The Journal, Sunday, 12/4

Hey Folks,

Another slow start this morning. But different. More relaxed. I could easily make this a day off, but I’d really like to resolve my current story. Either to finish it or ride along as it takes off in an exciting new direction that will turn it into a budding novel.

I’m such a dork. Remember all that crying and whimpering I did here a few days ago? I wrote that I had recorded my nonfiction books in a spreadsheet, then promptly lost it. For awhile, I thought maybe I hadn’t created that spreadsheet at all, that I’d merely thought about doing it.

Well, this morning I found it. I was doing a little research for the topic below when I found my nonfiction titles, all of them, listed among my fiction titles (by publication date) in the same spreadsheet. Sigh.

Well, at least I found it.

Topic: Goals Revisited

Seems everybody likes to set goals on January 1. That’s a great idea.

Setting a goal anytime is a great idea as long as it’s something you really want to do. Something you’re serious about. And most of us prefer to set goals on a “turning point” day. A day that feels like a new beginning. Hence the popularity of January 1.

I won’t get into common sense philosophy here: that every day (trite as it sounds) is the first day of the rest of your life. Or even that every day is the first day of a new calendar year.

Instead, I want to talk again about recurring goals, those that automatically re-set. Those that automatically and regularly give you a First to work with:

The first hour of the new day.
The first day of the new week or month.
The first day of a new year.

That’s how I look at goals when I’m establishing what I want to accomplish. When I finally go off-planet (or into the planet, depending on your point of view), I want to leave a massive body of literary work. Relative, of course, to the time I had to write.

Of course, that’s an open-ended proposition. We don’t know when we’ll be making that trip. Consequently, we need to do what we can Now.

Recurring goals help with that. They provide us with the Firsts we need:

If I set a goal to write a certain number of words per day, that goal resets in the first hour of every morning.

If I set a goal to write a short story every week, that goal resets on the first day of that week.

If I set a goal to write a novel every thirty days, that goal resets on the day after I finish the latest novel.

I don’t always attain my goals, but I always get close. I always achieve more than I would have if I hadn’t set a goal to begin with. In other words, I “fail to success.”

So when you set your goals, consider making some of them recurring.

As a related aside, this year on January 1, one of my recurring goals was to write one novel per month, so 12 during the year. (I later revised that, upping it to 15 for the year.) I won’t hit that goal. I missed too many months. However, thus far, even with the bad months, I’ve written 8 novels. I’ll take it.

But again, a “calendar year” can begin anytime. I started my first novel on October 19, 2014. So October 19 is the first day of my literary new year. From here on out, that will serve as my annual goal-setting date.

Of course, I’m a little behind in that endeavor. But that’s all right. Toward the end of this topic I’ll set my own new annual goals, here in public for everyone to see.

As I was writing this, I became curious. Just for grins, I glanced back over my Fiction spreadsheet this morning and isolated what I’d written from October 19, 2014 forward.

I was surprised to find that within my first calendar year as a professional fiction writer, I wrote 10 novels and a novella.

In the next calendar year (Oct 19 2015 – Oct 1 2016) I wrote 8 novels.

And in the current (for me) calendar year that began on October 19, 2016, thus far I’ve written one novel. Not a bad start on a new set of goals. (grin)

So my goals for the year, retroactive to October 19, 2016, are

to write a novel every thirty days. (This shifts my goal-reset from a fixed date to the first day after I finish a novel.)

to write at least one short story per week. (I’m already behind in this one, having written only 4 short stories since Oct 19, the past 6 weeks. But that’s all right. I’ll get back on track starting with my midnight Friday deadline this week.)

to write at least 3000 words of new publishable fiction every day. I’ve done this easily before. Probably I could push it to 4,000 words per day, but the lower number is still attainable when I take necessary days off.

Just an additional note on writing at least one short story every week. The purpose of that goal isn’t so much to write more short stories as it is to practice writing openings.

The more openings I write, the more will become short stories and the more will turn into novels. So writing at least one short story per week will help feed my goal of writing a novel every thirty days too. (grin)

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s, 22 comments now (good ones) on his An Interesting Assumption (

Today’s Writing

Other than all the nonfiction above, I didn’t get started writing until almost 10 a.m. I seem to be relaxing my way through the day today. Things were very intermittent after that.

I added a little to the story (not quite 500 words) but I’m not going to count this as a writing day. I’ll look at the story tomorrow with fresh eyes.

Interestingly, I’ve never had one quite like this before. If it’s a novelette, it’s finished. But just as I was about to write The End (figuratively), a notion flitted through my mind that these two characters want to continue, and they want me to go with them.

Thus far, it’s still about One Event. So maybe the characters have other events in mind? It’s becoming a boy-meets-girl thing, albeit in an apocalyptic setting.

And don’t get me wrong. All characters continue. But the invitation to continue running with them through the story doesn’t always come. This time, maybe, it did.

I’ll know tomorrow. Then I’ll either publish this as-is (a novelette) or I’ll climb back down into the story with them.

See you then.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1070 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1070

Writing of Ray Acuna (tentative title)

Day 1…… 2058 words. Total words to date…… 2058
Day 2…… 3752 words. Total words to date…… 5810
Day 3…… 1934 words. Total words to date…… 7744
Day 4…… 1587 words. Total words to date…… 9331
Day 5…… 2158 words. Total words to date…… 11489
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 5679
Total fiction words for the year………… 685373
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3050
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 260950

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 946323