included all five senses. Of course, I’m also not checking to make sure I put a period after a declarative sentence or a question mark after an interrogative. Get it?

Don’t check for stuff that I’ve already learned how to do.

But as I read, my fingers are on the keyboard.

Sometimes, a character says something a little differently than I thought I heard him say it the first time.

Sometimes a character notices something in the setting that I didn’t see him notice before.

Sometime some action occurs that I missed while my attention was on some other part of the action.

And when any of that happens — again, as revealed to my subconscious mind by the characters in the story — I allow it to flow through my fingers and into the keyboard.

Ever watch a really good guitarist (think Clapton or Bonamassa or Walsh) as his or her fingers fly through a great lead riff? Do you really believe he (or she) is consciously fingering each note and plucking each string?

Uh, no.

He’s down in the song with the notes, recording on his guitar what the song gives him as he goes.

I can’t do that on my guitar. But man, I can do it on my keyboard. (grin)

And so can you.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 2 after being awake for an hour in bed. No telling what today will hold for writing. Spent the first couple of hours with email, coffee, Facebook, enjoyed a cigar and checked weather radar online. I also wrote the stuff above.

4:30 I was going to the novel but allowed myself to be distracted with some research on Luna that led to other stuff. For part of it, see “Of Interest” below.

Two hours on that stuff, then out for a cigar. Then the rain started again, so in my pickup for a cigar. With my laptop. Awkward. Just playing games. Too hard to type in the pickup.

Finally got to the novel around 8:30. I managed around 1000 words in the first (and only, so far) session. Then What Everyone Else Wants took over and I’ve barely had time to breathe.

So everything else today will be in minuscule bits and pieces. One of Those Days when I want to throw up my hands, close all open documents that have to do with my novel, put in a good movie and Wait For Tomorrow.

It really is all right. The novel is moving well when I actually spend time with it. I just need to be more disciplined. Or maybe lock everyone in the house, nail 2x4s over the doors and run out to the Hovel.

I’m just a little annoyed because I thought this was going to be a really great writing day. Go figure.

Okay, at 3:20 just back from a job interview (don’t panic, I’m only the driver) and will write for awhile. Woohoo!

But I guess it’s all good. I guess.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Encouraging… Really? at I feel much the same way, especially about that “being selfish” part.

Some incredible, unedited NASA footage of the secret Apollo 20 joint USA-Russia mission to the far side of Luna at There are notes at the beginning. After that, the interesting footage begins at about 6:15.

If you’re interested in maps of the moon, see

Fiction Words: 2046
Nonfiction Words: 1140 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3186

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556

Total fiction words for the month……… 28348
Total fiction words for the year………… 120958
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7570
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 27260

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 148218