Cave Creek,  Challenge,  On Writing

Card Sharp Silver… Day 9

Onward I Go…

Not great numbers, but unlike many writers out there who are beating on themselves and stressed beyond words because of the world situation, I am getting words done.

Not saying I haven’t been paying attention. I have.

Not saying at times I don’t get stressed. I do.

But not to excess because besides taking care of our business, social distancing, and disinfecting everything I touch, there ain’t a thing I can do. If I was a medical professional, I most certainly would be pitching in. But all I really know how to do after the last forty years is make shit up and entertain people.

And donate to causes I think have merit and are helping others.

Plus I try to help people find (and stay) on their dreams in this crazy time.

So I am writing to entertain and doing workshops to help people forward.

And showing you what my day was like every day to bring some normalcy into light. (If being a professional writer these days is anything like normal. (grin))

So to the day: I rolled to the computer once again around 11 am with my breakfast bar and my vitamins taken (besides Pepcid, only pills I take these days.) Did email for a hour or so, then moved over and got my first session of writing on the novel done.

Trying to get there earlier every day. Managed to do about 800 words or so before heading out the door for another small grocery run. (All shelves stocked here now again except for paper products. But I don’t get up early enough in the morning to get those supplies.)

Got back around 2 pm and cooked Kris and I some French toast with eggs for lunch. Sounded good, turned out to be perfect. We ate in our glass alcove looking out over the city. Very, very quiet.

Then a nap.

Then back in here to do some more email, then out for a walk.

Then I recorded some videos and got them posted in the Shared World Class. Starting into what is needed to write in a shared world like Cave Creek.

Then another nap. I thought today would be a three nap day, turned out to be just two. Naps are one of the reasons my blood pressure is staying low even though I have gained back around 10 pounds from last fall. Second reason is that I am keeping the stress low.

Cooked steak and stir fry for dinner, then back in here to work on email for a short time. Then over to the writing computer.

In about 45 minutes I got about 700 words done before Kris and I headed out for another walk. Friday night in Las Vegas… dead quiet. Creepy.

Then we watched a show and I got back in here around 12 midnight for a third session at the writing computer.

Managed 1,000 words before moving over here to write this. So in the neighborhood of a 2,500 word day. Got to get that above 4,000 words a day to hit my artificial deadline of being finished by the time the Cave Creek Kickstarter is done in five days.

And speaking of that, we are gaining on the next stretch goal that gives writers a free $50 lecture and readers another free book. Nice to see it moving a little again. Thanks, everyone.


  • Hope

    I’ve been really appreciating these daily blogs as a look into what writing is looking like for you these days. It feels harder to write than it has for a long time, with everything going on in the world, so I’m heartened to read about both your successes and struggles. It’s good to know that we really are all in this together, struggling just the same. Thank you for your updates!

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Hope. And it is more difficult to writer because our brains are focused on this strange, strange situation outside. Key is to just figure out a way for a time to block the outside out, keep it outside, and go play in your writing. Amazing how refreshing it is to stew on a story and what a character might do next vs wondering what the world might do next. (grin)

  • Carolyn Ivy Stein

    Thanks for doing the daily process blog entries. They do help me re-establish a sense of normalcy and they ground me in my writing life in the morning.

    Also, there couldn’t have been a better time for me for Kris to release the Cats Bundle. It was nice to get excited for something like that again. At times like these, what do we need? Cats!

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, Cats bundle is great fun, that’s for sure! I’m enjoying pushing it and having a book in it as well.
      Keep having fun with the writing is the key, an escape from the nothing outside our windows.

  • Lisa Nixon Richard


    This week, I have been stressed beyond belief and wrote 765 words. I haven’t been all that stressed about the world situation, just the house situation. I am still trying to recuperate from total hip replacement surgery done on March 4th. My daughter is now being homeschooled. Now, she has learning disabilities that have blown up in our faces because of all the changes. Most of my days are filled with helping her and becoming the teacher. Extremely stressful. Also, my mother is declining mentally five hours away. The stress of this has peaked because of family members pushing. Long story. Not worth going into. So, in some respects 765 words if phenomenal. However, I have one more book to write by the end of April. I am working on not panicking or beating myself up.

    Tomorrow the daughter is going on spring break to quarantine with her older brother. This gets her out of the house for a week. They get to rest and play games when he isn’t at work. They are both excited for a change of pace. While she is gone, I am turning off my phone. I will hide from my husband who is working from home. All media will be turned off until the daily word limit is reached. No excuses. I will also rest and walk and rehab. I am excited.

    I still am a titch worried about finishing the last novel. Anything could happen between now and the end of April. However, I am going to give it my best shot. I am going to have fun getting back to my world in Midgard and Asgard. And at the end of the day, that is really all that matters, doing the best I can do in extraordinary circumstances.

