Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

1/1/17 Daily… Some Learning…

A New Year Fires Up…

My goal of starting streaks with both the writing, learning, and exercise got started in two of the three areas.

I got the four miles of the exercise done, but it was difficult at best. I left it too long into the evening instead of doing it earlier in the day and that got me tired out. Live and learn.

Any new system has adjustments in it. So I’m not worried that I missed the 4,000 words and got 2,200 instead. So that streak will start tomorrow.

The Day

Had a great writer’s meeting today. Lots of fun and good conversation about the future, how the business of publishing for indies has matured, and so on. Kris is doing some wonderful posts about that topic right now. One is on her Patreon page and will be up on Thursday on her blog.

Then got busy working on the Endings workshop at the office.

Then home to do a bunch of stuff including hit the exercise goal. But far too tired now here at 4 a.m. to get the next couple thousand words. So that clearly means I need to start earlier than 2:40 a.m. writing. (grin)

What I Learned Today (Streak Day 1)

Actually, learned a number of things including a few details I didn’t know about the universal links through And I learned I needed to start my writing earlier in the evening going forward.

But the fact that I wanted to share today that I sort of knew and went and found a New York Times article about his death was about Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey. He was a pulp writer back in the day for Street and Smith. His most famous work was writing Nick Carter. He wrote 25,000 to 30,000 word books, one per week for two decades, totaling  1,076 of them. He also wrote under a number of other pen names. 40 million words of just Nick Carter.

All one draft on a manual typewriter.

Imagine how rich someone would be if they could write a 30,000 word short novel in today’s world every week for two decades. Yow.

If you wrote 1,000 words per hour, that would be a thirty hour week.

To do that you would have to be free of all the stupid writing myths and have a work ethic.

New Coast Workshops Announced

Taking sign-ups now for the new Coast Workshops. Feel free to ask if you have a question.

The five coast workshops with openings are these:

Science Fiction… April 2017 (only one left now)
Mystery… September 2017
Business Master Class… October 2017
Anthology Workshop… Feb/March 2018
Fantasy… April 2018.

Any questions at all, write me after reading the details under the coast workshop tab.



Letters are all out to those writers signed up for the January online workshops. If you thought you were signed up and didn’t get a letter from me, write me. And still more than enough time to get into any of the workshops. They start Tuesday and Wednesday.

All workshops still have openings at the moment. In fact very few people signed up for any of these. Even the new one, Endings Workshop, has lots of room.

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #1… Jan 3rd … Author Voice
Class #2… Jan 3rd … Writing Thrillers
Class #3… Jan 3rd … Endings
Class #4… Jan 3rd … Ideas
Class #5… Jan 3rd … Character Development
Class #6… Jan 4th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… Jan 4th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… Jan 4th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… Jan 4th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… Jan 4th …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)


The Writing of HEAVEN PAINTED AS A SUNSET: A Ghost of a Chance Novel

 Short Stories Used in Book.  Words… 7,100 words
 Day 1… Words written… 1,100.  Total so far… 8,200 words.
 Day 2… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 11,300 words.
 Day 3… Words written… 1,400.  Total so far… 12,700 words.
 Day 4… Words written… 00.  Total so far… 12,700 words.
 Day 5… Words written… 00.  Total so far… 12,700 words.
 Day 6… Words written… 2,600.  Total so far… 15,300 words.
 Day 7… Words written… 00.  Total so far… 15,300 words.
 Day 8… Words written… 00.  Total so far… 15,300 words.
 Day 9… Words written… 2,200.  Total so far… 17,500 words.


Tracking Running

January 1, 2017
4 miles. No running.
Weight 189 19 more to 170 goal.
Month to date distance: 4 miles

12  Days until the first half-marathon…

Streak of 4 Miles In a Day… 1
Note about the exercise day: Difficult today.

Tracking Word Counts
January 1, 2017
Totals For Year 4, Month 6, Day 1 (Year started August)
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,200

Streak of 4,000 Words In a Day… 0 (not started)


— Daily Fiction: 2,200 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 2,200 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. (from last night) Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 
— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 400 words
— E-mail: 27 e-mails. Approx. 1,500 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 27 e-mails. Approx. 1,500 words
— Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories to date: 8 stories.
— Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 3 novels.

Comments About the Writing of the Day: Started too late… 


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  • Harvey

    Very cool post. Thanks. Can you share what you learned about the universal links? I learned yesterday that those links do not contain the book description. To read the description the reader has to click through to his/her favorite vendor.

  • Vera Soroka

    I’m going to use Draft2Digital a little more this year and use their links. Was there something about them that that was funny or strange?

  • James

    It’s interesting to see how a professional approaches goals. I have one request, and it can be for just one day: how long does it take you to do those 4 miles? I have my fiction goal in place (a far more modest one, but one that can start a streak I can build on later) but I haven’t set any fitness goals yet. Similar to your advice for writing, I’ll focus on what I can control. No set weight goal for me, yet, but food intake and time spent exercising are in my control. I’m just curious to see how your day balances out, given your various goals.
    Off to find out who Nick Carter is, now.

