Where My Writing Is Going in 2019

So, I was trying to figure out this upcoming year in writing for me. Where do I go next? What do I do?

writer hands

Well, I decided I just have to keep on doing what I’m doing. It’s as boring and exciting as that! But as they say, “In dreams begin responsibilities.”

Why do I feel this way? Let’s break it down quickly.

I Kept the Word Count Growing Last Year
I’m pretty satisfied with the growth in my word count last year. I could have been a bit more disciplined and consistent in my writing sessions. But overall, I am pretty satisfied with my self-discipline and focus. I have been adding to the word count consistently and that’s the most important thing.

I think my writing habit is strong, too. I have a consistent place I go to write (the same café). I have the same ritual I go through (workout, lunch, then head to the café, read a little, put on the headphones and start to write). That habit, or ritual, helps my get in the groove and keep adding to the word count.

So, if it’s going well, why change things?

I Need to Up My Number of Story Submissions—A Bit
I had one acceptance in 2018, but I would have liked more. Of course. That’s OK though, because I tend to write long short stories (at least 5,000 words, sometimes up to 10,000 or 12,000). So, I won’t be sending in flash stories (1,000 words or less) every week like some other writers.

That being said, I have a couple of stories that are ready to go and I need to up the frequency of sending them out to publishers. I’ve also grown more savvy in how to send these out and to whom, so I’m hoping that will help.

I Have a Bunch of New Ideas—Waiting to Turn into Stories
My hard drive is full of story ideas. I’m afraid I’ve reached the point where I have more story ideas than I will ever get around to. This is good and bad. The bad part is I feel I won’t get to see them become finished pieces. But there’s also a good part: I can be more selective about the stories I want to flesh out.

I think this is key because good stories start as good ideas. And those really good stories tend to write themselves.

I always think of Gogol’s Dead Souls when it comes to this. Now, there’s a great story idea that was literally given to him by a friend. The kernel of the idea is that there is a Conman who travels around czarist Russia buying up “dead souls”: those serfs who have died in the last year. Turns out (unbeknownst to the serf owners) the government gives a type of tax break on these dead serfs which the Conman is collecting. It’s a fully-formed, almost perfect plot device and it must have been a joy to write(?).

That’s what you look for in a story: something so clever that it will almost write itself. I like to think I have a few of those on the hard drive. But they’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Reducing Frequency of Blog Posts
One thing I did struggle with in 2018 was getting blog posts out. I managed to do so pretty well. But to be honest, I’ve lost a bit of enthusiasm for the blog.

I know all of us writers now are supposed to have a blog and I’m fine with that. But I’m not fine with it when it crosses a line and starts interfering with my fiction writing or just simply becomes one more thing to check off my list, or adds undue stress to my life. After all, isn’t writing new fiction the most important thing a writer should be doing?

If I didn’t have a 9 to 5 job, if I wasn’t writing fiction, if I wasn’t submitting stories—things would be different. But they’re not. And my economy of time (which is quite precious) dictates that I have to focus on things that really matter.

So, I will be reducing the frequency of this blog to once per month this year. I will endeavor to publish a new post on the first of each month. Or I might sneak in an extra post to announce major events—like publishing a new story. That way I can keep the blog going, but also preserve my sanity! Which is important, for any writer.

OK, all for now. See you on Feb. 1. Until then, keep reading, keep writing.




Writing On

Hey guys,

Really busy over here with work, writing and Thanksgiving next week. So…Not much of a post this time. I was going to do a big, long hairy post about the Russian Revolution—marking 100 years and all—but that ain’t going to happen this time. Hopefully, next time. And then it will be back to the writing theme.

Fink 3

But on the creativity front: I am writing fiction and sticking with it. So, that’s good. I have fallen down a bit on submitting new stories and following up on them. I’m hoping to take the long Thanksgiving break and finally get to that. So, all in all, not too shabby.

OK. I will see you guys next time with a much bigger post. Until next time,

Keep Reading, Keep Writing,


PS…This post from Daniel Davis’ blog featuring Jack Kerouac with Steve Allen on piano really was pretty cool. And somehow, Kerouac’s writing does go down quite well with jazz. You know, like they were made for one another or something…

Swing, Baby, Swing.

