Challenge,  On Writing

My Challenge

Off To a Decent Start…

I am working to write ten novels in one-hundred days. That is my challenge to start this year. Same challenge I tried to start twice this fall and didn’t even get off the ground.

But this time I am gaining speed just fine.

My goal is to get up to a minimum of 3,000 words a day. Some days will be more because that is the way it works for me, but I have to have that lower limit every day. And to get to that lower limit, I needed to ramp up.

So on January 1st I wrote 1,000 words on a project that might or might not go anywhere. I was just playing.

Yesterday, January 2nd I started a brand new novel with a new character called Sky Tate. She is a superhero detective in my Poker Boy and Ghost Agent worlds. I had done a number of short stories with her in my last challenge in April and really liked the attitude and character.

So when Writers of the Future asked me to write a story around their cover for Volume #35, here came Sky Tate. And since that story is coming out in April, I figured why not try to write a novel with her. So I sat down and got 2,000 words yesterday.

Then today I managed with a lot of interruptions and business, to do another 2,000 words on that novel. At the moment it is called Viewing Susan: A Sky Tate Novel. Not sure why. I liked the title from one of her short stories from last April and just went with it for the novel.

So tomorrow I hope to have this ramp up to 3,000 words for the day and then will hold it or do more per day, even if I have to write late into the night.

So I am starting. Finally.

And the exercise and weight challenge is fine as well. Just under my 10,000 steps per day average that I need and will get back to the gym and running sometime in the next few days. And right on goal weight at the moment. So far so good.

I will do these personal posts here regularly if anyone is following along. And, of course, those following with the Pulp Speed challenge will get to read the books very quickly. And then I will get Smith’s Monthly back up and going this spring and get stuff to my Patreon supporters as well, plus some surprises.

Hope all of you are having a good start to the new year.



  • James Palmer

    I love reading your challenge posts, Dean. Really gets me motivated.

    I’ve set my own challenge to write three novels in a space fantasy trilogy, one book each in January, February, and March. In April I’ll have a ghostwriting gig, so I’ll have the money to get covers for the books. Then I’ll rapid release them while I write the ghostwriting project. I’m 7k words and change into it, because I started it the last couple weeks of December. AND I’m writing mostly into the dark, which I don’t normally do. My goal is 2k a day, which I haven’t hit yet.

    Good luck!

  • Chris

    I follow your “challenge posts” avidly, so, really looking forward to more of those.

    As for my own challenge(s) for 2019, well, you planted a seed a while ago with the “short story plan” that “no-one is going to do”, your words, 😉 It’s like you threw down the gauntlet, and I have been wondering about it for a while. As a result, short stories are definitely on the cards for 2019, as are several novels.

    I look forward to reading more about your challenges, Dean. #seriousmotivation Thanks and best of luck!

  • Kat

    Hi Dean,
    Thanks for sharing your challenge and keeping us updated. This year, I am trying to establish an exercise routine and also reboot my writing (last year was a total wash for various reasons, including health–give Kris my hugs). This sounds crazy (because why should it really matter) but can I ask what your typical day is? When do you write? When do you exercise? IS there a typical routine or is each day flexible and you figure it out on the fly?
    You mentioned writing into the night. I’m a night owl, but find myself struggling with working that kind of schedule because it puts me out of sync with the world (and my husband). Yet, I also wonder if trying to fight my nature and work days is contributing to my migraines.
    Do you typically work at night? If so, any tips?
    Thanks in advance for your help and guidance!

    • dwsmith


      I have for decades written at night. Moving that back to daytime but not completely succeeding. But working at it.

      No tips. It is wonderful and quiet and I love it.

      At the moment, I do not have a typical day which is part of my problem. I will be setting that over the coming weeks, I hope (as soon as CES is done) and blogging about that. Again, at the moment I am struggling, which I expected. But I will get it solved. Stay tuned and I might have answers in a month. (grin)

      • Kat


        Thanks so much for answering! I know you’ve posted another blog on this topic, so I won’t say much here. While not wishing the struggle on anyone else, I’m a little reassured that I’m not the only writer in the world who had a typical routine (which was disrupted) and is struggling to find and establish another.

        I’ll definitely stay tuned (and may chime in from time to time on how my progress is going). Know that you have another night owl out there who is trying out the day thing.

        In solidarity,
        Kat 🙂

  • Morty

    That’s impressive and inspiring!

    One question though.

    3,000 words per day * 100 days = 300,000 words total
    300,000 words total / 10 novels = 30,000 words per novel

    So, those would be 10 short novels, correct?

    • dwsmith

      Oh, once I get up to speed, I will have many days far over 3,000 words. The 3,000 words is just my minimum floor I am working to get to. Most of my novels range from 40,000 to 50,000. But I got to climb up on that floor first. (grin)