I’m a man who needs deadlines or daily goals to accomplish things in my personal life. It’s why I’ve been such a lazy fuck about packing up my apartment (more on that in a moment). It’s why I have a habit of starting and dropping projects because of it and I realize because I didn’t thrust a daily goal or a deadline to have said project done.

I discovered during writing Bodies Made of Smoke that having the crazy ass deadline of 10,000 words in six weeks made me move my ass and set daily goals to accomplish this (500 words a day for four days, then three days off). If I went more than 500 in a day, I didn’t stop myself from writing. I kept going until I felt it was time to stop. I accomplished this in four weeks. I tried starting a couple of more novellas/novels but stopped because I didn’t set those daily goals and that end goal.

Thanks to a prompt provided by the HOUSEFIRE crew, I wrote a side story set in the Bodies Made of Smoke universe called “When You Were Brave And Wrong” and it inspired me to write a prequel novella set during Sarah’s time in high school.

The iOS5 update came with this great new feature called Reminders and you can program it to yell at you to do something on a daily basis. I set a daily reminder to write 500 words for the prequel and at 11pm every night, it yelled at me to write those 500 words. Most of the time I listened. I also took a different approach to writing it, using Q10, a lo-tech word processor program that also has typewriter sound effects so it sounds like you’re all “I’m writing on an old-timey typing device” on your hi-tech machine. I only used this software one other time to write a story (“Raymond Carver’s Dance Party“). I started it the prequel on October 14 and finished the first draft around 2:30 in the morning on November 1; seventeen days to write 10,000 words. The prequel is called We Have Such Lovely Parting Gifts and I’m looking forward to cleaning it up and finding a proper home for it.

A year ago, I didn’t think this would be possible. I was just returning to fiction, dealing with my divorce, but I worked my way up from flash fiction to longer fiction, and I owe Riley Michael Parker and HOUSEFIRE a tremendous debt of gratitude. Without that deadline, I wouldn’t be at this point in my evolution as a writer. I feel like I can accomplish so much more, that I eventually well get a novel written, probably genre so I can afford to develop a coke habit just so I can snort a Scarface-esque amount and fire an automatic weapon in the air after doing it.

I’m still not a homeowner and this is HUDs fault. It’s stereotypical to say but leave it to the government to fuck up something so simple as buying a home. I should be rewarded, not punished, for contributing to helping the economy recover. I have money and I want to use it to put people to work and make my house decent. Things are so FUBAR that I’ve reached out a senator to help fix things. My mom’s helped a lot in the untangling of the crazy shit that’s gone down and it doesn’t make any sense. It absolutely sucks that I have to keep paying extra for month to month but I can at least put in notice at any point. Once I have a deadline, then I’ll start seriously packing. Until then, I’ll do better things with my time like write and drink.

I’ve traveled to see shows before, in state. I saw The Cure in 2000 in West Palm Beach with this gentleman. I also saw them in Tampa in 2004 and 2008. I traveled to see Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction in 2009 as part of my 30th birthday celebration (and for the record, fuck a whole lot of Jane’s Addiction). I never traveled out of state to see a show…until on November 27.

I’m a tremendous fan of The Cure. I’ve seen them four times, met them once, love most of their work. I’m the guy who geeks the fuck out when they play “The Blood” (which if you are a fan of The Cure, you know what I’m talking about). They’re doing this limited engagement where they are playing three shows in LA and in NYC where they are doing their first three albums in their entirety (Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, and Faith) and then an encore of songs from that time span. Another reason why I love The Cure is that they consistently play two and a half to three hour sets. I got my ticket. I’m going to be in NYC for 24 hours just to see this show. I will be very groggy when I come into work after I get off the plane but this show is one of those rare shows where you see a legendary band in a small venue playing albums they haven’t played live since they toured for those albums in the late 70s, early 80s. This should be quite an adventure indeed.

I have a poem up in this fall’s issue of Moon Milk Review, which you can read here.

Check out the video of the flash horror/ghost story edition of There Will Be Words here.

You should buy the new Stamp Story [C.] anthology from Mudluscious here (not just because I’m in it or anything). And if you haven’t already, you should buy this and this.

And finally, the latest edition of my sex/dating advice column on Specter Magazine here.


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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.

Latest Posts By J. Bradley


publication news, self assessment, Writing


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