Changing the Name of This Blog

Phew! So many things going on right now. Anyway, as you know this blog just passed its fifth anniversary. And there are a lot of great things to look back upon and celebrate. But now, it’s time to look forward…And  that begins with changing the name of this blog.


Right now, the official title of this blog (with tagline) is:

A Writer Begins by Darius Jones

A new writer shares his triumphs and trials.

Not bad, but definitely outdated. I started this blog because I had just self-published something on Amazon Kindle. In these past five years, as I recounted last time, I have seen a number of my stories published in magazines. I have written more stories, a novella and a play. If you count by time or stories completed, I hardly could be considered a “beginner” at this point. So, it’s time for a change of that title. I’ve thought about it quite a bit and after a good amount of deliberation, this is the new title of this blog:

Inside the Writer’s Mind

One Writer’s Take on the Craft of Writing

I may change this at any time, of course, but it seems good for now. It all really comes from an earlier post where I wrote this:

I promise to keep posting and keep getting you inside the head of this fiction writer.

“…Inside the head of this fiction writer…” That’s what this blog is really all about, isn’t it? Take today, for example. I was walking here, to the café, to write. And all the while I was thinking about this post…AND…about how to plot a novel…AND…about how you have to know and love something to write well about it. And the whole idea is to take that internal monologue out of the brain (scoop, scoop) and—Pfffwat!!—fling it onto the page. Getting you guys into my mind through sharing my thoughts via the written word, the art of writing itself. So, there it is: the new title of this blog.

That’s any evergreen topic and one that won’t change. Kinda feels like coming home. I can’t wait to share those ideas about plotting a novel with you—and many other topics—but that’s coming down the road…Maybe next time in fact…Until then…

Keep Reading, Keep Writing,


Five Years of My Blog: A Writer Begins

Well, well, well. It’s a bit early, but this blog has been around for FIVE years. Five years! The first post was on July 20, 2012. And here it is:

My New Novel

July 20 by dariusjones

[This entry is a repost from my earlier, Goodreads blog. It was the first post on “A  Writer Begins.”]

Well, here goes nothing.

My first novel has just been published. It’s on the Amazon Kindle store here. It’s also on Goodreads.

Please take the time to leave a review. And a big thank you to all of you who have already got it and are reading it.


Sarasota Writer

I was so nervous to hit “PUBLISH” on that first post. And I honestly didn’t want to do it, but I felt that’s what a writer should do once they published something in this day and age. So, I did it. The blog has come a long way since then: the posts are longer, have a more conversational tone and have pictures (even GIFs and videos).

I want to use this post to take a deeper look at my blog and my writing over the past five years. I’m going to do this via simple stats and lists.

First, here’s a breakdown of the stats for this blog:

Total posts: 198

Total followers: 188

Comments received: 103

Visitors in the first year: 5

Most popular post: The Craft: Poe’s Unity of Effect

Posting schedule: Once every two weeks.

Not bad, lots of progress there. I’ve also stuck to my established posting schedule of once every two weeks. I wish I could do more, but with my writing fiction, sleeping, working out and…Oh yeah!!!—that full time job—that’s about all I can handle.

Second, here’s a look at my submission/rejection totals for stories.
My first story submission was also in July 2012. This was the rejection letter I received July 8, 2012 (just before the blog began):

Thanks for submitting “The Hatchlings,” but I’m going to pass on it. It didn’t quite work for me, I’m afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way.

Editor XXXX

And yes, I keep all my rejection and acceptance letters. Here’s a deeper look at my submission/rejection stats from my Duotrope listings which I use to track my story submissions. (Hat tip to Aeryn Rudel from which I’m errrrr, “borrowing” this idea of sharing rejection stats. But seriously, you should check out his blog, Rejectomancy!)

Submissions: 102

Rejections: 80

Acceptances:  4

Never heard back from publisher: 8

Withdrawal by author: 7

Pending submissions: 3

Acceptance/Rejection ratio: 3.9%  [Believe it or not, that’s not too bad.]

