The Journal, Tuesday, 7/7

The Day

Rolled out at 2. Checked email, then did some things with an old friend’s website. Cleaned it up a bit.

Had another good walk this morning. Just under 4.5 miles out along a rural road out here. I used to walk in town but I don’t care for getting bit by all the “good” dogs out there who “wouldn’t harm a fly, really.” Right.

Checked Dean’s blog. More on that in the topic of the night below.

I’m taking a day off my own writing today. I have a routine appointment with my doctor in a little over an hour, so just kind of killing time until then. After that, probably lunch (since I’ll already be in town anyway) and then back here.

Okay, the trip to Benson is over. Back here I didn’t do a lot. Just kind’a rested for awhile.

And no, none of that has anything to do with the doc appointment. All of that was fine. As I wrote in a poem one time, “It’s time to reconnect some frazzled ends, / unbend a few warped planes, demagnetize / a short in my long circuit.” (grin)

Wes threw me a curve a couple days ago, something huge and completely unexpected. I’m gonna give it a day and a night to ferment. Note: I’m NOT going to think about it and wonder what happens and all that. That isn’t my job. I’m just giving my subconscious to decide what it wants to do, where it wants to go with this new plot twist.

(Yes, there is a plot. Per Ray Bradbury, plot is not something you carefully plan out. Plot is the tracks the characters leave as they run through the story.)

So back at it tomorrow.

Topic of the Night: The Value of Personal Challenges

Dean Wesley Smith started on July 1 with a new personal challenge: he would write a short story every day during the month of July. At the end of the month, he’ll compile all of those stories and the accompanying blog posts in a book titled The Stories of July. I’m pulling for him.

Folks, here’s a guy who has 40 years as a professional writer and well over 100 novels traditionally published. Yet he still sees value in setting goals and challenging himself specifically.

He has said in his blog for the past three days that if he hadn’t challenged himself to write those stories, he wouldn’t have written them. Even though he was exhausted toward the end of his day, he forced himself to write the story on each of those three days because he had challenged himself and he didn’t want to fail in the challenge.

In that way, he gave power to the challenge, and in that way, he increased his body of work by three more stories.

If at the end of July he’s written only 30 stories or only 28 or something, certainly he will have failed to success. But for my money, I think the earlier in a challenge you fail, the harder it would be to continue the challenge the next day.

Add to that the power of streaks. The more consecutive days he goes with a new story written each day, the harder it will be for him to allow that streak to end. At that point it becomes “Well, I’ve written a short story on each of 12 consecutive days, how can I just let the sreak die today?”

And that’s the power of streaks.

The Writing
Nada today.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: XXXX

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 14374
Total fiction words for the year……………… 420057