Challenge,  publishing

New Challenge Update

Nothing Changed… Just Some Focus…

With all the world events, it has been damn near impossible for most of us to focus over the last two months. Still, going into 2021 with the vaccine coming on and the chaos-in-chief leaving, I figured the future was solid enough to make some goals and to push myself for 2021.

And I still believe that. Just didn’t know that 2020 was going to have a 13th month.

So lost a bunch of days and a bunch of focus, as many of us did over the last 20 days. And the waiting and wondering what was going to happen next just puts an underlying tension that drains focus. But as I write this, we have about 9 hours to survive and then the entire nation and world will take a deep breath and relax a little. I might be up all night tonight. Like waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. We shall see.

So the point of this is that I managed to stay focused about 2/3rds of what I needed so far this month.

— I did a massive InDesign learning curve and got Smith’s Monthly #45 laid out in paper and ready to go to publication. Now I will put together #46 and get it off to copyediting.

— I finished the Cave Creek novel and will have it in for copyediting in a few days as well.

— I wrote a number of short stories in a row. But it was the short stories that I got sidetracked on. No issue, because that is a year-long goal and I can catch those up. But writing those first week of short stories made me realize I still wasn’t organized enough with stories and so part of stopping on those was to spend the time on the organization. And learning spreadsheets more. (Gasp)

— Started a new novel.

— Kept my blog streak alive, although one night my web site was down and it was close.

So why am I going over all this? Because when you start big challenges and streaks, you often have to reset and look at it after a few weeks. That is normal. I am not changing my goals for the year at all. But instead of getting discouraged at being slightly behind on one element, I just stepped back and looked at the cause and the solution and decided to stay the course.

And, to be honest, it feels great to start being a lot more productive again. And for me, that scares hell out of people. (grin)

So tomorrow, or the next day, when the world’s pressure has eased, take a look at your goals and see how you are doing and confirm those goals or adjust them.

And refocus on staying safe. Mask up, six feet from anyone, no eating in restaurants (do take out) or drinking in bars. And get the shot as soon as your place in line comes up. If we all do that, by this summer we will be back in a closer-to-normal world. Closer.

And by the way, if you would like to come to an in-person workshop here in Vegas in 2022, we will require your vaccination card. So when you get your shots, save it. We won’t be the only business to require them over the next year or two. Got a hunch at some point you will need to show them to get a plane ticket.

Weight and Exercise Challenge Update

I really blew this off the last 20 days. I stress ate and the focus was all on the writing and publishing.

But then I read what our new president was going to try to accomplish in his first 100 days. I figured if he and his people can save the world in a hundred days, I can try to save my sorry ass in the same amount of time.

So for 100 days I am going to lose 1 pound every 5 days. Easy since I am taking my calorie intake down to 1,500 calories a day, cutting out most carbs and doing more protein and veggies. Normally doing that I lose two pounds a week, so one pound in five days is comfortable and a healthy pace. 100 days I will drop 20 pounds and be at the running weight I wish I would have been at before I did the marathon.

Second, going to ramp up steps, starting at 5,000 a day. Each week over the 100 days I will add 500 steps per day to the streak so that by the last week of the 100 days I will be doing about 12,000 steps a day, which will also help the weight loss. Some of those steps in the last half will be running steps and there is a half marathon the last week of the 100 days I might sign up for. I did it two years ago, but again way heavier and not in as good of shape.

Also by then I will have had both vaccine shots.

So that’s it for all the updates. Now go watch our new president and vice president get sworn in.


  • Mary Kennedy

    It’s a good day to reasses and regroup. Me, I realized last night that I’m about 8,000 words behind where I want to be. And that’s okay. I have time to catch up, and if the outside stressors back off a little (and after today, I expect them to), I will. A little stretching, but still doable.

    As a side note, Dean, I got an awesome compliment the other day, and I owe you a thank you for it. This person told me that one of the things that pulled her in to the book was how many sensory details I included, including all senses, and how detailed they were so that the setting felt very real. I learned how to do that from the Depth workshop, otherwise I’d still be stumbling around with fake details, so thank you.

  • Jim Turnbo III

    Wating for #45 of Smith’s to go live.

    On the topic of streaks and goals, which one of your classes would work to learn how to get paid? You and Kris speak highly of licensing. I’ve read “Rethinking The Writing Business” and working through “Playing The Short Game.” I’m two weeks into my 2021 goal of publishing a short story a week and decided to publish wide. (D2D makes that extremely easy.)

    I need to learn how to generate revenue from my writing. Of the few publications I’ve researched online, many are taking 6-8 months before they put eyes on the story. Then additional time to make a choice. I understand self-publishing and publications are only two of a vast list of options.

    Food for thought for a future post… when get back your schedule, that is.