The Journal, Wednesday, 5/3

Hey Folks,

Topic: More on the Challenge

I’ve decided to label these “challenge” posts with the “topic” tag. These entries aren’t really topics, but I figure some folks might get some insight from these ramblings.

One requirement of the challenge is to write a new story every day for a month (old hat — Dean’s done it twice now). But to fulfill both requirements of my challenge, I also have to post each new scene/page as it comes through my fingers.

That presents a minor problem.

I love writing in the Hovel, but I don’t have Internet out there. I get online via my phone’s hot spot once each day at the end of the day to post my stuff.

But that uses data, and leaving the hot spot on all day would cost too much.

My grandson reports that the Internet signal from the house reaches the camping trailer, which is about 50 feet closer than the Hovel.

So for the duration of the challenge, I might have to move Hal into the camping trailer. (My grandson will be moved out by then.)

The other thing I’m thinking is that I want to post scenes, not just pages. (Most often my scenes are only a page or two long anyway, 600 to 1000 words.)

Posting scenes will enable me to focus subconsciously on cliffhangers and hooks, something I’m practicing right now. (grin)

I also think the “mini-story” between the hook and the cliffhanger will be more interesting for readers. And I’m thinking that could only be a good thing.

So that’s the first real variation from Harlan’s trick.


One writer on FB yesterday asked why I wasn’t jumping into the challenge right now vs. waiting for June or July.

The answer is, I’m clearing the decks physically and getting myself mentally prepared first.

Physically, I have a necessary trip to make this month, plus two days of the month were already gone by the time I decided to do this.

And mentally, if you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been lax in my writing lately.

After turning out 92,000 words of fiction in January, I turned out only a little over 59,000 in February, 56,000 in March, and 39,000 last month. So in April, I had a mean average of a measly 1300 words per day. That won’t cut it.

I’ve decided that every short story I write for the challenge will be range from 2,000 to 6,000 words.

So to prepare myself for that, I’m trying to write an average of 3,000 words per day through the month of May. Thus far (through 5/2) I have 593 words in the bank toward that average. So far, so good.

If I can get myself back to a “norm” of writing 3000 words per day on average, I’ll have a lot better chance of completing the more important goal of the challenge: at least one new short story every day.

Also, I’ve decided to begin the challenge on June 1. July is now my “emergency” month. I’ll slide the challenge to July only if something comes up between now and June 1 that prohobits me being able to complete the challenge in June.

An Administrative Note, or Shameless Begging

If you’re on Facebook, please support this challenge by visiting and clicking Like and Follow. Then share it with your writer or reader friends. (Those of you who already have, thank you.)

In the lead-up to the starting date, I’ll keep the page relevant by adding little tips for writers (and inside glimpses for readers). With any luck, I’ll make a dent in some of the myths of writing while I’m playing.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4. Did a lot of little stuff up until around 7:30 when I moved to the Hovel. There, I wrote much of the above.

9:15, out for a quick walk. When I get back, I’ll begin on the novel for the day.

I worked on the novel for about a half-hour, then headed to the house for some iced tea.
While I was there, I descaled the coffee maker with vinegar, put on a load of laundry (the descaling takes awhile), watered a row of vines outside and ate lunch (hot tortillas and colby-jack). Of course, I checked email and FB.

Back to the Hovel and the novel around noon-thirty. A break around 1:30, folded clothes and back to the Hovel.

Well, not quite as good today as yesterday. Still good on the average, though.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

From the StoryBundle FAQs page: “We’re always in search of awesome indie books, so we’re interested in checking out your work. If you’re an author, email us at”

Check Jack Giannis’ comment at Excellent. But there’s something erroneous in the comment that points at a lack of understanding. See whether you can find it.

Dean also posted about his new challenge (exercising). If you want to see that, it’s at

Fiction Words: 2893
Nonfiction Words: 830 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3723

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486

Total fiction words for the month……… 9486
Total fiction words for the year………… 257080
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2340
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 77030

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 334110

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 525 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Wednesday, 5/3”

  1. Dear Harvey-
    You’ve been my idol ever since I met you in 2010 at a SSA conference.
    Just wanted you to know that I do not respond very often but read every single word of advice you offer.
    Thank you!

Comments are closed.