Challenge,  Fun Stuff,  Writing in Public

A Fun Challenge…

This Is Only An Idea…

Many of you know I got basically an eye infection in my only good eye back in late October that pretty much made me blind for a time and vision challenged for months now. Docs said it would take six months to get better and it has been getting better. Still not back yet, but I am getting back reading.

I will be catching up on workshop stories I have let go (thanks for understanding) and even more fun I will be reading Kris’s new Diving novel that has been sitting on my table for three weeks. Damn that is exciting.

But even more exciting is that I am slowly working my way back to my writing computer. Now for me, I have been amazingly careful to not take eye frustration into my writing. Just going slow, not making any major changes until it looked like this wasn’t going to fix. But now it is getting better.

So I am going back to writing full speed on April 1st… building up between now and then.

In the nine months remaining, I would like to write 1 million consumable words. That is fiction, blog posts here, and introductions to things like books and magazines.

Let me save you the time of grabbing your calculator…

1 million divided by 9 months is 112,000 words per month approximately. Or about 3,800 words a day without missing.

I can do that if the world leaves me along for the most part, meaning no more eye infections. I will still do all the workshops and all the other things I do normally.

If you want to see if you can match or beat me (I might not end up doing that much or I might do more), I will set it up like a challenge on Teachable. “The Great Dean Challenge.” You toss in $600 and if you win, you get a lifetime subscription of your choice. If I win, you get $600 in credit in workshops. No lose situation for you.

I don’t expect any takers, but wow do I want to get back writing full time after these last five months. I am so, so ready to roll. Just thought this might push someone else to move as well. (Remember, April starts the time of great forgetting.)

And I will be dropping 25-30 pounds in the same time period. Just to distract myself some. (grin)

Even if no one takes me up on this, I will update here on the sidebar every few weeks.

And I hope you start your own challenge for the last nine months of the year.



  • Britt Malka

    Oh, wow, Dean, I didn’t know that. I only knew you have had some eye-problems. Not that it was this serious. I feel so bad for asking you frequently about the short story I turned in. I’m sorry.

    I hope your eye gets completely well soon. It must have been horrible not being able to read or write.

    As for dropping pounds… I dropped 25 pounds in 16 weeks after I went carnivore. I also got rid of join pain, skin problems and lot of other issues. Best thing I ever discovered. Never starving either.

    Good luck with your challenge. I may join in. My problem is that I forget to count words of writing nonfiction and emails.

    • dwsmith

      I don’t count emails or responses to this blog like this one. I don’t consider them consumable words. But nonfiction things like introductions to a collection I count.

        • dwsmith

          Nope, still would not count. Emails are not consumable words. If you create a sellable copyright like to a nonfiction blog post or to a piece of fiction, that is consumable and has value. Emails of any type and comments like this one do not count. Also all Facebook and tweets and social media posts do not count unless you combine them into a book to sell. Then they would count.

          • Kate Pavelle

            That’s a relief, diverting attention to count every preprogrammed SM post reminding people of a book would drive me nuts. However, blogs count, so I’ll switch from sending out newsletters to blogging on my website, and I’ll use the newsletter to direct people there.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, I’ve slowed down some past 70. And I do this teaching thing and weight-loss exercise, and all the stuff in Vegas that draws my attention and seven or eight kickstarters that I build a year. So it will be a challenge, especially with the vision still not all the way back. And you know, the most annoying thing is that in the last three or four years, I’ve suddenly started needing eight hours of sleep. What the hell is that all about? (grin)

      • Jason M

        Salman Rushdie said the only thing that has changed for him post-70 was that his daily word count dropped. He used to do 2000 or 3000, but now he only does about 500.

        • dwsmith

          I think he got injured or attacked, didn’t he? That would slow my word count down as well (oh, wait, it did with almost going blind. Go figure. (grin))

  • Connor Whiteley

    Hi Dean,

    I’m actually very tempted to do this one. I don’t normally do the other challenges because they personally aren’t challenges to me, but this one would be very fun and I do want that Study Along subscription.

    It also fits well with what madness I’m doing this year. I’m intending to 52 novellas (but some will be novels for sure), 95 short stories, 12 psychology books and my psychology blog posts for my podcast.

    So far I’ve done 14 novellas, 17 short stories and 2 psych books so far and by the end of today will be about 345, 000 words so far.

    Don’t know if it will ALL happen because of university exams and starting my Masters in September but it’ll be fun to try and the challenge would be an extra bonus.

    So massive maybe, probably yes.

    • dwsmith

      Connor, sounds great, but you have to start fresh on April 1st. Nine month challenge. But would be great to have you in the mix. As I said to Kate, it would be a good focus for both of us, that’s for sure. I’ll announce it here in a few days when I have it set up.

  • Meyari McFarland

    I’m honestly tempted. Hitting 3800/day would be a stretch for me, a big one, but it’s a neat idea. I’m just not sure I’m ready for it this soon after my mom died. June? Yeah, I could probably do that, but April would be too soon, I’m afraid.

    Still, it’ll be really interesting to see how you do. I might shadow you on my own and aim lower, like 2500/day instead. Good luck!

    • dwsmith

      I think shadowing is a great idea. Why I am making it into a no-lose challenge is for those who need skin in the game. But shadowing is great. Motivation is always helpful no matter how it comes.

  • Ric

    Glad to hear your eye is getting better. I’d love to take a challenge like this, but one million words in nine month is out of my league (for now).

    I think I’ll follow along unofficially and try and hit 500K in nine months, which, taking into account my day job, might be doable — if I push myself.

    It’d make 2023 my biggest writing year to date, with 100K already written. And I’d be 70% up on last year.

  • Kate Pavelle

    Dean, I’d like to join you in this! I’ve sustained that pace in that “A story a day for a month” challenge few years back, although I made it only to day 22. So I know this is doable as long as I structure it in. 3,800 words a day is a good day writing, but I’ve written a good deal more when I needed to.
    Nothing like having some skin in the game!
    As long as there’s no requirement to publish everything right away, though. I don’t want to speed-launch things anymore. I want to make sure new releases are on preorder and scheduled with some kind of a strategy in mind. If you would like the participants to use a software to keep track of the words, that’s fine. I use post-it notes and a wall calendar, which doesn’t account for SM posts and newsletters, because I just don’t track those. I could use an upgrade in that respect.

    • dwsmith

      No publication requirement. I’ll announce here when I have it set up. Should be really good for both of us. (grin) And to be honest, if we are close, you win. Meaning I have 20,000 more words than you at the end, that’s close enough for you to win. Actually, come to think of it, this is a win just doing it for both of us. (grin) I’ll let you know when this is set up. A few days.

      • Kate Pavelle

        Woo-hoo! I’m charged up, and getting my “things in order.” I want my other projects out of the way so I have no excuses. A stalled project is like this “but I have to finish THAT first” roadblock at times.
        No more of that 🙂

    • dwsmith

      LOL, Mihnea. Not likely. You may think they match my words in some superficial way, but there are so many level of writing you can’t see, let alone control. That was just head-shakingly funny because it shows such a lack of respect for the art of writing.

  • Ed Teja

    I’ve got several projects going (new series) that got inspired the work by your short story course and then the cover course (hey, after a couple of shorts and the cover, the work is half done, right?) so I’ll be shadowing you on this. Probably not 3800 words a day, but I’ve been averaging 1600 a day so far this year, and now that the cover work is done, I can spend more hours writing. So, I’ll by watching your speed and seeing how disciplined I can be!!

    • dwsmith

      That’s what this is for, Ed. Focus on the writing and getting words down that we might not have gotten down if not for the focus. Keep it fun, remember.