So, also looking back from the start of this blog…from that moment when I decided I’m going to give this writing thing a shot: What has changed? What’s different? Well, everything is the same, everything is different. I still have the same job, and I still write on the weekends. But certain writing milestones have occurred. I think a Q-and-A format might answer these best, so apologies for the cheesiness, but let’s dive in!

Darius, what writer milestones have you passed in these last five years?

Q: Have you self-published a story or book?

A: Yes. I self-published a novel, The Library of Lost Books and a novella, The Man Who Ran from God on Amazon Kindle. 

Q:  Have you traditionally published a story? That is, has a magazine/publisher published your work?

A: Yes, four times. All of them were stories: The Hatchlings, The Ghul of Yazd, Barabanchik, and So You Found Me.

Q: Have you received payment for publishing a story?

A: Yes, first via Amazon for my self-published work. And also for two of my traditionally-published stories for magazines.

Q: Have you signed a contract for a piece you published?

A: Yes. Twice for the same pieces I received payment for.

Q: Which of your published pieces are you most proud of?

A: The Ghul of Yazd. Its characters, its structure, its dialogue and its tone have that “unity of effect” I’m always looking to create. And it’s simply a good yarn.

Q: Have you attended a Con with a writing track and participated in writer events?

A: Yes. Attended writer panels and workshops at two RavenCons.

Q: Have you written a play?

A: Yes. Something titled The Sludge Ship Chronicles.

Q: Have you had a play staged/performed?

A: Alas, no. But it’s ready to go! Finished, and proofed and everything! If anyone out there can help market it, let me know! It can be produced cheaply, I swear! Anyone? Anyone???

Q: Have you had a novel traditionally published?

A: No.

Q: Have you received an advance for a novel?

A: Oh God, no.

Q: Have you got an agent?

A: Nope.

Q: Have you done a book tour or an event promoting your own work?

A: No.

Q: Have you quit your day job because you thought: “Let’s make a go of it as a pro?”

A: No!

So, there you have it. Five years of this blog, five years of submissions and five years of writing fiction. I’ve come a long way, especially when you consider I’m doing this on the side, catch as catch can.

The most fundamental thing I’ve done in writing and the one thing I’m really sticking to now is: Writing what I want to write. I can not emphasize this point enough. It is absolutely key, as I discussed in this post and many other places. In the end, picking the right story is easy. You know that strange, enduring story? The one that doesn’t let you sleep at night? That has you imagining the main characters as you sit through yet another PowerPoint presentation? That’s running through your mind as you’re on the bike at the gym doing Cardio? That’s the story you have to write! That one, right there! Get it out, and trust me, you’ll feel a lot better.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks to you, the blog readers, for tuning in. And a big thanks to friends, family and my partner for supporting my writing in ways big and small, spiritual and material. It means so very much to me to have you in my life and know you support what I’m doing.

With that, I’m off to write some fiction.

See you guys next time,


Thank You


Looks like 2017 is going to be a good year here on the blog. Already the blog has surpassed the readership total (visitors) for 2016. And in only 6 months. So, thank you to everybody that keeps coming back for more…and to our new visitors. I promise to keep posting and keep getting you inside the head of this fiction writer.


More Soon,


4 Years of My Blog

Writer writing

Wow. WordPress is telling me I’ve been writing this blog for four years. (It’s actually a bit longer than that since the blog started over on Goodreads). I can’t believe it. So, today, I want to do a quick look back and, more importantly, a look ahead.

First, here is the first post on my blog from July 20, 2012:

Well, here goes nothing

My first novel has just been published. It’s on the Amazon Kindle store here. It’s also on Goodreads.

Please take the time to leave a review. And a big thank you to all of you who have already got it and are reading it.


My posts have come a long way since then. They even include pictures, which apparently is an unwritten rule on the Internet. So, to continue the look back: what have I done, in my writing life, over those past four years? Glad you asked. This is what:

  • Self-published a novella.
  • Got three of my stories traditionally published in magazines.
  • Wrote a fricking play. (Thanks, Fink!)
  • Wrote 171 blog posts. (Was it that many?)
  • Shared the blog with thousands of visitors.
  • Changed the frequency of the blog from weekly to biweekly.
  • Kept focused, kept disciplined, kept writing.

That last one is the most important to me. Constancy. I’ve written about that a lot here on the blog. But it’s one thing to write about something, and quite another to do it. To sit your butt down and write every weekend, when you could be doing other things. I’m really proud of that.

So, what’s next? Number one: keep writing fiction. I also want to re-christen the blog. It’s not going to be a “Writer Begins” anymore. If it needs a title, it’s going to be “A Writer Writes.” I think that fits just fine because that’s what I’m all about. And with three published stories, I feel a new chapter has begun. I’ve done a lot and learned a lot since I started this blog. There’s always more you can learn, of course. But that third story felt like some sort of milestone. One time could be lucky—a fluke. A second time, could be a coincidence. But getting published three times—There’s something to that. Three times is no accident. And with that comes an assurance you can do it again and again. Even before you put pen to paper.

As a consequence of that I feel the characters and the stories and the writing are all maturing. And improving. Now, the challenge is to keep going and build on that solid foundation.

And that’s what I intend to do. So, here’s to bloggers blogging and writers writing. Let’s keep this going.

Thanks for Tuning In,


My Writing Life in 2016

Whew. Is it 2016 already? Man, time flies. So, let’s get right down to it. What are my plans for writing this year? Here they are, broken down into some bite-size chunks. As always, these goals are realistic and “Epictetusian” (not relying on others or outside influences to be accomplished. For example the goal: “Get 2 of My Stories Published” doesn’t cut it.).

1. Go to 2 Cons.londoncitybar 2
My plan last year to go to three Cons, alas, was too ambitious. This year I’m hoping to go to two. One down south, and one up north. I usually go to RavenCon, but would also like to go to one up north (maybe in Philadelphia?). I’ll keep you guys posted on where I decide to go.

2. Blog Changes
Life is short, art is long. So, in that spirit, going to make a couple of changes to ye olde blog this year. I’m going to be changing two things.

First, I will be writing shorter, telegraphic posts. Just updates on my writing or random thoughts on stuff. This means that some of my longer-form blog posts will become less frequent (stuff like Rare B Sides and The Craft will become fewer and further between), but not necessarily go away.

Second, I want to write about more than just writing fiction. That will remain the focus of the blog. But I feel I want to pull back the lens a bit, show more of the general landscape. Though we’re introverts, writers are also products of their time and place and have to deal with other human beings, like it or not. Grappling with their particular time and place has also produced some great writing. So what does it mean for this blog? It means I might write on modern art, then on Turkish politics before switching back to a post on writing fiction. I want to make sure the blog stays fun to write and doesn’t go stale and I think pulling out the lens will help do this.

3. Write What I Want.
I made big progress on this last year. I’m writing a piece right now that I really love, although I know it has dubious marketing potential (kinda like most of my stuff, actually). It’s increasingly and vitally important to me to write stuff I want to write. I think I had this backwards before, writing stuff I wanted to write, but that had to have a marketing/publishing/genre angle. I’m done with that now. I’m at peace. I realize my stuff will be very hard to cram into a genre. That it’s not really literary fiction. Or speculative fiction…or science fiction…Or horror…or fantasy. It touches on all those genres and is influenced by all of them, but doesn’t partake in any of them, per se. And I’m totally fine with that…I’m going to keep writing what I want—regardless of length, genre or subject matter—Marketers be damned.

There. Is that better?

Oh! And Happy New Year, Everyone! I wish you all health, happiness and some serious accomplishments in 2016!

Until Next Time,


By the way, that shot up there is of the “London City” café/bar in Buenos Aires. If I could write anywhere in the world, it would probably be there. I like to imagine I’m sitting  there in downtown Buenos Aires watching all the people go by, when I’m writing in my local Starbucks…I can dream, can’t I?

This Blog Reaches 100 Followers–Plus Shoutouts

Ye olde blog here just reached 100 followers. Not bad. And it comes right after passing its 2nd anniversary of the blog.

