Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

How Is The Writing Going?

Considering Everything… Not Bad…

The Kickstarter just ended, we are preparing and spending a ton of time on getting ready for the Licensing Expo, the Future’s Patience workshop is ending and the Time Travel workshop is starting.

And I have increased my steps to walking over 12,000 steps a day and losing weight slowly and spent a little time in the gym running five of the last seven days. (Down 7 pounds in six weeks.)

And I have been working on a new web site and learning InDesign to do covers and ramping all that up.

So how is the writing going with all that? Actually, fine. And picking up speed. Go figure. (grin)

For those of you who have been following along, I am in a ramp-up phase of a challenge and staying on that. Ramp-up just got off slowly for the first 100 days, but I have finished a Cold Poker Gang novel and working on a second one called Ring Game: A Cold Poker Gang novel that I should have done before the next 100 days start.

The first stage of this ramp-up challenge was to have 5 novels done in a hundred days. Going to finish two. Fail to success.

The next 100 days I am supposed to have seven done. I might be able to do that. Or get close, now that I am ramping up. Got a few trips planned, but I should be able to write just fine on the trips. So hoping for six, to be honest. Just over two weeks per book. About 3,000 words a day.

The last part of the challenge will be the real challenge, and that is ten novels in 100 days. Last 100 days of the year. Yup, that’s a challenge and I will need to be back at my old pre-Las Vegas speed to do that. Might happen. I’m headed there.

So say I hit ten in the last 100 days, six in the previous 100 days, and these two now, that would give me a total of 19 novels this year (finished one earlier in the year as well.) A decent year on novels.

And adding in all the other books I am publishing with my name on them, that will bring the total for 2019 to about 42-43 books. About my old normal. But got to hit the novel writing part of this. The challenge, got to hit that to get to that number.

So how is this happening on a day-to-day level? When I get up around 10 am, I check business first quickly, then either head out to write at a buffet or restaurant, or go to my computer here in my office and work to get over a thousand words done. Closer to two thousand is better.

This summer will mostly be working here because of the heat.

Then all the other stuff during the day, then around 11:30 or so pm I head back to the computer, do a little business work if any left to do, and move to my writing computer and get more writing done.  Usually until about 2:30 am. So writing both morning and evenings. Business and exercise and workshop stuff in the middle.

Some days that works, others, not so much. Won’t work next week with the Licensing Expo, of course.

But it does seem to function and feel right and the fact that it is working has me excited.

And Kris loved the last Cold Poker Gang novel, so got to put in a few typos she found and get it to WMG Publishing and then get it to those following this crazy challenge before getting it in Smith’s Monthly.

So how is the writing going people have asked? Actually, finally, after all this time trying to figure it out, just fine.


  • Harvey Stanbrough

    Dean, I wonder whether you know what a great post this is. I’ve shared it widely with a note attached: “If you set goals for yourself (or if you don’t because you’re afraid to fail), this is an important post to read.”


  • Philip

    I’d like to write a bunch of 40k word westerns in a new series I have ideas for, and I’m trying to think of a good challenge to set for myself. Even if I go at Pulp Speed One, that gets me a whopping 25 novels in a year!

    Speaking of which, I see on the right panel you have “Writing Westerns” as a workshop. However, I can’t find it on Teachable. Can you point me in the right direction?

    • dwsmith

      Haven’t done it yet, Philip (the Western Workshop). It will be done in a month or so. See the schedule in that panel as to when.

      And interesting that you have no issue writing one million words a year (about 80,000 words a month) but when you convert it into novels, that’s when it hits you. (grin) I hope to do around 19 novels this year and I did almost nothing the first part of the year.

      25 novels at 40,000 words a book is basically one every two weeks (taking two weeks off). Basically about 2,800 words a day.

  • emmiD

    Congratulations! Great news that you’ve found a solution that seems to combine bits of the former way of working with the new: time, focus during those times, and everything between.

  • Philip

    Dean – Here’s a fun exercise I did today, and I think others who follow your writing advice will appreciate.

    I re-read all of your Pulp Speed posts, and I crunched some numbers. (Yes, Math… As you always say, many of the Writing Myth devotees hate confronting the real numbers, but they tell the whole story).

    In the golden age of pulps, if a writer produced a single 40,000-word novel every week, he’d produce 2,080,000 words in the year. Assuming he was paid 1 cent–just one damn penny–per word, he’d earn $20,800 in that year. Doesn’t seem like much, right? Not worth getting out of bed for?

    Let’s say the year was 1940 because that seems like the middle of the golden age of pulp. I went over to the Consumer Price Index calculator to see what $20,800 is worth TODAY when you account for inflation.

    Today, that pulp writer would earn $382,402.76. Let that sink in.

    • dwsmith

      Philip, fun calculation, but you need to go back to 1930 or so. And figure on average the top Pulp Writer managed about 1.5 million words a year and got paid on average 3 cents a word. (Some got more, some less.) Writers like Max Brand (Frederick Faust) had upwards of a dozen movies a year from their books. With all the books in the magazines and in other places, and the movies and radio and other things he was getting paid for, he was one of the richest people in the country when he was killed. Dr. Kildare alone made him and his estate more millions than you can imagine in radio and television, not counting the magazines.

      But yup, math never lies.

  • Ashley R Pollard

    I’m going through a life event that sucks. Writing has been put to the bottom of the pile, but today for the first time in ages I started having ideas for scenes. Letting them noodle around in my head, but this is a biggee for me as I’ve been pretty blank coping with life issues.

  • D J Mills

    Good to hear the weight is dropping, while doing all the business, and writing.
    I am attempting one short story a month (for a year) published. Got the cover made and published in May. Eleven more to go, so will begin June’s short story on Monday.
    And I am trying one 50K novel per month for 3 months (over winter), or longer if I can keep up the routine in Spring.
    Have fun at the Licensing Expo. 🙂

  • allynh

    I was just looking at this the other day:

    Wiki – Walter B. Gibson

    The guy who wrote The Shadow, and other stuff, under multiple pen names. Then you mentioned Max Brand.

    This is the Wiki list of Pulp Writers, but no classification based on output.

    Wiki – Category:Pulp fiction writers

    The list is missing people like Nick Carter(Frederick van Rensselaer Dey), and Charles Hamilton (writer), so it’s not complete.

    Wiki has a listing of prolific writers, but is missing most of the pulp writers.

    Wiki – List of prolific writers

    I would love to find a list that is more complete.