The Journal, Sunday, 9/13: Writing When You Can

Up right at 3 this morning. The writing and tending to the kitten took their toll so I slept longer than usual, but she seems to be doing much better this morning. She spent a lot of time yesterday and last night resting and healing.

It’s odd how much she can put up with and how stoic she is about it. Humans could learn a great deal from little wonders like my girl. I’ve learned tons from her, not that all of it stuck.

I’ll get a little slower start to writing this morning, but I’m probably not gonna walk today so that adds a couple hours back in.

Stinkin’ coyotes are screaming this morning. Whoever first named those things “song dogs” must have been tone deaf. Or drunk. Or just a moron. Or maybe he was one of those guys who rubbed his palms together a lot while drooling through a smile and watching children being ripped apart by wild dogs. Ugh.

I did get to watch a little of the LSU @ Mississippi State game before I sacked out. Man, it’s like those LSU guys are from another planet. Geaux Tigers! I was also pleased to see this morning that Arizona and Oklahoma both won their games. And I guess Arizona put over 40 points on the scoreboard for two weeks in a row now.

Didn’t drop by Dean’s site yesterday so I did that as part of my waking up ritual this morning. Great post. I recommend it. All about the value of having the right writing group.  If you just go to his site instead of clicking on this link, you’ll have to scroll down when you get there.

I wrote the topic below, and now, as a thin line of pre-predawn blue draws across the eastern horizon, I’m turning to my writing ‘puter. Back later with zults and results.

I wrote for awhile on “Desecration,” a new story. Then I went outside for a little while, then came back in and created a new cover for the story. Then I remembered I needed to upload the four new covers I did earlier to my Short Fiction page on my website. There are now 107 covers on that page, including the cover for the story I’m writing today. (grin)

Finished “Desecration” and published it to D2D. That distributor provides an incredible experience. From the time I click Add New Book to the time I click Publish, it takes about 3 minutes.

Compare that to Amazon where the site seems to load FOREVER. And the process, when it’s uninterrupted, takes around 20 minutes. Ugh. Smashwords falls somewhere between those two, but I’m not using Smashwords anymore. It isn’t worth the effort. More on that in the topic tomorrow.

Topic of the Post: Revising Goals and Challenges
Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you. And that’s fine, as long as you aren’t dealing with, you know, an actual bear.

We set goals and challenges for a specific purpose. My purpose most often is to spur myself to greater heights with my writing. When the goal or challenge begins to falter in that purpose, it’s time to draw back and take another look at it.

Can you do that? Of course. There are three overall truisms about goals and challenges:

  • If you achieve your goal, nothing happens except maybe you feel good for a little while.
  • If you DON’T achieve your goal, also nothing happens. Except maybe you say “Darn it” and try again when the goal resets.
  • But if you change your goal for whatever reason, something DOES happen. You are invigorated. You have given new life to your endeavor, and you have given yourself the little push you need to continue.

A few days ago, I wrote that I’m not fooling myself into believing I can actually meet my goal of writing 30 short stories during the month of September. For the record, that’s 25 more short stories of at least 2,000 words each over the next 18 days (starting today). The problem is that “story” is not a set value.

If a “story” was exactly 2,000 words, I would know I have to write 50,000 words in the next 18 days. Is that doable? Absolutely. That’s less than my former daily goal of 3000 words per day.

But a story isn’t exactly 2,000 words. For example, the five I’ve written for the challenge thus far were 2485, 3213, 4329, 3174 and 2191 words. So I’m just sayin’, there’s not a real good chance I’m going to meet this goal and accomplish this challenge.

Still, I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel yet. To meet the goal and accomplish the challenge I have to write one story every day for the rest of the month PLUS seven stories. So for one week, I have to write two stories per day.

I finished my story for today AND created the cover and published it before noon. So I could easily write another story today, though I might not ’cause I might wimp out and watch football. (grin) Life happens, right? At least once a week.

But CAN I write two stories per day? Yep. As long as I think of them as “stories” instead of thinking of the number of words in them. It’s almost impossible to write 10,000 words in a day. It isn’t nearly as difficult to write two stories, both of which happen to be around 5,000 words long. (grin)

Now I do have a backup plan just in case I don’t reach my goal, and if I have to invoke it, I’ll even pay an appropriate penalty. But I’ll tell you about that if I don’t get 30 stories out on or before September 30.

Man, this is a lot of writing, isn’t it? But will it hurt me in any way, shape or form?

Uhhh NO.

At the end of this period of insanity I will have a LOT more short stories in my personal canon and (MUCH more imporantly) I will have jumpstarted my writing habit again.

You just can’t put a price on that.

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
A pretty good day. I wrote “Desecration” and got a good start on “The Day They Came” which feels like it’s going to be science fiction. I should be able to finish it tomorrow and then write another one to go with it.

Fingers crossed. I need some two-story days. (grin)

Fiction Words: 3628

Writing of “Desecration” (short story)
Day 1…… 2191 words. Total words to date….. 2191 words (done)

Writing of “The Day They Came” (short story)
Day 1…… 1437 words. Total words to date….. 1437 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX 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…… 5 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month…… 16827
Total fiction words for the month………… 18417 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 483458