Choices, and a Toast

Hey Folks,

Well, here’s another interim blog post. Part Two of the writing setting posts will be here on November 11.

In the meantime, two quick notes:

Dean Wesley Smith, in the Topic of the Night in his Blog Post From Yesterday, which I finally found early this morning, wrote an excellent, brief article about making choices.

In addition to talking about making choices, he provides a technique that really works to help you find “extra” time in your schedule. I’ve taught some of my writing students the same technique. He says to do it for four days. I recommend a week, or at least that you include a weekend. During the extra time you find, you can choose to do one thing or another.

One of the choices most long-term professional writers make is to follow Heinlein’s Rules. Here’s a Free, Annotated Copy if you want it, in PDF. When the window opens, click File > Save Page As (or Save As) and save it to your desktop.

I’ve been an adherent of the Rules for about a year and a half. Recently, I fell off. I allowed myself to be sidetracked helping folks move websites and used that as an excuse to not write.

Ugh. Seriously. Even after writing over three-quarters of a million published words of fiction in the 365 days that began on October 19 2014, I recently allowed my critical mind and fear to creep in and stop me from writing. So I’m just saying, I hope all of you are on Heinlein’s Rules, but just know that you have to always guard against the old myths of writing creeping back in, and the fear of rejection.

Anyway, back to it today, right after I post this. I have several story openings to choose from and a new short story due on Monday.

So that’s my motivational writer pitch for the day. (grin)

Now to matters just a bit more serious, tomorrow is the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. As I try to do each year, I offer this toast to my fellow Marines:

May your days be vibrant,
your evenings calm,
your heart safe and warm at home.
Semper Fi

And here’s the current Marine Corps Commandant’s Message just in case you’re interested. Enjoy.

‘Til day after tomorrow, happy writing.


6 thoughts on “Choices, and a Toast”

  1. I’m glad you’re back on track Harvey. That niggling doubt and fear of rejection are so persistent. I’m glad you hitched up your pants and kicked it in the teeth. Write on!

    And Happy Birthday to the Marine Corp!

    • Thanks Alison. This seems to be a cycle for me, albeit one during which times of nonproductivity are far (like months) between. Thank goodness. (grin)

  2. Thanks Harvey! However, Rule #3 makes me cringe a bit. YIKES! No rewrite? I’ve often read: “Writing is re-writing.” I’m sure you know what Hemingway said about his first draft. Am I confusing re-writing with editing? I understand the business model, logic, and need to quickly produce content, but I question the ability of my right (creative) brain to work effectively without at least some guidance from the left (logical). However, I am intrigued and encouraged to cogitate on the idea and give it a try.

    • Mike, the idea is to write it as cleanly as you can the first time through. Then you send it to a trusted first reader who looks for inconsistencies, etc. and then you publish it, period. You learn to trust your subconscious to tell the story. I teach a whole audio course on it called Writing Off Into the Dark. It’s well worth the $$. This technique and Heinlein’s Rules completely turned my world around as a writer. Think about it. The great old pulp writers wrote for about a penny per word. If they rewrote everything, they were losing money. Many of them wrote up to a million (or more) words per year of PUBLISHED FICTION. And that was on manual typewriters. (grin) You just have to practice putting all these ugly writing myths behind you.

  3. Thanks. I remember reading your post back when you started the Writing Off Into the Dark. Sounds like a fun project. I’ll give it a go. I have always found your commitment to the craft and encouragement to be a source of inspiration from “Day One”. Nothing is more refreshing than to see someone dedicated to their calling. Keep blazing the trail, marine. “Ooh Rah!”

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