Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Novel One: Day Three

A Survival Day…

(As a reminder, the overall monthly challenge is to write four novels, lose eight pounds, and gain distance every week on my step count, starting the first week at 11,000 steps per day.)

The Day Went Like This…

Got out the door around 3 p.m. today after a half hour of e-mail to run some business errands. Made it to the WMG offices at 4 p.m. and then went back out for a walk to get steps.

Back to the office around 5 a.m. and worked there on workshop stuff until 6:30. Groceries and home to do a little more email and some workshop stuff for an hour before taking a nap at 8 p.m. and then cooking dinner.

Got in here around 10 p.m. to do assignments for the online workshops. I was going along fine until 11:15 when I realized I was still 3,000 steps short. Yikes.

Out the door I went, climbed into the car, went about three blocks to a parking lot near a flat stretch of sidewalk and did some long laps, finishing the three thousand steps to get past 11,000 steps by 11:45. Too close there.

I went back and worked for another 45 minutes on the assignment stuff, finally finishing by 12:30 a.m.


Half hour late getting to the novel. Then the first thing I did was take out an entire character. I sat down, realized the character was just something I was tacking on and I spent thirty minutes sweeping him out of the book.

Poof, gone.

So about 1 a.m. I started making progress. Slow, but progress and managed 900 words by 1:45 a.m. Took a fifteen minute break.

Started back up at 2 a.m. and got up to speed, doing 1,400 words by 2:45 a,m.

Five minute break, another 1,500 words by 3:30 a.m.

Five minutes to make some celery and peanut butter and honey, then another 1,400 words by 4:15.

Novel was powering along. Considering the late and slow start, I was very happy with that.

Five minutes to stare at something besides a computer screen, then another 900 words before I ran out of gas right around 5 a.m.

6,100 words of fiction total for the night in five positive sessions and one clean-out session. 

Novel is now at 19,400 words.

This entire day felt like I was behind. I almost missed my steps and if the writing hadn’t been going quickly, I would have been writing until seven in the morning.

A rough third day, but still got it done. Hope tomorrow goes back to being easy.

The Day Breakdown

4.5 hours writing… 6,100 words
1.5 hours exercise plus normal movement… 11,100 steps
6 hours of work for workshops and meetings and such.

The rest television, cooking dinner, and so on. Plus 7 hours of sleep and a short nap.


Days over 6,000 words… 3 of 3
Days over 11,000 steps… 3 of 3
17 hours of regular job work so far for the week


Tracking Word Counts… July 3rd, 2017
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,383

— Daily Fiction: 6,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 19,400 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 1,200 words
— E-mail: 42 e-mails.  Approx. 2,900 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 99 e-mails. Approx. 5,600 words



All have openings at the moment. Information at

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #1… July 11th … Depth #3: Research
Class #2… July 11th … Author Voice
Class #3… July 11th … Business
Class #4… July 11th … Endings
Class #5… July 11th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #6… July 11th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #7… July 12th … Depth in Writing
Class #8… July 12th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #9… July 12th … Cliffhangers
Class #10… July 12th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #11… July 12th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #12… July 12th … Writing Fantasy

Depth #3: Research and Writing Fantasy are both new this month and will fill quickly.


Dark Crimes Bundle… ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT!!!

I want to remind everyone that I am in a fantastic bundle called Dark Crimes on

Dark Crimes Bundle has two anthologies and eight crime novels.



You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Thanks for your support.


  • Peggy

    Question: when you make a big change like deleting a character from your book, do you save the earlier version or do you erase him from the only draft?

    • dwsmith

      Peggy, why would I save an earlier version? I can barely keep track of what I do finish and publish. (grin)

  • Prasenjeet

    I was reading Steven Pressfield’s blog. He said that he once sent a novel to his first reader (or editor, not clear from his post) and his first reader absolutely hated the novel. Now, he’s an experienced writer and his craft is well developed. Steven said he did not look at the comments for two weeks. But then he read them one by one and finally agreed with most of them. He says on his blog that amateurs balk, become defensive, and refuse to alter their work. Whereas a pro finds the strength to bite the bullet.

    Do you agree with the statement? Has it ever happened that you wrote a book from your heart and your first reader hated it? How do you deal with such scenarios?

    • dwsmith

      Dumbest thing I have ever heard. The guy really isn’t an artist who believes in his own work if he lets others into his process.

      One reader is only one opinion. Nothing more, and they are often wrong because they are a different person. The guy probably ruined a perfectly good book by letting others into it. But everyone has a different way of doing things I suppose.

      Also, if this is the Steven Pressfield who works on scripts and such, he’s used to working by committee. That’s how its done in Hollywood, so it must work for him there. But for something for writers in general to follow, horrid, stupid advice, listening and changing your book because of one opinion.

      You asked.

      • Kristine Rusch

        My best friend and second reader on one of my series, whose advice I usually trust completely, HATED one of my novels. I was stunned. Then I realized what happened. The book–a mystery– was about unwanted and abandoned children. His wife was pregnant with their first child. He didn’t want to think about anything bad connected to children. If I had taken the advice he gave me and rewrote to his reaction I would have destroyed one of the most acclaimed books in the series. Every reader has a life and opinions that come from that life. Sometimes their lives trump their reader response. That’s why you never revise based on one reader’s opinion.

        • Peggy K.

          If you’re going to use first reader(s), there are worse guidelines than Stephen King’s rule: Ties go to the writer. In other words, if the opinion is equally split, the writer wins. But if the majority of your first readers feel something is a problem, it’s probably a problem.

          • dwsmith

            If you have more than one first reader, you are doing something horribly wrong. Yow!! Writing is an art form done by a single person (most times). You bring in committee and you start dumbing everything down and losing your own voice and art. A single first reader that you often ignore. That way lies your true voice.

            Other way is just fear and insecurity in your own work.