Challenge,  motivation,  On Writing,  publishing

Welcome Back!

Time of Great Forgetting Almost Over…

So many writers (very few full professionals, but a ton of early professionals) just check out of writing and publishing starting in April and sort of return to writing and publishing in middle-to-late July.

Now it has logical reasons. Spring and good weather, family vacations, a ton of other things around the house that just need to be done right now. So all the great intentions of writers in January are just sort of forgotten in April.

Also, for early stage writers, the writing and publishing have not hit a level of importance yet to either them, or their family, to push them through. And the money is still light, which does not help either.

The problem is the returning in July or early August. The writer is too far behind to catch up from all the goals of the year, and thus for a time does nothing, wallowing in anger and self-pity. Which does not help at all, of course. (grin)

Usually by September the writers are back up and writing and learning and focused. Often with new goals set for the last four months of the year.

And then the process starts over again in January.

Professional writers, who have.a work ethic, just go right through this time period without more than a week or so bump. Early stage writers not so much.

So if you got hit this year with the Time of Great Forgetting and are now just wondering what happened, here are my suggestions.

1… Focus on August 1st to restart.

2… Forget you lost time. Can’t fix that now unless you have a time travel machine.

3… Set a five month goal and then monthly goals and then weekly goals.

4… Allow yourself to start slow and build back to speed by September 1st.

5… Tell your family what you are doing and get them to help you stay focused.

6… If you fall off your schedule, just climb back on the following week.

7… Make it a three-part schedule. 1) Writing, 2) Publishing, and 3) Learning.

And most of all, make it all a fun thing to do. Can’t be writing fiction if you are punishing yourself for missing months or making the writing and publishing too important.

Welcome back…


  • Sheila

    Yes, finally time to get back to work! In all honesty, July was going to be my month of getting back to a decent schedule. I’d planned for it, was looking foward to it, and then I got sick, some sinus thing I get a time or two every year. Usually not that bad, but then I got Covid. Almost a month later and I’m finally getting my strength back, though I seem to have memory issues and lack of focus still. Oh, well. Some improvement is better than none, right? 😀

    • Tari

      Thank you so much Dean.

      Yes, I fell Victim of the great forgetting with a lot of good intention and a lot of chasing projects that were not on the plan with a lot of questioning.

      It’s sometimes a struggle between a full-time job, classes, my personal creative books and wanting to write things that I might be paid for. And for my personal creative writings, I’ve been stuck for the better half of this year trying to fix things that cycling and a reverse outline would’ve have helped with.

      So, I’m going back and editing a novel of over 120,000 words (which I’m still writing) and another of over 80,000 words because I’ve also been away from both stories for a long time. But I do want to finish both.

      On most days, I am exhausted and I can’t (you’ll probably use the word “won’t” here) write on the bus home from work because
      1) most people are nosy and I haven’t gotten to the point where I can drown out their voices or not be distracted and just tell them the whole story instead of writing the scene.
      2) Public transportation where I live isn’t the safest. You could have your phone pulled out of your hands from the window or worse… It’s not always this bad but… It’s a gamble. Especially during traffic jams which are very frequent. For a clue, I live in Lagos, Nigeria.
      3) My phone (Am I being a bad workman by blaming my tool) which I could use to write is not the best thing in the world. The screen is small, and I make a LOT of errors when I type this way. I’m not great at touch typing but I believe I type better with a keyboard than with a phone. However, my typing speed is the same either ways.

      So, I had thought to get a mini laptop or tablet to type with on my traffic route at the beginning of the year but the safety of those devices in traffic is not guaranteed. And they are also not allowed on the office bus for the same reasons. So, I decided that a cheaper, smaller tablet like a 7-8 inch tablet would be better.

      It looks like a big phone so it’s not much of an incentive for someone to steal and it could be used in the office bus without much problems and it allows me to practice something you and Michael La Ronn had said about “little pockets of time.” Instead of expecting to have four uninterrupted hours of the day, make use of the little 15 minutes period.

