The Journal, Wednesday, 8/12

The Day
Rolled out a little after 3 again this morning.

No walking today, that’s for sure. Tomorrow morning should be a good walk again if it isn’t raining.

Spent the better part of the morning rearranging my office. I got rid of some stuff and placed some stuff where I want it. The rest I just stored in the corner of my office until I’m in the mood to go through it. At any rate, it’s all out of the living room, where it’s been ever since my wife painted my office. Ugh.

Checked out Dean’s site. He’s still posting a new chapter every day on his next nonfiction book, How to Write Fiction Sales Copy. Invaluable stuff, and he’s posting it free. Later he’ll take down the posts and sell the book, so get it now if you want it.

I turned to the writing ‘puter a couple times during the morning, but there was nothing there. I think Wes wants a breather, so I’m gonna back off him for awhile. I’ll return to the saga later if Wes chooses to share anymore of his life story with me. If not, well, then the saga will have ended with Book 8, The Battle of Tres Caballos. Either way is fine. We’ll see.

I’m not overly concerned. Since I started the first novel on October 25, 2014, I’ve written eight books in that series, totaling 323,478 words. During that same span of time, I also wrote another novel and a novella, totaling 79,199 words. And the short stories I wrote (only since October 25) total 131,377 words. So that ain’t too shabby. Since October 25, 2014, I’ve written 534,054 words of published fiction.

Over a half-million words since I wrote the first word on my first novel. I’m a happy camper. (grin)

Plus I compiled and published thirteen collections of short fiction. And designed 60 or thereabouts book covers. (grin)

I’ve been a very busy boy for the past almost ten months. (grin) But I don’t know, maybe now I’m gonna slow down a little. Or maybe not. Shrug.

Remember, I practice Writing Off Into the Dark. I never want to direct my characters, force them to say and do things. I want to have fun. I want to run through the story WITH them. I want to simply be there when they say or do things, when things happen to them, so I can write those things on the page.

So for now, I’m going to enjoy writing short stories, get caught up on publishing a few collections, and maybe wander off into another novel in another genre.

Or if Wes decides he’s ready to continue, we’ll continue.

For now, I’m going to chuck what I’ve already written on Book 8. It’s only less than three hours’ work, and it isn’t wasted. It brought me to the point of knowing it wasn’t the right opening.

Topic of the Night: Knowing When to Hang On, When to Let Go

Remember Kenny Rogers? He was a singer, initially with The First Edition where he “slipped on a cloud and fell eight miles high” and then “tore [his] mind on a jagged sky.” And all of that led him to say he had “just stopped in to see what condition [his] condition was in.”

But later he was a solo country-western singer and then starred as The Gambler. And in a combination of those roles, he once sang, “You got to know when to hold ’em [and] when to fold ’em.”

Yeah, I know that’s a long way to go to set up a topic of the night, but I like nostalgia.

Anyway, regarding Kenny’s advice, that’s all well and good, but HAVING to know when to hold ’em is one thing. But knowing HOW to know when to hold ’em is something else entirely.

I mean, it’s a good idea to know HOW to know whether to hold ’em, fold ’em, or just chuck the whole shebang into the river and start over.

This is an important concept in writing.

So how do I know when to let go of a novel or story or series and when to hang on?

Simple. If I feel like I’m having to “think” my way through it, I back away. Period. The conscious mind never did anything good for literature. I take a break (from a few minutes to an hour or more) and then come back.

I put my fingers on the keyboard. If nothing comes, I let it go. I fold ’em.

If words come, any words, I hang on for the ride and let the characters lead me through the story.

After you learn to trust your subconscious, it’s precisely that simple and it’s precisely that easy.

Today’s Writing
No writing today. I’m taking the rest of today off, period. Fresh start tomorrow with all possibilities open to me.

Fiction words: XXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 9569
Total fiction words for the year……………… 451969
Stay Tuned!