The SoCal Exile Daily Journal: Day 1

Words are complicated. Back in the old days, I used to know if I’d  
accomplished something by my word count. I’d say: I’m going to write  
2000 words today and then I’m going to eat a club sandwich and have  
several Arnold Palmers. And I’d know that I was being productive,  
because the 2000 words were there, sitting tangibly on my (very  
expensive) computer screen. This made it easier to enjoy my club  

But the re-write isn’t all charging club sandwiches and Arnold  
Palmers to your father and asking if you can borrow his car for  
several hours to “run errands” by the outlets in Carlsbad.  The word  
counts go up and down in an unpredictable fashion. Yesterday I  
deleted 46 pages of crap and rewrote 18. I have now connected the  
entire middle of my book to the end so that it no longer seems like I  
spent the middle chapters writing a (hilarious?) short story about  
the mall that had nothing to do with the rest of my work. But like  
the temperatures in my home state, my word count is low. I  need to  
get over this, friends, and it starts by ignoring the word count. And  
maybe writing more?

My Father-Son Relationship Quote of the Day: “So when you finished  
that jar of pickles did it even cross your mind ‘hey maybe I should  
go the store and replace them’?”

Today I am attempting to clean up those middle chapters I just re-
wrote and plow through the back end of the book, editing with a  
passion and fury unseen in SoCal. I will keep you so up in the loop  
that you’ll feel like you are writing this book and I’m just sitting  
in the hot tub text messaging emoticons.

I’m also going to need to get some pickles.

Let’s do this again tomorrow.

Oh, also: Song sign offs this week are exclusively coming from the  
year 1998. Mostly because that was a great year for network  
television. ( Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place, we hardly knew ye)

Truly, Madly,

Savage Garden

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11 thoughts on “The SoCal Exile Daily Journal: Day 1

  1. Kim


    The making out part didn’t occur until after the movie, the aquarium, and the pickles, so I had plenty of time to decide whether to ditch him. But he was such a handsome guy, and had a terrific, dry sense of humor. Several days later I learned his girlfriend had just broken up with him and he was so nervous about the blind date that he drank an entire bottle of wine beforehand. I’m generally pretty easy-going; he really didn’t have to get s***faced just for me.

  2. Kevin Alexander


    How do you go on a blind date to a movie? I thought blind dates had to involve convo’s so you could decide whether or not you hated him before you decided to make out…
    And the "see my aquarium" line is classic. I will not comment, however, on your love of the smell of pickles:)

  3. Kim

    Thanks for bringing back one of my fondest college memories. I’ve never been a pickle eater, but love the smell of them. I was on my one-and-only blind date with a (surprisingly good-looking) friend of a friend of a friend. We went to a movie, then back to his frat house where he told me he had an aquarium in his room – Would I like to see it? Of course I’d like to see it — I’m a Pisces, after all. To my pleasant surprise, not only did he have an aquarium, he also had a refrigerator, fully stocked with beer and a full jar of pickles. My last memory of the evening was of him opening the jar and me taking a big whiff. (OK, there are some other memories, but they’re kind of hazy and not PG-rated.) I didn’t see him again until years later when I got on a crowded elevator, and there he was. 🙂

  4. Anna

    The View? Sorry, if it can’t be found on our five channels on the TV, you’re out of luck. We don’t have internet – not yet anyway. We’ll probibly remedy that pretty soon. Are you going stircrazy yet? I can picture you thinking about this and just bursting to go do something – anything.

  5. Kevin Alexander

    I appreciate the offer. Alaska in the winter, cut off from civilization with you and your husband and a sh*t ton of firewood? I’m all over that. Except you are going to get aggressively sick of me, especially my insistence that we watch The View both in real time and later on in the day, in case we missed some of the more important themes. I am both impressed and nervous that you may not have gotten something you need during the summer. Is there enough peanut butter?

    And thank you Joanne. I am writing a scene right now, which is why it seemed like an optimal time to check my comments and start replying. Someone needs to turn off the internet.

  6. Joanne

    One of my favorite parent quotes , which has come from my mother’s mouth a number of times, is "You’re not qualified to do that…are you?"
    It’s good to know someone else is sitting in front of a computer screen this weekend, trying to accomplish something, with a myriad of distractions hovering close by. (I have four small hovering children, I know distractions well.)
    Eat, drink, and enjoy the hot tub for me, will you?

  7. Anna

    You have too many distractions – I mean, club sandwiches, arnold palmers, pickles, the car. You should come spend a winter with my husband and me. We live in Alaska and I specify winter because the summer is pure chaos. I know you’re escaping the cold, but look at it this way, if its too cold to go outside and there’s nowhere outside to go anyway, think how much work you could get done. Our winter days are: my husband plays computer games and I write stories. Sometime during the day, someone goes out and splits an armload or two of firewood and every so often, as needed, we go out and bring in another tree or two. Otherwise our day is punctuated by stuffing the wood in the stove, making whatever you want to eat (if we have it), heating the next cup of coffee, and other household chores that may come up when they can’t be put off any longer. No running to the store for pickles – no car. The only running is done with a snow machine and the closest store is 120 miles away. Needless to say, if I forgot to get it during the summer, we do without. You should try it, you might like it.

  8. Helen Coronato

    Hi Kevin,

    I do a monthly internet radio talk show called A Novel Idea – Stories Behind the Bookshelves (very VH1, I know) where I interview authors, agents and editors about projects they have, the industry, procrastinating (I mean, brainstorming) ideas, etc. I really like your Writer’s Digest column and would like to have you on the show. Check out my site which has links to the station and stuff about my projects so you don’t assume that I am merely one of your fanatic fans 🙂 I’ve interviewed YA author Amy Goldman Koss, horror novelist Jonathan Maberry, artist/illustrator Ray Troll and a host of other interesting characters – I think you would fit right in…

    Helen Coronato

  9. Kevin Alexander

    I’m not playing in King’s game. I don’t think I could even be a sub. We’re talking like 70,000 words give or take 5-10 on either side for me. It’ll probably end up around 230-250 pages. My book is short, like my attention span.

    And yes, I fully felt that destroy-something-to-make-it-beautiful feeling.

    Assuming, of course, that that is an actual feeling.

  10. Tom

    What sort of word count does one have with a novel, anyway? I always thought of them in pages, and reading Stephen King’s lengthy tomes as a boy made me think that you weren’t in the game unless you hit at least 500 pages, maybe six.

    Props for slashing middle pages. Did you get that "awesome/what the hell am I doing?" feeling when you did that?




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