Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

How I Count Years…

Resetting and Focusing Ahead…

I actually have three times in a year I really reset and focus. First of the year, of course. July 1st (halfway), of course. And around my birthday.

Now I am not sure why I use three, since my birthday is in early November (don’t ask) and I just sort of use it for starting challenges and other things over the years. Or if nothing else, spend the two months before the end of the year to get ready for the new year.

In January 2018, Kris was so sick, I was only thinking of that. In July of 2018 I was still in the middle of the big move and didn’t give resetting my writing even a thought. By the first part of November 2018, I was trying to figure out a new writing schedule and failing completely.

So January I tried to reset, but wasn’t ready yet, and failed. July I just sort of let slip past, but was bringing the writing back slowly. Now finally, after a rough two years, I am back writing (keeping it to myself at the moment) and getting ready for January 1st.

(You folks don’t think professional writers have rough years, huh? (grin))

So in the last part of December, I will be posting here about my plans for the coming year, and I know a number of you would like me to do a “writing in public” for a month here and there. So I will do that next year on challenges.

So over these next two months I will be firing back up getting things to my Patreon supporters and doing Smith’s Monthly and finishing up the Make 100, late but it will be done.

And yes, those of you following the Pulp Speed challenge that failed so badly will be in for a surprise in the coming year.

So here I am in the early part of November feeling confident enough to start the clean-up and the year-end reset.

For those of you with writing word count goals for the year, or story counts for the year you wanted to hit, you might want to stop now and see how you stand and maybe make a push to the end of the year, or at least until the holidays.

Or do as I am doing and start thinking about what you will want to try for next year. I will be doing a lot on that topic here this year, since for me it is so personal and close to home. (grin)

So stay tuned.



  • Céline Malgen

    I’m looking forward to following you going back to your writing, and to the restart of Smith’s Monthly. Best wishes! And happy birthday.

  • emmiD

    Looking forward to the writing in public. I know it will be fascinating.

    I keep going back to the Pulp Speed blogs. This year will be the closest I have ever come to a million words. I hope to achieve that goal. Your posts and Kris’ motivate me—including getting a handle on licensing.

    Resets for me usually happen in August. This year it led to scheduling all of 2020 to push myself harder to get a whole series in paperback. November is usually my month for the reset, but right now unexpected things are so in the way that I can’t see how the month will be productive. A little birdie must have known to have me scheduling back in August. I hope December isn’t disrupted as well.

    I’ve also been rethinking my next five year business plan, making it three years instead. I haven’t seen you blog on that (but I could have missed it).

    So a lot of thinking while I will doing other things.

    Dean, happy birthday (whether belated or early)!

  • Ashley R Pollard

    I understand rough years. I published my first three novels and what followed was ill health, which has made the last two years difficult. It is your blog and writing courses that have kept me going when all I wanted to do was give up.

    So thank you, and Kris for being wonderful inspirations.

  • Kate Pavelle

    Happy Birthday, fellow Scorpio! If I took stock in this kind of a thing, I’d see this as a *sign.* As in, “Look! Never mind statistics… but if my birthday is this close to Dean’s then I’m bound to kick some serious tushie down the line!” And this is why we don’t investigate the birthday of negative, people 😉
    May this year be fabulous.

  • Martin

    I’m going through a divorce and have struggled to get fiction words going again. This makes me realize that not writing can happen and not to beat myself up over that.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, just let the writing be a fun place to go, to escape to. Don’t make it special. If you do, it gets wrapped into all the life drama. Just leave the writing as an escape to go play. It does help.

  • Maree

    I think I picked up the idea of doing several resets each year from you a few years back. It takes some of the all or nothing pressure off January 1st. I find I’ve divided the year into thirds.

    What I find that I do now is set big goals at the start of the new year, and at the end of March have an evaluation of what is working and not, and why. And then I can reset with revised goals.

    3rd reset is in September when my kids go back to school. Then I have time to think about what I wanted to get done and haven’t, as well as anything new.

    Doing a reset every few months really makes a difference, so thanks for the idea!

  • Lorri Moulton

    Thank you for this blog. I can’t afford the classes (yet) but your blog gives me many good ideas. Have a great birthday, Dean! And wishing you and Kris the happiest of holidays.