While making other plans

Dean Wesley Smith wrote a “filler” post for Sunday, just to keep his streak alive.

“Night like this, I wonder why I bother, but this streak after nine-plus years of not missing a day doing a blog is so powerful, I have to acknowledge it. Annoying,” he began. “Granted, I am writing here, but can’t begin to tell you how many times I wished this streak was nine-plus years of fiction writing without missing a day.”

Although my own numbers are exponentially smaller, I know exactly (ish) how he feels. How much further along would I be if I had faithfully logged 465 consecutive days of writing fiction instead of blog posts?

Well, let’s work this out. Scrivener informs me that so far this year, I had written 91,697 words for this blog From Jan. 1 through Sunday, posting in this blog every single day. If they had been words of fiction, using my goal of 40,000 words per novel, I would be a quarter of a way through my third novel of the year.

In a separate file, I see that I have written another 97,000 words for my day job – and those are just the articles I’ve composed in my home office. I don’t have an easy way of compiling how many words have emerged from my work on site, so let’s just focus on those 97,000 words – nearly another 2.5 novels’ worth.

Because, after a career writing short bursts of news, information and random thoughts, I probably write non-fiction faster than fiction, it wouldn’t be fair to say I could have composed five 40k-word novels by November had I set out to write only fiction every day, but let’s say more than one if fewer than five. (Actually, this gives me another idea, but that’s for another day when the idea is better formed.)

It’s not worth a minute of mourning, however, and here’s why: Over the years I’ve written and published 10 books, and I’ve published another seven books as an editor. Almost all of them contain content that originally appeared in this blog or one of its predecessors.

Of the 10 books I’ve authored, four are fiction, and the other six are all collections of blog posts. (Come to think of it, one of the novels and my flash-fiction compilation also originated from the blog.) All along I’ve aspired to be a writer of novels and short stories, but in reality, to paraphrase John Lennon, my books are what happened while I was busy making other plans.

Smith, of course, can say the same thing in spades. He has dozens of books out there that are “merely” compilations of blog posts – I own several of them. 

And so, blogging daily is a discipline that almost inevitably leads to published books. That is not why we write every day, but it is a delightful consequence.

+ + + + +

W.B.’s NaNoWriMo progress report – as of midnight Nov. 8

Novel 1 – 51.3% to 40k goal

Novel 2 – 40% to 40k goal

Plan for end of 2021 – completed – wait! Reopened and in process

Plan for 2022 – in development

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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