I was feeling pretty awesome about this when, the other day, I decided to visit my sister-in-law’s blog and found she had about 3 times as many visitors in a comparable time period. And I’m the one who’s supposed to be the writer here. Oh well…

…Still, it’s quite an accomplishment. I couldn’t be happier knowing that 100 people out there check out my blog on a regular basis. To celebrate, I’m going to give a shout-out to some of my blog followers today. Especially those that are doing the same thiPower, Money, Art Patronage. It's good to be the Pope.ng I’m doing: writing fiction.

But first, let me ask a little favor: Please stop by THEIR blogs and check them out. And if they have books or stories available, please consider BUYING them and leaving a review. And when you stop by their blogs, don’t be afraid to COMMENT on a post. They won’t bite… hard…as Austin Powers said. Trust me!

Remember, you may not be Pope Julius II, but you can patronize the arts and support real artists just the same with a few dollars and a few clicks. So, thanks in advance for supporting the art of writing and now…Drumroll please. Here they are are in reverse order, with those who most recently followed the blog coming first and the original, Back-in-the-Day followers coming last. 

Grady P. Brown (Blog Follower #100)
I’ve jut “met” Grady virtually via the blog, so I haven’t had a chance to get to know him or his writing. On his blog, he says he’s a “science fiction author who is diagnosed with high functioning autism” and “a connoisseur of the science fiction, fantasy, and superhero genres.” His superhero novel set in Los Angeles, The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell is out now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Anna Bayes (Blog Follower #96)
On her blog, Anna says that “sex is not the only thing she writes about, but mind-shattering, great sex makes her feel alive, and so it has become a topic she writes about with gusto.” She also “admires how a story with multiple layers of meaning can be packed into just a few hundred words” and “aspires to produce good work in the short story form.”

It is very, very difficult to write good erotica (I have dabbled and failed) and the little I’ve read of her stuff is top notch. Her latest piece is Love Letter available on Amazon Kindle. (The story is for the 18+ crowd, so be advised.)

Tim W. Burke (Blog Follower #89)
This guy I actually met in the flesh at RavenCon. Speaking of flesh, his latest book, The Flesh Sutra is out and has already garnered some great reviews. He has a blog where he self publishes some stuff and a Facebook page. He’s published a lot of stories in top-notch magazines and there are more to come. Look forward to reading a lot more horror (Tim, please include the dark humor too. I love that stuff!!!) from him.

Kenneth Jobe (Blog Follower #28)
Watch this guy. He’s just getting started, but his writing makes you feel like he’s been doing this a long time. His blog, The Books of Jobe, covers writing, music, movies and everyday life. It’s hilarious and insightful at the same time. He recently published “Tale of the Revolution” in Nebula Rift and “Aiden’s Acting Up Again” in The Rusty Nail Literary Journal of May/June 2014.

I can’t wait to see where his writing goes next.

Lita Burke (Blog Follower #3)
Lita was one my first followers on this blog. She is an “Indie fantasy writer” and writes about the worlds she creates on her blog. Her latest novel is Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane and is available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Apologies to those I passed over this time. There are a lot of great writers out there and I would have loved to highlight you all. In time, I hope to write about more of you.

Until next time…Keep reading, keep writing,

Darius Jones

Finally, My Blogs United

Just united my Goodreads and WordPress blogs as promised long, long ago. So, what does this mean?

First, going forward the sole place I will be adding new posts is my WordPress blog here at


The WordPress RSS should, hopefully, push out to my Goodreads page and blog.

For those with more interest, I started my blog on Goodreads on July 20, 2012. So, now if you trawl through the archives you will be able to find posts from July 20, 2012 through Aug. 7, 2012. Don’t get too excited: there are only six of these posts from the Goodreads blog. They are mostly of historical interest for me, but there are some gems:

  • A good post on Steinbeck I called “The Book in the Mirror.” It was really the first in “The Craft” series of articles on fiction writing.


It’s good to see the evolution in the blog from bolded text to graphic elements, embedded videos, block quotes and crisper writing. It’s largely been a learning-by-doing process. So, if you’re a writer worried about blogging, just jump in and learn what works. My only (minor) regret is that I didn’t start doing it earlier. 

Thanks for following and reading the blog. There’s lot more good content and news to come.