The Journal of Failure – Week 5 of 2019



  • Goal – 100p / day, or 700 / week
  • Achieved – 776/700 – Success!

Writing – I Remember

  • Goal – 21 / week
  • Achieved – 12/21 – Failure

Writing – Fantasy Project

  • Goal – 1,120 words / week
  • Achieved – 0/1,120 words – Failure

Writing – Small Projects (Fragments, short stories, etc)

  • Goal – 12 minutes, 15 seconds / week
  • Achieved – 15 minutes, 20 seconds/12 minutes, 15 seconds – Success!

Writing – Large Projects

  • Goal – 24 minutes, 30 seconds / week
  • Achieved – 0/24 minutes, 30 seconds – Failure

Getting myself out there

  • Short story reviews – One (Two total for the year)
  • Submissions – Zero (Zero total for the year)
  • Rejections – Zero (One total for the year)
  • Acceptances – Zero (Zero total for the year)


Nice to see the reading has picked up!  I had an ok start to the week in terms of reading, but a really strong finish.  I cannot in any way place this at the feet of my daughter, who decided, on Saturday night, when her father (me!) was looking after her on his own, that she would be hysterical for hours and hours.  Extremely unlike her, so I put it down to her missing her mother.  I did, too, but I didn’t cry about it…

Anyway, reading went well.  A good chunk of the reading was another massive fantasy tome, but I feel now as though I have done my dash with those for a little while.  I wanted January to be an easy reading month, and so it was.

February will be, I think, an exercise in Spanish-language literature, or tangentially related literature (eg Luke Stegemann’s fantastic The Beautiful Obscure (twitter)).  I am going to avoid rereads, I think – so no Aira, no Marías, no Bolaño, and so on.  I will dedicate a different month to rereads, and it would, I think, be a mistake to devote a month to Spanish literature only to read those authors I already know I love.  Instead, I want to discover new and interesting writers.  My mind is ravenous for exciting literature.

March?  Perhaps focus on a publisher.  For me, that would be either Dalkey Archive Press or Open Letter Books.  I’ve heard rumblings on twitter that Dalkey seem to be going through a rough patch, so perhaps my reading attention is better spent with Open Letter.  They are a fine, fine press.

In terms of writing, I didn’t do any fantasy writing or ‘long writing’.  The fantasy writing is intended to be a cleanser, a way of stretching muscles, a loosening.  It is not intended to be serious (though fantasy can be serious), so much as warm me up for proper writing.  There’s something very therapeutic in writing about kingdoms and made up fantasy nonsense, and so that goal exists to ensure that I write.  By that I mean, if I am having trouble putting pen to paper, then I will instead bang out a hundred words or so to do with some long forgotten gemstone or order of knights or what have you.  All of this is to say that it doesn’t matter too much if I don’t hit this goal if other writing is completed.

Long writing is a bit different.  That basically means novel and bigger – and I don’t have a clue at the moment as to what I’m writing in that space.  I have had on the backburner a novel about Rasputin coming to a small Australian town to wreak havoc (kind of a Master and Margarita blended with Distant Star), but it has, I think, been too long since I worked on that piece, and perhaps now it is lost to me.

The short writing was good, and I was pleased with the result.  I wrote by hand, which is very much my preferred method, even though my penmanship is horrific at best and chthonic at worst.  But I liked what I wrote, and I think it could develop into a full-blown story which deserves proper attention.  I am having some trouble, however, in avoiding echoing ‘funkytown’, which is a horrible story I read about on reddit recently.  Don’t google it.  Just don’t.  But it’s colouring the direction I want to take the story, and I think for the ill.  Everything I do permeates everything I write.

Each week I aim to provide an update on the Journal of Failure.  These reports are intended to provide an impetus for me to achieve as much as I should/more than I do, and also to provide a further ongoing record of my life, as it is. 


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