What good shall I do today?

After I’ve had coffee of course.

I will be fortunate enough to attend a writing retreat at the end of May.  This is a selfish goodness for me. This is a holiday for me. And like any good holiday you need to prepare and pack, because as my wife says, “Pants are good”.


When I was a younger man and took a holiday it took me two or three days to forget about work and be present in the holiday I was taking. There were entire trips where I never lived in the holiday. Never enjoyed it, fully. I was an idiot. I can’t emphasize this enough. The stupidity of not enjoying, your holiday is fundamentally wrong. I would go so far as to say, evil. People who are kind and generous often learn this late in life. It’s sad and tragic. In my case one of the great regrets of my life. (I know, I know, suck it up princess, some people never get holidays)

Why do I mention this? Because I need to prepare for a holiday, and so should you. For me there are three areas I prepare:

  1. Health
  2. Soul/Spirit/Mind
  3. What to pack?

Health wise I try to start my healthy regime 3 or 4 weeks in advance. I am starting now to make sure that I am physically prepared. While it seems obvious, consider what you will be doing. What hours will you be keeping? Will you need to adjust your sleep cycle? How active will you be?

I am unaware of any holiday that doesn’t change your physical activity level in some way. Whether it is walking more, or using muscles that you don’t normally use. If you are going canoeing and you haven’t canoed all year there is a great chance you will have back problems, for example. Take steps to strengthen your back.

Drinking. Will you be drinking more? Or will you be drinking less? Figure it out make choices that don’t let what you drink determine if you enjoy your holiday. There is nothing worse then running out of your favorite gin half-way through a holiday, except running out of your favorite coffee.

When I canoed regularly we brought two coffee makers on the trip. One was the morning cup of coffee, big robust, plentiful, filtered coffee. The other was a stove top espresso machine, complete with demi-tasse cups. You immediately have new friends if you offer a hard core, freezed dried food canoeing team espresso.  The husband and wife who are traveling with their children drinking instant coffee will think you’re angels sent from heaven. And if you pull out a little Bailey’s , be sure to have kleenex handy for they will be crying.

I point this out for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t believe it is healthy to make major life changes when you are taking a holiday. Don’t try and quit drinking coffee on a holiday. Secondly, everyone needs an indulgence on a holiday, maybe’s it coffee and Baileys, maybe it’s pedicure or maybe it’s just sitting in a chair and reading undisturbed. Figure out what your indulgence will be, make it happen.  Health wise know your limits. And you don’t know your limits until you write them down. As I writer I know there is a significant difference between what I think I will write and what actually goes on the page. The written word defines something, places limits on it. Know what you are capable of and if you are found wanting try and get better.

So for this trip, I plan to try and write 5000 words a day. To do that I know that i will need to exercise to keep from being worn  out. That means that I am making sure I take long walks every day. It also means that I have the shoes that I am going wear while walking. No blisters from new shoes for this guy. That means I will be exercising more than normal, which in my cases, figuring out when and where. Simple enough.

Not so fast bubba Louie.

It’s not enough to walk more, although its a start, I also need to walk with a camera pack, because I know I will be taking pictures.

You are way boring and pedantic now.

You’re right, but for me, to enjoy a holiday I need to consider the details. Maybe you should too?


Be Well…dcd












Working hard on submissions. But what does that mean for dcdear?

First I have to get the piece written and presentable to one of the two writing groups I partake in: The Western Word Slingers or We Will Publish.

The Slingers meet m20171214_193507 (2)onthly and are more of a critique group. The WWP try and meet weekly for a write-in and communicate in a free Slack group on various writing topics. Each of them have different requirements for submission that I try to follow, not always successfully.

On the January list for the Slingers in the Prologue for a Steam Punkish Space Opera which I am pretty excited about. The words came easily and flowed pretty well. This is in the submission folder.

The WWP get a short story that I am struggling with. It will be submitted to try and make it into an Anthology. I may just post the hackneyed version and get the advice from the group. It certainly isn’t completely working yet.

But overall the goal is to get three novels submitted and hopefully rejected.

Rejected? Why do you say rejected?

Every author that I have read about has received rejections before being published and so I have determined that you must be rejected before being accepted.

Given my scatter gun approach to writing I will be looking at what overlapping tasks I can do to make the submission process smoother. Given this is a Thursday, I should be outlining. Which I will do.

One last note, I have the dreaded ManCold, therefore there is high probability I will spend the day on the coach watching re-runs of spongebobsquarepants.

The Great Snifler


Be Well.


DSC_2696Well I am sad to report that I have made some progress on Assassin From Earth.

My short term goal is/has been to complete a preliminary outline and then spend some hard earned money and have a Professional look at what has been done.

Being published is not a goal, completing is the goal.

So I am going to engage a writing coach for some brutal evaluation. Well, hopefully not brutal.  The problem that I have found with critiques is that friends are almost always too kind, or don’t have the expertise. People who have the expertise and work for free… you get what you pay for. There are some rare examples that I have found of people with expertise, and who are friends.

The best analogy that I can come up with is getting a massage, no not that kind of massage. I want a deep tissue massage and I am only able to get that from a professional. I have friends that do massage therapy, they will on occasion give out a free massage. But it is rare, it is their livelihood. Besides who wants to work on their time off?

That  chain of thinking lead me to seeking a professional. This is progress, I realized after I booked the appointment. Progress in that I have completed enough work to get an evaluation. It was a surprise to me that I have gotten that far. The progress has not been by long sessions of brilliance (trust me, this is not brilliant work), but by short sessions of just working through the process. What has been great, is seeing how the ideas transform in front of my eyes. Problems that didn’t seem solvable, resolving. Vague, misty characters all of sudden, clear, sharp – alive.

Very, Very, Interesting to look back and see the transformation.

But progress is more that checking off items on a list, the more important part of this bit of progress is that I think it will be possible to finish the novel. I had doubts if I could finish, but I now I see it possible to complete. As with all endeavors, regular commitment to the process yields results.

Progress has also brought another interesting side effect, happiness. Even typing the word happiness seems odd, old fashioned, cliched. But that is the honest fact. I am attributing this to the “Honeymoon Effect” of a new hobby.   I think though there is relationship between the micro rewards that gamers receive when playing games and completing parts of the novel process.

Checking items off a list is good for you. Just like completing the quests in video games, or the level in Facebook games. That little zap of happiness, of feeling good. Completing a job.

In today’s modern age we get very little of the completing of a job, even less do we get the “job well done” which is very important to our self worth. To make progress in writing is rewarding, and identifying that small micro rewards are good for your health, your mental health; that would make writing a prescription for health. The corollary is: you can be the medicine for someone you work with, tell them that they do a good job. Most of them do.

Remember, that we all need to make progress.

As Always – be well