I’m going to start with an oddity that veered straight into critical voice. Not mine. Someone else’s.

A writer on Twitter was likely looking for confirmation of his opinion/decision. He was doing a book cover for his book and didn’t want to put his name on the front. His friends told him he needed to put his name on the cover.

I told him the same thing. Readers don’t find books by titles; they find them by author name. Plus, there’s a standard the covers have. If something doesn’t follow the standard, the reader will pass it by. They won’t know why.

Publishing also tried something similar a few years back. They released a book that made the Washington Post because of the new style cover. The book title was just a letter like Q (I don’t remember what the letter was, but I’m a Star Trek fan, so Q works). So the publisher just put a big letter on a black background. No writer name. The commentary about how it looked reminded me of people lavishing praise on a white canvas with a black spot on it (and such a painting hangs in the National Art Gallery).

Readers? Well, no publisher has tried that type of cover again. I’m guessing the book tanked. I saw in Borders, and it did stand out, even from the stairs. But I couldn’t tell from the cover what kind of book it was.

So covers are pretty important at inviting the reader in. Well, when I told him that, he responded back with all the might of critical voice. According to him, having your name on the cover was for the artist’s ego…

He was actually quite hostile. I think he was afraid of success, so his critical voice was busy sabotaging the book.

Week 2 of excising Critical Voice from word count


  • Time Management: 863
  • Space Dutchman: 804


  • Time Management 1670
  • Space Dutchman – 1142


  • Space Dutchman – 862


  • Space Dutchman – 823


  • Space Dutchman – 800 *

*Approximate. My writing process is sometimes messy and things come in out of order. I’m writing in Scrivener for Windows, so I cut a section and put it into another chapter. I’d just looked at the word count, and then it jumped a thousand words. Not even the amount I’d cut and pasted! So there’s a bug involving the word count tracking in the tool.

Thursday & Friday

  • More work on my publishing website.

This project is an outgrowth of my inventory view. I hadn’t quite finished that. But because I’d focused on the speculative fiction side, I’d neglected the mystery side. I updated two covers (the first two) that were nagging at me and needed it, and better branded my Al Travers’ series with the third. I had trouble with it because it’s set in the 1940s and most of the images from that era are too gangster.

I also discovered that several of the mysteries were published, but I didn’t put them up on the site. I’ve been making sure when I publish or refresh, that’s part of the final step because it’s so easy to forget.

Reflections on Critical Voice

So far, it is always harder to get started on Space Dutchman, and it’s where I want to procrastinate. This is where it’s pretty important to have a set time to do the writing. That way, when the procrastination bug pops up, I’ve got the habit built in to migrate to the writing chair.

On the other hand, I can easily jump in on the non-fiction book. Critical voice has no problems with that (even when I’m writing about it. Go figure).

So my only expectation is to get used to hitting the 800 words under the rules.


I had a bit of a revelation this week with goals. I almost immediately fell off using the Focus Planner and the three goals. Some time management gurus would probably say that’s a discipline issue. But I just spent the week getting 800 words of fiction on the designated days. I was also in the Army, where discipline is its middle name.

I think this issue might be something unique to creatives. And I’m talking the people who go back again and again to create. Not the person who randomly decides to write the Great American Novel.

Most people need help via goals to get something done. There’s so much swirling around that the thing they want to do can easily drop off. Then a year goes by, and they’ve done nothing with it.

But creatives–we choose to go into our projects with the intent of finishing them. It doesn’t make as much sense to create a goal for it because we’re always pushing forward with the next story.

My 800 words of fiction was more of a rule to make sure critical voice didn’t mess with me while I was working on fiction. Having a physical goal on paper of doing it felt superficial. Checking it off? Meh. I get more excited over seeing that the story is almost done and having fun with the characters.

But it made me think about a book I read in passing: The 12-Week Year for Writers: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Your Writing Done. I think it had been on BookBub for pretty cheap, so I thought “Why not?”

It is goal-focused. The title is deceptive though. The 12 weeks is only for the first draft, with the assumption of revision. Two of the co-authors don’t have a lot written.

So maybe goals don’t matter that much, at least when it comes to fiction writing.