The Friday Update - Pushing through Busy

Joel’s Journal - January 26, 2018 - Volume 3 - Entry #26 


I’m not a big fan of the word “busy”. 

It’s a word we all use. I use it all the time, but I sometimes think that we hide behind it. 

I feel like it’s overused,  a cop-out, an easy way to end the conversation when someone asks you how you’re doing. 

“How’s it going, today?”

“Busy,” he replied, with a wide-eyed tilt of his head and a exaggerated exhale of breath. 


“How’s life been treating you these days?”

“Oh you know, super busy, work is crazy, family is really busy.”

It’s a cop-out, and I honestly think it blocks some decent conversations from taking place. It’s not like anyone ever responds:

“Busy, eh? Busy with what?"

No, the response is always:

“Oh yeah, I hear ya, crazy busy."

I’m no different. I cop out with this answer all the time, hiding behind the fact that I don’t want to explain all the things that are happening in my life with The Express, with fiction writing, with this journal, my future plans. At times it’s for convenience sake, you don’t want to fall into the pit of a 45-minute conversation about your life when you’ve got something to do in 10 minutes. 

But I think we use it so much that it becomes a wall upon which we lean against when we shouldn’t. 

Like when M asks me how my day was. I shouldn’t just respond. 

“Crazy busy, hun.”

Most of the times, I don’t, I try and let her know who I talked to, exciting interviews, or big news events I was called out to that day. 

I think we should all stop hiding behind the word “busy”, perhaps we’ll find ourselves in some pretty decent conversations. 

With that said, here’s looking past my “busy”, and a peak at what I was up to this week.


After the paper wrapped Tuesday night, things started off on a heavy note the next morning. 

I arrived at the Durham Courthouse around 9:30 a.m., typically the time that courtrooms start churning through their business. However, upon talking with the clerk and checking some dockets, the person I was looking for wasn’t appearing for another hour. I sighed, pulled out my iPad and headed for the Tim Hortons attached to the courthouse to grab a coffee and read the news before things got underway. 

I was there for the suspect arrested in connection to the murder of Rori Hache. 

The man’s name is Adam Strong, and this was the first time I’d get a glimpse of the guy. I’d read enough of the speculations and background articles written about this guy and his pension for BDSM and his particularly odd past. However, most of those reports were generated by the Toronto Sun, an outlet I know to sensationalize and pull at particular threads that perhaps have no relevance to the larger story. 

But that’s a different story altogether. As I wrote about Wednesday, it was an unsettling experience, looking at this man who showed absolutely zero remorse or any kind of reaction to the charges against him. 

If you’re unfamiliar, Rori Hache went missing last summer, her torso was found in the Oshawa Harbour, and in December, Strong was arrested when more of her remains were found in his basement apartment. 

He still has yet to be charged with her murder, and when I made a trip past the house earlier this week, the police vehicles were still out front, indicated an investigation was still going on. 

So, yeah, needless to say, a heavy start to the news week. It will more than likely be one of our front page stories for the coming edition, especially because the case in back in court again on Monday. 

On Thursday, I delved into another police story, and worked on getting some content together for the week that I’m going to be away at the start of February. 

Later in the week, the news was dominated by the resignation of Patrick Brown, which dropped into the news cycle like a hand grenade. I spent some time gathering local reaction from our PC MPPs and one of our regional councillors who is currently nominated to run for the PCs in the upcoming election. 

Also, after a couple nights of writing, I wrapped-up my feature on Mike Mandel, the world-famous hypnotist for our magazine

So, all in all, a pretty good week.

Note that I didn’t use the word busy.


The writing has been flowing slowly this week, but flowing nonetheless. 

5 o’clock has been coming earlier than normal it seems, and I’ve been trying to grab a few extra minutes of sleep instead of with the keys. 

However, I’ve been able to churn out little bits at a time each morning, which I think is extremely important. 

It’s something I never used to do. I would always just cop out of writing if I only had 30 minutes or 45 minutes to do so, telling myself I wouldn’t get enough done. But then, when I had a wide open clutch of hours, I would spend the majority of time procrastinating and barely get anything done anyway. 

So, by diving into 30 or 45 minute sessions, you know you only have a limited amount of time, so you need to be focused to get anything done. 

Now, you rarely get to 2,000 words in 45 minutes (though I’ve gotten there at times), but you still get WORDS ON THE PAGE. 

This is the most important aspect of any writing project, especially novels, to keep the story flowing. It prevents you from losing the pace, the storyline, and allows you to stay close with your characters.

In a practical sense, the story is just over 75,000 words, which is about a 10,000 word improvement over the last few weeks. It’s perhaps not as much as I would have liked, but Im moving through a pretty critical part in the story, building up toward the climax, so I’m making sure that I get things right 

Anyway, thank you all for reading!


Joel Wittnebel