    • dwsmith

      James, I use a Fitbit that I wear that tracks my milage all day. Problem with yesterday was that I only had about a mile before I started, it was freezing cold outside and late in the evening. So I ended up doing laps near our television, up and down a hall, watching bad television. Took me another hour or so to do the last three miles needed. I HATE doing it that way. I try to go out for a walk or a run every day in the late afternoon. Outside or at the mall so I can watch people.

      I tend to spend about one hour a day focused on the exercise in one fashion or another. As for losing weight, I went to the secret: Eat less and move around more. Fitbit on your home page allows you to track what you eat as well, which I do at times. All math. Eat less, move around more.

  • James

    I found this bit written by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey about himself and his writing, in case anyone is interested:
    It includes the following:
    “First, I loved the work, enjoyed it. Aside from the mere labor involved, I had quite as good a time writing the story as John Doe found in reading it. Nobody does anything well without experiencing joy in the doing. I never plotted a story in advance in my life. I knew no more than the reader what Nick was going to do in the next chapter.”
    Sounds like someone we know, right?

    • dwsmith

      James, thank you! Fantastic article from Dey. I’ll put a few other bits up here over the next few days from that one and talk about it. Amazing article from one of the great pulp writers in his own voice. I loved how he had a work ethic and hit a word count no matter the time it took. And took days off every week to travel and do other things.

      Sure puts things into perspective for these days, don’t it?


    • Harvey

      James, thank you for posting the link to Dey’s article. I have never read anything more filled with gems (or often, entire veins of pure gold) to be mined.

    • Scott Gordon

      Fabulous article! Another tidbit:

      “If you can’t love the thing you are doing, then love what the doing accomplishes. If there is no real joy in the actual labor, find joy in the consequences of it.”

  • ed ryan

    Amazing read That guy was seriously dedicated to treating it like a job (oddly enuff!)

    Thing is too he was producing roughly 1000 words an hour and was a total pantser.

    Sounds like some other guy around here…..

  • Melissa Bitter

    Thanks for all these posts Dean. Loving them. 🙂

    So today, sent me off on a google hunt. I remember reading a bunch of romance books in college that I had a feeling might be written by a pulp writer… Sure enough, she was. Barbara Cartland. She wrote 723 romance novels, put out a book ever two weeks.

    Of course her way to write was to dictate a story to her secretary for 2-3 hours a day, to each her own. 🙂

      • ed ryan

        I just did some quick research on Cartland and she is (or was not sure any more) in the Guiness Boom of world records for pubbing 23 novels in one year.

        Being a studious fellow (I have no life) I went to Amazon and looked at page counts of random books of hers. Mass market Paperbacks for roughly 160-200 pages. We can call it 180 on average…

        So at 300 words per page (a guess) 54,000 words per book – 23 books – 1,242,000 words – 24,000 words per week or 3400 words per day (I rounded.. a lot )

        now that’s 7 days/week no vacations, and not everyone can do that, but still, makes me feel like a total loser!!!!!!

        • Melissa Bitter

          I know the feeling. After reading through the linked post to Dey, and reading up on Barbara Cartland, I took a 4th look at the Dragon Naturally Speaking for Mac. (In lieu of a secretary taking dictation… lol) I’ve used Dragon (on my old PCs) on and off since 2008, sometimes it does a great job, other times it can make inconvenient errors, like their/they’re or two/too, etc. and stuff.

          I’m thinking of taking the leap and trying it again. I remember hitting 4-5000 word days easy w/Dragon. …. Some days the words come faster than I can type and then I get backlogged on a story and lose interest….so a dictation program would really help.

          I thought it was interesting that Dey would write his 30-33k books in three days, then take the rest of the week off to go experience life. Then he started writing the serials on his off days, but that was only another 6k words… (As I typed that, I had to roll my eyes at the ‘only’. That’s ‘only’ for Dey, since he kept up such a grate pace.)

          On a side note to Vera, Barbara Cartland also died with less money than she might have had, similar to Dey. The money she was getting from Trad Pub was not very much. Yet again, I’m grateful that I get to publish on my own. 🙂 Be the captain of my own ship.

          • Sheila

            There’s a long and interesting thread on kboards’ Writer’s Cafe called “training your dragon” or something very like. It might be useful to read at least the beginning pages of it.

            I’m all for adapting goals. It’s really necessary sometimes because life does get complicated. I’ve been sick most of this week, so no writing, but I just refigured things and if I can do 5K a day five days a week I can still hit my pulp speed one goal (a bit over, actually, even with two weeks “off”).

            One thing I need to do is not feel like a failure if I don’t get all the words. That is a mean critical voice that will stop me dead, so I’m vowing to not listen to it any more. Progress will get me where I want to go, or close enough to succeed.