The Journal, Wednesday, 1/25

Hey Folks,

Wow. New day, new story, new attitude. Frankly, I hope it will be another novel.

After-hours yesterday I created a new cover for The Claim. That’s it on the left if I remember to put it in here. (grin)

I’m falling behind, drastically, on my free story of the week. And I don’t really care. Which leads me to today’s topic.

Topic: Goals and Reality

First, for those who haven’t “heard” me say this before, Dreams and Goals are different critters.

A Dream is something you’d like to attain or achieve, but you have no direct control over it.

A Goal is something you yearn to attain or achieve and you DO have control over it.

Have all the dreams you want. They’re wonderful.

But if you ever want to get there, you have to set goals and work toward them.

The first rule in setting goals, at least in my world, is to keep them realistic.

At the outset, that means

1. making sure your goal something you actually yearn to achieve and

2. making sure your goal something that is within your power to achieve (i.e., not a dream).

So short stories. Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy writing short stories when a good short story idea occurs to me. Maybe a better way to say that is when a story idea occurs to me and it wraps in a short story.

When that happens, I don’t begrudge it. I just submit it or publish it. When I publish it, I also collect it with five or ten others, publish the collection and move on.

But the truth is, of late, I just haven’t been all that interested in writing short stories. I enjoy reading them and I love it when a story is well-turned.

But actively seeking to write them? Nah, not so much anymore.

Plus I’m bone weary of trying to keep up with the numbers. Did I write one this week? Oops.

And I’m tired of consistently, repeatedly failing to reach that goal — and flat not caring when I miss.

Folks, if it doesn’t bother you when you fail to achieve a goal, that goal isn’t working for you. Chunk it.

So I’ve abandoned my “one new short story per week” goal.

Naturally, without more stories coming in every week, soon my Free Story of the Week on the website will be discontinued. I’ve replaced it with menu item called A Free Short Story, and when I write one, I’ll publish it to the blog as well as to the general public.

Now, as an aside, I DO strongly believe in Bradbury’s advice to new writers to write at least one short story per week as a way to learn and hone the craft.

I once wrote at least one short story per week for 72 straight weeks without a miss. That’s a long time. I learned a ton about the craft, and I got more practice in that 72 weeks than many writers do in a lifetime. And incidentally, I don’t know of a longer streak anywhere. Even DWS was impressed.

So for me, my goal to write one new short story per week is kind of a “been there done that” sort of thing.

Shifting Gears

When I completed The Claim yesterday, I realized I’d broken through a barrier that I didn’t even know I’d erected. It was my 21st novel. The first one over 20. Somehow that seemed like a big deal to me.

Why was breaking beyond 20 a big deal? Shrug. I don’t know. But there it was.

And for me that explained why I was mired in a patch of the doldrums after I published number 20. I thought maybe I was through.

Of course, I wasn’t. I was just shifting gears. But for a terrifying moment, my left foot was caught between the clutch and the brake pedal.

But eventually I completed the gear change. I got my head out of my — no, wait. I freed my foot from the brake pedal. That’s better. And it’s full speed ahead to the only goals that really matter to me now:

to hit 4,000 words of publishable new fiction on writing days,

to write at least one complete novel per month this calendar year,

to publish at least 15 new novels during this calendar year, and

to publish at least 1,000,000 words of new fiction this calendar year.


Today, and Writing

Rolled out just a little before 4. Catching up on my sleep, I think. Per usual, I did little of interest before around 8 a.m. Then I moved to the Hovel and wrote everything above.

8:50, time for a break. During which I will also ship The Claim off to my first reader and cast about for a new story idea.

9 a.m., started the diswasher and went back to the Hovel to add the “Of Interest” stuff below.

Apparently I wasn’t quite finished with Kirski’s world yet. I remembered I had set aside a segment that I thought would make a good, if bone-chilling, short story. So I worked on that for awhile. No new words that I’m counting.

No rush, so I’ll do a cover for it another time. But for now the short story — “The Source” — is completed and formatted. And it’s 10:20.

Updating themes and plugins on sites a little, and time for another break at 10:30. That break turned into a shower, lunch and getting dressed.

11:40, back to the Hovel. I had the stupid mobile hotspot on and played online awhile. More time in the chair not writing.

At 12:20, a line occurred to me: “Stenson filtered up from a sound sleep.” I know he’s in a jungle, and I know he doesn’t know how he got there. Oh, and I think it’s SF. That’s it. Off and running.

12:40, I’ve put 730 words on the page. Came here to make this note and the one above it. Not a bad pace, writing into the dark. Until I come up with something better, the working title will be Stenson. 12:44 back to the story.

1:20, with 1480 new words on a new novel, I’m off for a brief break. Even after a break of only about 27 hours since I finished the last one, it feels SO good to be immersed in writing a novel again. (grin) I can easily understand why DWS said sometimes he wrote something and forgot to submit it for publication.

2 p.m., back to the novel.

Not a particularly auspicious beginning. The novel is running well, but I started late and ran out of time. So a little short of my word count goal today. Then again, not bad for only about three hours of actual writing.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See the comments on Become a Better Storyteller at

Then check out What Is Possible? (

Fiction Words: 3566
Nonfiction Words: 1140 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4706

Writing of Stenson (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 3566 words. Total words to date…… 3566

Total fiction words for the month……… 72874
Total fiction words for the year………… 72874
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 16180

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 89054