    • dwsmith

      Wow, Lisa, amazing with all that dropping in you got any words done at all. Kris has a post coming that will help you which she flat tells us all to be kind to ourselves. I think that is the key. Keep the writing the fun escape and hang on.

  • Leah Cutter

    Like you, Dean, I’m still writing every day I can, my usual 3000 words per day. My writing is my sacred space, my sanctuary, my stress relief. In the novel I’m writing currently the world is going to hell and I’m finding it very cathartic. Quite frankly, I have more difficulty focusing on the business side of things. (Don’t worry we have that well in hand.). In many ways it’s business as usual for us, staying home, writing, publishing. Good to hear from you and glad to know you’re staying healthy and safe.

    • dwsmith

      I’m finding the business side (which I only mention as “did business things” in the blog critical and after the initial stress was past) distracting from the world. We made some big changes on two of our biggest projects, as many know. We had to cut back one because this last shoe (virus) dropped after two shoes (Kris sick and Allyson sick) before it and we could see no way to catch up, so that required drastic movement. But with Pulphouse Magazine, after a short delay right now, we are speeding up from quarterly to six times a year production schedule and changing the format a little. Adding in some ongoing sections that are great fun. So this world forced us to cut back one project, speed up another, and look at everything else, which is remaining the same. Times of crisis do that in a business. So keep writing and publishing. You might find the publishing as distracting as the writing. (grin)

  • Kate Pavelle

    That’s all we can do, yep. I felt blocked for a whole week, just fretting, cleaning, shuffling money, helping tenants shuffle money… and now it’s just sit and wait, which leads itself to writing. I’m on track for both the story and the publishing challenges, but just barely. Gardening is happening, with vegetable seeds in pots, sprouted potatoes put to hard work, and lots of yard cleanup.
    I don’t sweat the paper product situation, I ordered inexpensive soft face towels off Amazon and we’ll use washable ones, combined with our new bidet attachment. It’s greener, and it’s also less reliant on the situation outside.
    And… since I’m good with building mechanical things from my old days in research labs, and since my food service PT day job is gone, I applied to assemble respirators in a factory an hour away. It’s not like I can’t work and write at the same time. Tons of writers do it all the time.
    Stay well, stay positive! We got this.

    • dwsmith

      Kate, cool on assembling respirators. I would do that as well if something was close here. Have fun with it and get lots of writing gems.

  • E. R. Paskey

    Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy getting a peek into how your days roll. And I’m really looking forward to reading the novel!

    Strangely enough, despite all the general craziness going on in the world right now, yesterday was the best writing day I’ve had in a long time. (Just like we can see in your posts, multiple sessions ad up!) This past week was the best week I’ve had in a long time, and even if I don’t write another word between now and April 1st, March is the best writing month I’ve had in a couple of years. (In contrast, February was a terrible month, due to Life, the Universe, and Everything.)

    Writing is my escape from reality to maintain my sanity right now, and I’m having so much fun with it that my current project is practically writing itself. *grin* (Pop-Up #18 was a wonderful kick in the pants, also, so thanks.)

    Glad you and Kris are being careful and staying safe. We’re finishing up the first week of official lockdown here in Indiana, and life right now is the weirdest combination of normal and surreal. I suspect there will be a great many fascinating stories in the future that come out of all of this.

    • dwsmith

      E.R., yup, I am hearing from more writers that they are gearing back up and having more control of their time and such. So keep the writing a fun place and stay safe out there.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Here in New Jersey it’s getting pretty bad and much worse in New York.
    I have completely given up watching the news. I only watch the daily press conferences by Governors Murphy and Cuomo who deal only with the facts.
    On the bright side, Dean, thank you with all my heart for your advice. Writing should be a fun place to go and now having been laid off because of this, I’m going to take the time to dive into writing like I never have before.
    My fictional town of Destiny, New Jersey is about to get very busy.

  • MJ Silversmith

    Thanks for sharing your writing blog, Dean. I’d set a goal for this year to write 25K words a month, 300K words for the year. That’s a stretch goal since I’m a full-time university lecturer and have various contracts for a textbook publisher. But I’m doing the Great Challenge for short stories which will take me through October. Then Nano is in November, and I’ll get 50K done, which will help make up what I’m going to be short.

    So far:
    Jan: 13.7K
    Feb: 19.9K
    Mar: 19.4K, with some writing time scheduled for Sunday and Tuesday

    This was our Spring Break week, time off for students but usually one of my busiest weeks, and we’ve had a lot of upheaval in our work processes, as have everyone. Still managed to write 8400 words this week. Sometimes, being too busy is the best focusing agent possible!

    Take care, all.