Entry 29: Anything and Everything, Except the Book

January 23, 2018

Editor’s Note: This is the 29th installment in Van Jackson’s daily writing journal, “Nuke Your Darlings,” which tracks his six-month battle to write a new book on North Korea. Will he meet his deadline?


Today was packed with pretty much anything and everything other than the book. I did some interviews for journalists working on pieces relating to the 50th anniversary of the Pueblo crisis, which is today.

I’d been feeling guilty for putting off a lot of administrative obligations over the holidays — logistics plans for an upcoming conference, writing recommendation letters, editorial work for Texas National Security Review. The list goes on. I went to the office today but accidentally left my laptop, which had the current chapter I’m working on, at home.

So I took advantage of the time without the manuscript to start clearing out other tasks that I’d been shirking. I was starting to feel like a delinquent scumbag anyway, so now I feel a little less so. There’s still a lot to be done over the coming weeks. From here on out, I suspect I’m back to a work-life rhythm that will only afford me, at most, two hours to give the book per day.

Around dinner time I squeezed in a some what distracted 90 minutes, yielding a little less than 200 words. It was enough not to break the commitment I’ve made to daily writing. There are days when not breaking the commitment is enough. Just gotta make sure it doesn’t become a trend. Practice makes habit, after all.


Van Jackson is a senior editor at War on the Rocks and an associate editor of the Texas National Security Review.