      But, I currently cannot afford this from my full time job because
      1) I’d have to save for a long while and I cannot afford to out off writing for that long.
      2) My little sister needs a new phone even more than I need an extra writing device.
      3) I refuse to buy on credit because I literally just paid off a huge debt this year and I don’t like the feeling of living like I owe someone something.

      So, that’s where the idea of writing things I might be paid for comes. But the thing that do well on those websites are not the kinds of things I want to write and the type of books that are read on the website, conflict with me, morally and artistically. I can think up the plot of the books but I just can’t write them.

      So, I’m not sure of what to do… Except to plod along and edit on my little phone. I have an old laptop at home that works with a Bluetooth keyboard but it takes a long time to start and most times, I’m home by 7 and asleep by nine to wake up by 5 and leave the house by 6:15/20, between dinner and prepping for the next day, not always enough time to turn on the laptop and get any reasonable amount of work done until the weekend (if I don’t have work then).

      I wonder if I should put my writing (mostly editing/cycling at this point) aside for more time and write to make up the money I need for my sister’s phone and the little tablet/ a new faster but cheap laptop or if I should just keep working on my own writing.

      Mostly, I really just wanted to rant because my non-writer friends don’t get it and most other writers I know believe in outlining and rewriting and all that so, my writing to them is as strange as it comes. And for someone who types about 1000 words per hour on a good day (whether with or without an outline), I’m like the slowest writer I know because for both books, I’ve written into the dark mostly but because of the similar circumstances, I’ve been on these books for a long time.

      I feel like I have some myths in me somewhere. Like I know what I should be doing but for some reason, it’s not working out.

      I just want to hear from you what you think I could do, (because you don’t tell us what we SHOULD do) if you have the time. Just something to make it all a little better or to make it all make sense. A little direction. A little light. A little guide. Just something.

      • dwsmith


        Honestly, from the sounds of how you are living and the choices you are making, I think you are doing great. So honestly, where your problem is coming from is the self doubt and wanting to do more. Every writer I know or have ever met wants to do more. Nature of writing fiction.

        But sure seems like you are making good decisions and are on a good track forward. So to me what you might do is just stop doubting yourself. That is critical voice trying to stop you. Don’t let it. Believe in what you are doing, which honestly sounds a lot more than what many writers do in a lot better situations.

        Stay the course. Don’t get in a hurry. You are doing great!!

        Cheers, Dean

  • Kristi N.

    I am so glad we’re almost to August, even though I will be working harder than ever to get ready for the winter. Every year, May, June, and July have been my sticking points because there is so much to do outside to repair and clean up. This year I decided to fight to get any words down, even if it were only a hundred per day. When I’m outside working, I push to get more done so next year I’m not scrambling as much. I have to remind myself that I’m cleaning up 30 years of neglect (sometimes more) and give myself the grace of understanding it isn’t something I can fix in one year. And manual labor is a great way to let the subconscious work through story ideas and weave details into the stories I don’t know about yet.

    I won’t reach 4 million lifetime words this year, but I will reach 3 million, and that’s an accomplishment. Now I just need to position myself to make the most out of the next few months, and look forward to what I can do instead of focusing on what I didn’t.

  • Connor Whiteley

    Great post but “Professional writers, who have.a work ethic” don’t you mean a “play ethic”? Pro writers love playing in story after story.


    • dwsmith

      Yes, of course you are right. Just no one outside of fiction writing would understand if I said that. (grin)

  • Adrienne Wood

    Mea culpa–usually I just breeze right through the summer months and keep churning out the words. This year I completely forgot fiction existed. Nonfiction, no problem. I’ve been consistently putting out two newsletters a week. But fiction? It wasn’t until I got a (personal!) rejection email that was jolted back to reality. And realized that that was the last thing I had out for submission. Oops. Back on Heinlein’s horse.

    • dwsmith

      Welcome back from the Time of Great Forgetting, Adrienne. And I bet the newsletters had deadlines that kept you going, huh? Next year, fiction deadlines through this time will clearly help you.

      • Adrienne Wood

        Deadlines. Yes, an excellent reminder (and not the first one from you), because I know they work and I rarely think of them on my own. Thanks. I really appreciate all of your teaching.