Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Just Words… I Can Write More

Not a Clue Who Originally Said That…

I am sure it was some professional writer somewhere. Or maybe I just said it. I don’t know and Google is of no help. But that saying was how I answered a couple questions today about how this novel got started.

When I said the 1,900 word short story “Hot Springs Meadow” failed, I didn’t mean it failed because of some critical voice garbage I had going on. No, it failed because I had set up an alternate timeline problem and a time travel problem and had not solved the problem.

I think I just didn’t want to write the novel back when I wrote that short story. So it just stopped with a solution that would not work. Oops.

So have I figured out the solution to this alternate timeline problem? Oh, heavens, no. As I said in the Tip of the Week this week, I’m going to let my characters work that out.

But I got a couple questions wondering why I wasn’t worried about getting into the novel and not being able to solve that problem?

Sure, I want to solve it, but I am not worried in the slightest that the novel might go dead and I will have “wasted” words and time. Nope. I trust the process. So I am now along for the ride as my characters work out the problem and solve it, or don’t. Either way it will likely end up a novel.

And I am not giving that one ounce of worry. My focus is just on writing the next scene and having fun.

And besides, no writing words are ever wasted. My words are not some golden gems, waiting to be delivered to the readers on gold platters. Nope, every word I write is practice and fun. So no words or time is ever a waste when telling a story.

And if you are worried about wasting words and making sure everything is perfect, start changing that quickly. Not only does it make writing no fun, it will stop your writing cold given time. A nasty problem.

And speaking of writing and the priorities I laid out yesterday, today, as I expected it would be, was a tough writing day. It was mostly a business and workshops and exercise day. Got all of it done, but not a lot of writing. Some, but not a lot.



Information is right here on the two new workshops, Tags and How to Study. Sign up on

These September workshops will vanish on Wednesday to be replaced by the October workshops. First week is just wrapping up but still time to jump in.

September List of Regular Workshops

Class #25… Sept 4th … Depth #3: Research
Class #26… Sept 4th … Author Voice
Class #27… Sept 4th … Dialog
Class #28… Sept 4th … Writing into the Dark
Class #29… Sept 4th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #30… Sept 4th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #31… Sept 5th … Depth in Writing
Class #32… Sept 5th … How To Study
Class #33… Sept 5th … Writing Fantasy
Class #34… Sept 5th … Novel Structure
Class #35… Sept 5th … How to Use Tags
Class #36… Sept 5th … Advanced Depth


  • allynh


    You mention that you answered a few questions in yesterday’s comments, Day One of the Pulp Speed Challenge. I can’t see any comments. And, I can’t see anything called “Tip of the Week”.

    I’ve tried to force a refresh on the page, but still nothing.

    • dwsmith

      Not in the comments. No one asked any questions yesterday in the comments. They were letters. And Tip of the Week is a regular tip on writing I put up every week on Teachable. It also wasn’t here.

      Sorry for the confusion.

  • Sheila

    Thank you for that gem today! I do get ‘stuck’ in a story at times, or fear writing a story because I can’t figure out how my character will solve the problems put in front of her. And it *think* you’ve just said, “just write and let the characters solve their own problems”. It puts a different spin on it.

  • Chong Go

    Thank you so much for helping me get over this! The idea that I could just freely throw away words was hugely liberating for me. I hated to throw them away. I think in part it was because writing wasn’t so much fun (too much school experience with critical voice and trying to plan everything out), although laziness could have been a factor!

  • Janine

    Thanks for this. I had to yank a bunch of words yesterday because it didn’t work. In the past, I saw it as wasted, but I realize that even if I can’t use any of it, it’s still practice that I got in. It’s like baking, even if I can’t use it, I learned something out of it and doesn’t make it a complete waste of time. I learned something from the writing I had to throw out. And I think it goes along with the “writing in the dark” philosophy that sometimes you will be writing things that get tossed out and miss the final cut.