The Journal, Saturday, 9/12

Up a little before 2 this morning. Writing before 3:30. A little delay this morning because I was (and am) tending to my kitten.

Yesterday, something outside scared her badly. She raced in, then through the house looking for a place to hide. For some reason she didn’t hide in her safe place under the bed. Instead she ran back into the kitchen, up on the counter, then up on the cabinets. The tops of those are nearly eight feet off the floor.

She was stuck there because there was no room to turn around. I ran back into my office to get a small chair so I could get her down, but by the time I got back she had already jumped to the tile floor. In the process she hurt her left hip. Now she’s having trouble even jumping from the floor up to my desk.

So I’m kind of watching over her this morning, babying her and so on.

I don’t think she broke anything, but either way she has to take some time to heal. But she’s very much a free spirit so I have to watch to make sure she doesn’t jump from too high up and keep irritating the injury.

For example, her food bowl is in a broad window alcove next to my desk, so it’s about 30″ off the floor. After she eats, she wants to jump straight to the hard floor, so I watch and redirect her to go off the front of my desk onto a chair, and then from there to the floor.

So I guess that’ll be the next few days.

This falls into the Life Happens category, and in this case, it takes precedence over everything else.

No walking again today. I don’t want to be out playing in the desert when my little girl decides to do something she isn’t up to right now.

After I filed this post yesterday I put together a cover for “Harold Nickel’s Last Dime.” In addition to writing today, I hope to get the formatting done on the two stories I’ve finished and on the one I will finish today.

Oh, just in case you’re wondering, I’m sticking to my one story a week goal too. Each story I post as the free story of the week was written during that week.

Update: Finished the last story, “Exotic,” at about 4:30. The cover fell into place and I published it to D2D. The numbers are below. Makes me feel like a real writer again.

Topic of the Post: Writing When You Can
Sometimes, like today, life intervenes in your writing time. In most cases, though, it doesn’t keep you from writing. Most of the time it merely adjusts the times that you write and the length of time during which you are able to write.

Some people (I am one of them) are fortunate in that they can slip into and out of the Alpha state of consciousness at will. Most people can, actually, though most people aren’t aware they have this ability.

But they do. Let me prove it. When you were in school taking a test, were you ever stuck for an answer even though it was right on the tip of your mind? Did you put your pencil to your lips and roll your eyes upward, as if the answers were written on the ceiling?

Yep, most of us did that. And most of the time, the answer “came to us,” just as we knew it would.
I’ll bet you do the same thing when you’re writing and you suddenly find yourself stuck for a particular word. You roll your eyes up or you stare off into space for a moment. And often as not, the word comes to you.

The physical act of rolling your eyes up triggers Alpha and accesses the subconscious. The physical act of staring off into space slows the electrical activity in the mind to Alpha rates as well.

And that’s why this technique works. Because we are accessing our subconscious mind by dropping into Alpha for a moment.

Okay, so why is the ability to slip into Alpha at will important? Because Alpha is the beginning stage of what we call the subconsicous. And the subconscious is MUCH better at telling stories than the conscious, critical mind.

So writing when you can — Most people, writers included, have more time available to them than they know. Most of the writing I get done today will be in ten minute to half-hour increments. If you write about a thousand words per hour (that’s only 17 words per minute), you can write about 170 words in ten minutes or 250 in a quarter-hour. Do that several times during the day (when you can) and the words will build up into the thousands. And the story will get finished.

So don’t worry about it. When you have a few minutes, sit down at the computer (where your story is already up on the screen) and just have fun. Immerse yourself for a few minutes or a half-hour or an hour in the sheer joy of running through the scene with your characters, writing down what they say and do.

Which is where I’m going right now.

My Current Challenge and Goal
Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. To satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, meaning they have to be over 2,000 words. If I write anything shorter than that, it will count on my numbers but not toward the challenge. Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
Writing around the kitten was a challenge in itself, but one I gladly performed. I’d have been pleased with any amount of writing today, so it all turned out really well. Super well. And all of it was writing in small increments. I hope in another day or two she’ll be back to her version of normal and we can both get back to our usual roles.

Fiction Words: 4531

Writing of “The Old Jenkins Place” (short story)
Day 1…… 1856 words. Total words to date….. 1856 words
Day 2…… 1357 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words (done)

Writing of “Exotic” (short story)
Day 1…… 3174 words. Total words to date….. 3174 words (done)

One thing about these stories — I just have to write them. I don’t have to rush to slap a cover on them and publish them. All of that’s going to come later, although I will pick one each week to be the story for that week. At the end of the month if I’m successful in my challenge I should have 40 publications: 30 individual stories, six 5-story collections, three 10-story collections, and maybe one book titled The Stories of September.

Total challenge stories for the month…… 4 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 13199
Total fiction words for the month………… 14789 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 479830