The Journal, Sunday, 1/1

Hey Folks,

Long post today. First, happy new year. Again, I hope 2017 is the best year yet for all of us. And that is within our power. All we have to do is choose to make it the best year ever.

Things will happen that are outside our control. But how we react is ALWAYS a matter of choice.

From the For What It’s Worth department…

There’s another 80/20 truism floating around among humanity. Most humans spend 80% of their effort on themselves and 20% on others (give or take a few points, for the purists out there).

A very wise person (I honestly don’t remember who) once told me the broadest path to a happy life is to get out of my own 80%.

Another wise person once pointed out that the more tightly we focus, the less we see. Focusing too tightly clouds our vision and causes us to miss untold opportunities that might have led us to what we want.

* * *

To the writing, all goals reset today.

Looking back, in 2016 I wrote 702,838 words of new, clean, publishable (mostly published) fiction. I wrote 273,460 words of published nonfiction.

Topic: It’s Goal Time!

Looking forward, for 2017 I will write at least 1,000,000 words of new, publishable fiction. I’m not setting a goal for nonfiction. Knowing me, I’ll probably spout about the same amount I spouted this year.

So my personal writing goals are to write

⇒ 3,000 words per day, beginning today, of new, clean, publishable fiction.

⇒ at least 12 novels this year. (Preferably I will write one per month, though end-of-month/beginning-of-month writing will overlap now and then.)

⇒ at least one new short story per week.

Some of you are thinking these are all goals I’ve set before, and you’re right. But not with a new person and a new responsibility in the household.

So some schedule adjustments are coming too. I plan to go back to rising earlier and then using that time to write rather than “wake up,” do admin stuff, etc.

Writing production, at its most basic, requires spending hours in the chair. I write 800 to 1200 words per hour. So in a typical hour of writing I get about 1000 clean, publishable words done. (That’s only 17 words per minute. It leaves a lot of time for staring off into space.)

My “hours” also more than likely will be segmented now: 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. That’s okay. How I reach the 3 hours / 3000 words doesn’t matter. What matters is that I get there.

So another goal will be to renew my commitment to Keep Coming Back. Interruptions happen. We can’t control that. But as I wrote at the top, we can control how we respond. (grin) My response will be Keep Coming Back until I hit at least 3000 words per day.

Today I’ll hang a sign over my desk in my house office:

Keep Coming Back
3000 words

Also, it’s probably important to note that I’m not entering into this set of goals EXPECTING to “fail to success.” I think that’s a bad idea. I’m expecting to succeed. Period.

A friend emailed me recently about goals and pointed out that goals reset every day or week or whatever time period you use.

That’s true, and I preach it constantly. But it’s true both ways. As Dean wrote a couple days ago, in writing, Attitude is Everything.

If you MISS a daily or weekly goal, yes, it resets to zero the next day or week anyway. But simply accepting that and installng it in your brain-housing group can kill your writing. It can enable you to become lazy. Believe me, I know. Been there, done that, got the “fail to success” t-shirt.

Failing-to-success is not the same as succeeding.
It merely beats the alternative of quitting.

If you EXCEED a daily or weekly goal, the goal STILL resets to zero the next day or week too.

So if you really strive to meet or exceed your daily or weekly goal, you will “bank” words in your average. And in this game, average is what matters.

I fully intend, right here publically in front of all of you, to meet or exceed 3000 words of publishable fiction per day. If I do happen to miss, at the end of the year all the days that I exceeded will make up for it.

That’s the plan.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, check out Got Your Goals? ( Endless gems to be mined here.

Check out the Smashwords blog: 2017 Book Industry Predictions: Intrigue and Angst amid Boundless Opportunity (

For anyone who’s interested, The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life is available for preorder in all electronic venues. It will ship on January 15.

Today, and Writing

I rolled out at 3:45 after a late (for me) night. I messed around with email, Facebook, and Spider, “waking up” (an excuse that’s going away soon).

I wrote much of the above, and at 7:30 finally turned to the story I started yesterday.

Well, within a half-hour I decided to move outside. Then it started raining. So I saved the story on a thumb drive and moved myself and my old writing computer back out to the Adobe Hovel.

But the AC adapter no longer worked. So I walked back to the house to find a good one. Long story short (with much omitted), I finally set to the story from yesterday at around 10:30. Finished it around noon and headed into the house for lunch.

Around 1 I read back over it (just over 3,000 words) and put a few finishing touches on it.

Now to begin another one to knock out my words for the day. (grin)

Nope. The short story that posted free on my site this week is also the first chapter of a horror/crime novel I started awhile back called (at the time) Jonah.

When I read the short story, it motivated me to revive that novel and go back to work on it.

To begin, I threw out everything I’d written earlier beyond the first chapter. Today, I read the first chapter again (also a short story) and then wrote only an opening sentence for Chapter 2. Just enough to give me a jump-start in the morning. So I fell far short of achieving my daily goal today.

However, it’s a start, and I’ll take it. Tomorrow morning (early) begins a new retraining session. I’m eager and anxious to get started on that.

See you then.

Fiction Words: 1628
Nonfiction Words: 1040 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2668

Writing of “Popper” (short story of the week)

Day 1…… 1890 words. Total words to date…… 1890
Day 2…… 1604 words. Total words to date…… 3494 (done)

Writing of Being Jonah (novel, revived)
(brought forward 4736 words)

Day 1…… 0024 words. Total words to date…… 4760

Total fiction words for the month……… 1628
Total fiction words for the year………… 1628
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1040
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1040

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 2668