Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  Writing in Public

Looking Back



Gaining on more and more strength. Still taking extreme naps, and losing focus at times, but way better than yesterday and not in the same world as the day before.



Made it to the WMG offices around 1 p.m. and worked there until the writer lunch, then two hours of good conversation, then I hung around and did some more stuff, including working on Smith’s Monthly.

Then home for a nap and cook dinner. Then another nap.

Finally managed to get in here around 11 p.m. to work on workshop assignments. Then I got the anthology assignment stuff all done and got it all off to the editors.

Then I actually pulled up the last book I was working on and started through it, putting it back into my head. No new words, but felt good to be back focused on some writing.


February Online Workshops Start on February 1st!

That’s Only One Week Away!!!

All of the February Online Workshops marked below have openings. Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to

Each regular workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time.

All workshops have openings.

Class #11… Feb 1st … Advanced Depth
Class #12… Feb 1st … Character Voice/Setting
Class #13… Feb 1st … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #14… Feb 1st … Ideas into Stories
Class #15… Feb 2nd … Character Development
Class #16… Feb 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Feb 2nd … Plotting With Depth
Class #18… Feb 3rd … Designing Covers
Class #19… Feb 3rd … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Feb 3rd … How to Write Science Fiction

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.


Topic of the Night: Challenge

I was trying to figure out how often I was sick in the last 856 days that I have been posting here every night. Not counting just being exhausted, I think only one other time, last December. And maybe the December before as well. But I remember both being minor as this one was.

I have also taken eight or nine major trips during that 856 days. Three times to Las Vegas. Three or so conferences. Some fun trips to see friends. Not many trips for that long of a period. I tend to like to stay home, but I did take numbers of shorter trips.

During that time I had a bunch of family stuff happen I never talked about. My mother died and I couldn’t make the funeral for a health reason. Kris and I also lost numbers of cats during that time, including my heart cat, Walter.

But I also put out 25 issues of Smith’s Monthly and wrote about 25 novels during that period of time, plus five nonfiction books and Stories from July. And I worked hard with Kris and Allyson and everyone at WMG Publishing to keep building that company.

And Kris and I have taught numbers of workshops here at the coast, plus a regular monthly schedule of online workshops. Recorded a bunch of new ones, retired others, and I hope kept the workshops active and interesting.

And every night for 856 nights, even if the post was a “I’m still alive…” post, I have managed to post something here. That’s amazing considering internet and web site issues. Right in the middle of all that time, I had to switch this site over to a more secure host.

Coming up I’m going to take a bunch of the Topics of the Night and collect them in one spot, at least the main ones. Not ones like this one. I call this a secondary personal topic.

So anyhow, a quick look back at 856 days as I come out of this minor sickness and get back to the focus on writing. Stay tuned.


Totals For Year 3, Month 6, Day 23

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 856

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 11,200 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,200 words 

— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 11,700 words

— E-mail: 23 e-mails. (not counting anthology workshop)  Approx. 900 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 467 e-mails. Approx. 19,500 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 3 Covers


You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

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  • Jes

    I am sorry to hear of your losses. Losing a parent is complicated business. My condolences to you and Kris. As you know, we are all quite partial to that sweet cat. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

    • dwsmith

      Just all part of life during the challenge. That’s the key with anyone doing a challenge. You have to be willing to work through the life rolls, or at least climb back on fairly quickly.

  • ed ryan

    For anyone keeping track, that’s a novel every 34 days +/-. Not counting everything else.

    Makes me feel like a loser :).

    Makes sense though, if you think about every novel being ~50k words. It’s about 1500 words per day. 1-1/2 hours at Dean’s ordinary typing pace.

    So even if email, smith’s monthly, and blogs were 3x that amount, he still not working 8 hour days writing.

    Now I think Dean’s a loser!!!

    Seriously, though, it’s a good lesson in focusing on goals and working toward them at a good pace without sweating the 5 days out of the 34 in the life of a novel that you got 0 words or whatever happens.

    Very eye-opening and encouraging stuff.

  • Dane Tyler

    It’ll be nice to have all the Topics in one place. A nice way to run through them and refresh, and maybe catch some that might’ve been missed. Looking forward to that.

    Meanwhile, get well and we’ll see you when you’re better. 🙂

  • Michèle Laframboise

    I follow you blog since almost the beginning. A goldmine of informations and advice!

    I’m curious about the change of domain, if you are at liberty to tell. I’m considering migrating my two domain names off my current canadian host to Siteground. And, my belated sympathies for the loss of your mother (and not being able to attend). It’s a reality of the modern world that distances separate most families.

    • dwsmith

      The problem was that I needed a dedicated server since between this site and all the others under this one account, it had too much traffic and was getting attacked too much. So we moved it to a dedicated server and hardened the defenses. Solves some of the problems.