The Journal, Saturday, 7/18

The Day
Rolled out at 1:30. Checked emails and weather. I don’t mind being up a little earlier this morning since I want to make headway on this novel but I also have to visit Sierra Vista today. If the place there doesn’t have what I need that will turn into a trip to Tucson. Ugh. Hope not.

Started the day (after a waking up period) writing this post. Now, almost two hours after I got up, finally I’m turning to the writing computer.

Well the neighbor’s dog went nuts outside, triggering an hour long series of time-wasting crap. I hate it when a bunch of erratic stuff takes over and is so jerky and staccato that it seems to take only ten minutes and then I look up and an hour of my life is gone. I mean, I started this whole getting up in the early morning thing specifically to give myself a few hours of quiet.

Anyway, all of that led me in a roundabout way to doing updates for the websites I run for other people. I’d scream, but I know it wouldn’t do any good. (grin)

It’s all right. Life happens, eh? I just need to breathe. I anticipated a few hours of writing time early today because I have to go to SV later, but I don’t have to go to SV at a particular time. I’ll just put off the trip a bit.

And if I have to I’ll wait and go Monday.

No walk yesterday and no walk today.

Got to SV, found the parts I needed (the struts to hold up the shell “door” when I raise it) and a new lock. The lock didn’t work so I modified it. Still didn’t work but I can’t return it ’cause I modified it. So I started looking through all my old keys. Turns out I found one that will work fine on the old lock, so I’m all set. (grin)

Hardest item to locate is the weather-stripping-like hard foam rubber to seal the cap to the bed, but I’ve already come up with a solution for that so it’s all good.

Got two more hours done on Book 8 and now I’m gonna take a little break, then finish the writing for the day.

Almost ran out of time. This is supposed to post at 5 p.m. so I have to get it out. Makes my word count a little light.

Topic of the Night: Following Your Passion

I posted something about this awhile back. I might make this a post over in the big blog too. That’s the blog for those who think maybe perhaps they might want to consider pursuing the idea of thinking about becoming a professional fiction writer on the outside chance that eventually they are able to carve out ten minutes or so. To think about it. (grin) I’m kidding. Maybe.

That blog’s also for all levels of writers: hobbyists, aspirants, and professional writers alike.

But no matter the level of your aspiration or achievement, you should follow your passion.

That provides you automatically with two goals.

  • If your passion is writing, then write.
    • Note: If your passion is Something Else, then by all means do Something Else. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head here. And if your passion is drama, drape one arm over your forehead and complain constantly what terrible drudgery writing is, but that you simply must do it because you are compelled by forces greater than yourself. (grin)
  • And if you write, then write what you’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to be a particular genre. It can be a set of characters or a particular story line or an untenable situation or whatever.

The point is, it’s easy to sell out to what you believe the market wants. It’s also easy to stop writing and focus on selling what you’ve already written. And there are any number of other copouts.

What’s difficult in any art form (including writing) is to follow your passion DESPITE what your family and friends and critique group members say, and DESPITE lagging sales, and even DESPITE your own critical voice.

When I started writing full time, if you’d said I was going to write a western ANYthing I’d have laughed in your face. No possible way would I write a western, despite my background.

But I wrote one story that turned out to be a western. Then I listened to the characters, who told me a story nobody else had written. I started writing it. Now it’s in the eighth book and I’m expecting the whole story to fill nine or ten books. And although the story contains strong elements of romance and fantasy (magic realism) and suspense, at its heart it’s a western.

I do not have a passion for writing westerns, but I do have a passion (am driven) to write Wes Crowley’s story. So that’s what I write. DESPITE the fact that the worst selling commercial genre for books is the western. (grin)

I also have a passion for writing Mario Puzo type characters, mobsters and the like. And little inner-city wannabe gangstas. And deep down inside I have an urge to write a detective series, maybe mixed in with the mobster characters.

I guess vampire and werewolf stuff is really big right now and has been for awhile. Yet I know I probably will never write a vampire or werewolf story. It just isn’t my thing. Even my magic realism is closer to reality than that stuff. (grin)

So as a writer, you have a decision to make: Follow your passion or follow the markets?

Today’s Writing
No comment beyond what’s above in the “Day” section. No time. (grin)
Fiction words: 3116

Writing of The Battle of Tres Caballos (Book 8)
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… 1730 words. Total words to date…… 29786
Day 13… 1083 words. Total words to date…… 30869
Day 14… 1784 words. Total words to date…… 32653
Day 15… 4018 words. Total words to date…… 36671
Day 16… 3116 words. Total words to date…… 39787

Total fiction words for the month…………… 30521
Total fiction words for the year……………… 436204

3 thoughts on “The Journal, Saturday, 7/18”

  1. “What’s difficult in any art form (including writing) is to follow your passion DESPITE what your family and friends and critique group members say, and DESPITE lagging sales, and even DESPITE your own critical voice.”

    I can so definitely identify with this, as well as you writing a western when you never planned to. Back after the class you had in Benson at the end of October was it? (or was that the first of November? I’ve slept too much since then to remember for sure), I shared that you talking about that resonated with me as just that morning I had gotten up and started an urban fantasy story just for fun (i.e. with no intention of publishing it). I had a whole list of reasons why I needed to stick to the genres I’d been working on (contemporary romance/WF/romantic-suspense & medieval fantasy in a world of my own creation), including the fact that all the “experts” tell you to stick with one genre and I was already breaking that “rule” by writing the ones I had been doing AND the UF story idea was about werewolves. Who in the world would read a Christian story about werewolves? LOL

    After you talked about your western, Harvey, I finished that story. Shortly thereafter, I published it. Decided you were right. If I was writing it, I might as well publish it, even if no one likes it, I’m having fun writing it, so I have nothing to lose by publishing. Since then, I’ve published 5 UF books – 3 short story collections (13, 3, and 8 stories respectively), a novelette, and a long novel – and have another short story collection in the works (9 stories with more to come), along with a story that could be anything from another novelette to another long novel, depending on how long it is by the time it’s done. Story ideas keep coming, so I keep writing. The interesting this is, those stories have found a niche audience I didn’t even know existed. SO glad I didn’t listen to all the reasons not to “waste time” writing them or to publish them.

    I’m still working on my other genres, too, but the greater variety makes it more fun for me than I had before!

    • Hi Dawn, Absolutely right on all points. The only thing that confuses me a bit, why not publish your collections in five-story AND ten-story books? When you write ten stories, that way you’d have thirteen publications out of it instead of only 11: ten individual short stories, two 5-story collections, and one 10-story collection. (grin) However you choose to do it, just keep doing it.

      • I publish them in whatever counts they come to me. There’s an overall arc to my short stories – like the 8-story series is a man’s journey from soldier to leader. They span over 100 years, but they are pivotal events in his life that are part of that journey. All my short story collections fit together like that. None of them so far have been stand-alones. I put the entire arc into one collection. If I was writing stand-alone short stories, I’d have no problem doing as you note, but with the way mine are written and the way they fit together, it would be like breaking up a novel in a weird place to split it into two pieces. Even my current short story series has an overall character arc. I have no idea how many stories it will be yet, but it’ll be done the same way as I’ve done the others. Each individual story then all compiled into one collection, all telling the story of a man’s journey from point A to point B. That one covers about 200 years. *G*

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