Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Seventh Month Slump

September Writing Wrap Up

Yeah yeah, I know September is actually the ninth month of the calendar, but it still starts with the latin prefix for seven, and it makes for a better title, so I’m keeping it. Once again, it’s time for me to look back and wonder where the time went. Much of this month was spent road trippin’ across the US, staying in campgrounds and backyards, often with limited access to electricity and WiFi. Combine this with the number of hours spent driving, and it was a rough month for getting work done. Let’s hop in the wayback machine and see what went right in the month of September…


The goal for this month was to spend at least two hours every day editing the novel. Unfortunately, I only succeeded in editing two-thirds of the days this month. That’s still a lot of hours, but it never feels good to fall short, especially when this is supposed to be the big-ticket, make or break project.

That said, I’m feeling super positive about the work that has been done. My characters are starting to feel like real people (to me, at least), with cohesive personalities that are consistent from beginning to end. I’ve also been able to cut large sections completely, which is great, because it’s a bit long for a debut novel. There’s still at least one plot point that feels a little contrived to me, and I’m working on figuring out how to make it flow more naturally with the story, but overall I’m really pleased with the new content, if not the speed of progress.

Current Progress: End of Chapter 14 of 55 (pg. 164 of 601)


The short story collection is nearly done! The project will be titled Finding My Voice, and will feature 25 of what I consider to be my best works. Everything’s nicely formatted, typos have been zapped, and I even arranged them into three evenly sized sections based on tone and theme. The last thing left to do is to write some introductions, one for the book as a whole and shorter ones for each of the three parts. Then I need to finalize things with my artist friends so I can have a kickass cover and chapter art for each section. Can’t wait to have this completed and put behind me!

My five rejections plan went… poorly. If you don’t remember or didn’t read the last update, the goal was to submit new stories to lit mags for publication, and collect five rejections. This goal got put on the back burner and stayed there — I only submitted to one market! However, I haven’t yet heard back from them, so really I didn’t even get one rejection for the month. Needless to say, I’m not super happy about my progress here.


It was also a rough month for Vlad, Maria, and the rest. The goal I set for myself was a new chapter every two weeks. I ended up posting one new chapter last month, three weeks in. It was a case of not writer’s block, but writer’s hesitation. I knew what needed to happen in the chapter to move the story along, but it seemed so boring and de rigueur that I didn’t want to write it. If I think it’s boring, then the readers will too, and… you get the point. Of course, once I forced myself to get into it I ended up liking the chapter quite a bit, and then felt like an idiot for putting it off. On the plus side, I actually had a fan complain that I was falling behind on my goal, which felt strangely good.

I also had planned to release audio versions for each chapter of Nightstalkers. That’s still happening, but it turns out editing audio takes a lot longer than I had anticipated. I Am Vlad is nearly complete, the others have been recorded and just need cleaned up.


For most of this year, I’ve been publishing 2–3 new pieces every week. At the very least, I was sending one new story over to The Weekly Knob every week. But alas, this slump has affected even that noble endeavor, and I only wrote two new stories outside of Nightstalkers. A True Masterpiece is a dark, renaissance-era tale of vengeance, and it’s one of my faves. The other was an entry for The Weekly Knob’s latest short story competition. They haven’t yet announced winners, so I have no idea how I did, but I feel pretty good about my entry, and hope to at least place in the top three. I was also tagged in the “10 things you don’t know about me” game, and I decided to play along. This is, by far, the least productive I’ve been on Medium, and I am not a fan.


This is the second month in a row now where my output has dropped off. However, the pace of our road trip has dropped off a lot, so I’ll have stable working environments more often. Also, this is easily my favorite time of year; I’m a long time horror junkie, I love halloween, and I’m feeling motivated to get back to work. I’ve gotta make up for lost time, and what better way than to jump into the 13 Days of Dark & Weird Challenge! I’ve already submitted one piece, and have ideas for four more, so now it’s up to me to execute. I’ve also already turned in my first chapter of Nightstalkers, and it’s a doozy. September was no bueno for the kid, but it’s a new month, and I’m ready to get back in the game. Look out world — October’s gonna be crazy…



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J. Brandon Lowry

J. Brandon Lowry

Nomadic PhD and full-time writer. Topics: Writing, Fiction, and Poetry. Editor at Forge Editing Services: