The Journal, Sunday, 11/29

Hi Folks,

Well, four good days in a row thus far. Before today. Missed my daily goal of 4,000 words per day on all four days, so not excellent, but good. With over 3,000 words per day on those days, that’s failing to success. Maybe I’ll tip 4,000 today.

I’ve found that several times in the (now) five days I’ve been writing this novel I’ve had to remind myself that it isn’t important. It can be any length. It can go wherever it wants to go and end however it wants to end. The day I finish this one, I’ll sit down and start another one. In other words, it’s not a major, difference making, earth shaking Event. It’s Just A Story.

(Yeah, I can hear the gasps. But seriously, a story, regardless of length, should be no more important in and of itself to a writer than the rebuild of an individual carburetor is to a mechanic or than a set of cabinets is to a carpenter.)

A man I consider a dear friend recently wrote to say he hopes I didn’t really delete the roughly 11,000 words I had written earlier on Wes Crowley #9. Perhaps I could simply save it with a different file name and use it later in another story.

But no. For this particular story, I deleted it. What I had already written had left me hopelessly stalled. That was my subconscious crossing its arms and saying, “Nope. We aren’t writing that.”

I started again five days ago, and yesterday I had 13,421 words.

More gasps. Still, that’s 11,000 “wasted” words, right?

Wrong. Those 11,000 words took me to the place where I knew the story wasn’t working. So I tossed them aside and started over. To go back to the carpenter simile, words for a writer are like nails for a carpenter. If one bends or otherwise doesn’t work, you chunk it and get another one.

When I write first to entertain myself, oddly enough a lot of other people like the story too. And if they don’t like it, what happens? Nothing. That’s how important it is.

Its only importance lies in the joy and fun it brings me when my characters say or do something I never would have thought of. (grin) To paraphrase Bradbury, if my characters can surprise me, they will certainly surprise the reader. And the joy of reading (and writing) lies in being surprised.

The Day

Rolled out right at 3, with allergies firing on all cylinders. So one new pill added to the regimen this morning. Hey, that’s my generation. If it hurts, throw a pill at it. (grin)

Anyway, a little longer wake-up period this morning. Writing this novel, I just feel good. Not rushed, not confused, not hectic. Just calm and easy and happy that I finally chose this job.

Today’s Writing

Great day of writing. Still not excellent, but a lot better than good. Everything flowed, there was minimal cycling back, and I put it all down in five slightly shorter than normal sessions of about 45 minutes each.

And for the first time on this novel, I hit my daily goal.

Now I’m gonna post a little early and watch the Cardinals whip San Francisco. Then I’m gonna try to extend my day and watch the Broncos (sans Peyton Manning) whip the New England Cheatriots.

Fiction Words: 4486

Writing of The Scent of Acacia (Book 9 in the Wes Crowley saga)

Day 1…… 3887 words. Total words to date…… 3887 words
Day 2…… 3092 words. Total words to date…… 6979 words
Day 3…… 3365 words. Total words to date…… 10344 words
Day 4…… 3077 words. Total words to date…… 13421 words
Day 5…… 4486 words. Total words to date…… 17907 words

Total fiction words for the month……… 26379
Total fiction words for the year………… 600252

5 thoughts on “The Journal, Sunday, 11/29”

  1. My favorite Steinbeck book is Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath. He kept the diary going while he attempted to meet his goal of writing Grapes of Wrath in 5 months. In it, we’re privy to his personal life: obstacles, distractions, self-doubt, and incredible determination. I think his journal is as interesting as the novel. Therefore, I hope you consider publishing your own journal at some point. Personally, I’m not interested in counting words. But what I do find interesting is your semi-rustic writing/publishing life among the cats, maintaining the truck, those sneaky coyotes, and even dealing with health issues. When that pesky thing called Real Life pokes its nose into our made-up worlds, it’s damned irritating. But it sure makes good reading.

    Glad to see The Journal continue.

    • You realize, of course, that you’ve encouraged me. Remember what you wrote here today, because when my version comes out, more than likely I’ll ask you to write the Foreword. I figure if I do this you should take at least that much of the blame.

  2. I really enjoyed this one. Having just published novel number two I was beginning to take myself and my audience too seriously. Fretting over some words already out there. Now I’m thinking about the story. Like the ones we tell around the campfire when camping. In a way it is similar. Each person tells a bit, leaves it at a dramatic point and the next person takes over. My characters do that and so apparently do yours. they tug at my sleeve and want their turn and sometimes they are a little bit worse ( or a lot worse) than the way I would have written them. I mean these last serial killers were realllllllly bad guys. So be it. It’s just a story. Thanks Harvey

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