Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Novel Three: Day Eight

Not Done Yet…

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

Only made about 7,000 steps. Just no time again today. Plus once again the wind was howling here today at over 25 mph. Not comfortable.

The Day Went Like This…

Got up at 1 p.m. even though I was up until 7 a.m. in the morning again. Two days in a row with too little sleep.

I headed out at around 2 p.m. for Newport to go see a long-time friend visiting the coast.

Spent a fun few hours there and got back to my office at WMG around six. Worked until 7 p.m.

Got home, took a nap, and cooked dinner.

Got in here right around 10 p.m. as normal and managed to get all the assignments for the workshops done by 1 a.m.

Took a break and got to my writing computer at 1:30 a.m. and managed 600 words before I came to the horrid realization that before I could finish this thing, I had to cycle all the way back and run through it and focus it. Sigh.

Two hours, two breaks, and only 900 more new words, I had the thing focused. (and areas marked that when I get done I will cut out.)

Then I took a short break and went back at it. 1,600 more words before 5:45 when the tiredness finally caught me.

It will be done tomorrow night, leaving six days for the final novel.

3,100 words in 4 sessions. 


Novel #1…The Writing of TOMBSTONE CANYON: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 1… Words written… 6,600.  Total so far… 6,600 words.
Challenge Day 2… Words written… 6,700.  Total so far… 13,300 words.
Challenge Day 3… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 19,400 words.
Challenge Day 4… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 25,600 words.
Challenge Day 5… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far…, 31,800 words.
Challenge Day 6… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far…, 37,900 words.
Challenge Day 7… Words written… 3,200.  Final Total…, 41,100 words. (Novel count is 38,000)


Challenge Novel #2


Novel #2…The Writing of DEATH TAKES A DIAMOND: A Mary Jo Assassin Novel

 Challenge Day 8… Words written… 6,400.  Total so far… 6,400 words.
 Challenge Day 9… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 12,500 words.
 Challenge Day 10… Words written… 3,200.  Total so far… 15,700 words.
 Challenge Day 11… Words written… 2,900.  Total written so far… 18,600 words.
 Challenge Day 12… Words written… 3,100.  Total written so far… 21,700 words.
 Challenge Day 13… Words written… 6,100.  Total written so far… 27,800 words.
 Challenge Day 14… Words written… 3,300.  Total written so far… 31,100 words.
 Challenge Day 15… Words written… 6,200.  Total written so far… 37,300 words.
 Challenge Day 16… Words written… 6,500.  Total written so far… 43,800 words. (Novel is no where near that long and might get shorter still after Kris reads it.)


Challenge Novel #3


Novel #3…The Writing of DRY CREEK CROSSING: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 17… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 3,100 words.
 Challenge Day 18… Words written… 3,400.  Total so far… 6,500 words.
 Challenge Day 19… Words written… 2,900.  Total so far… 9,400 words.
 Challenge Day 20… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 15,600 words.
 Challenge Day 21… Words written… 6,300.  Total so far… 21,900 words.
 Challenge Day 22… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 28,000 words.
 Challenge Day 23… Words written… 6,000.  Total so far… 34,000 words.
 Challenge Day 24… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 37,100 words.


The Day Breakdown

4 hours writing… 3,100 words
1 hours exercise plus normal movement… 7,000 steps
4.5 hours of work for workshops and e-mails and meetings and such.

The rest is television and cooking and and so on. Plus 8 hours of sleep. Two 10 minute naps.


Days over 6,000 words… 15 of 24
Days over 11,000 steps… 11 of 24

15 hours of regular job work this week. Today is week day three.


Tracking Word Counts… July 24th, 2017
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,405

— Daily Fiction: 3,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 122,000 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 700 words
— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 11,100 words
— E-mail: 45 e-mails.  Approx. 2,700 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 719 e-mails. Approx. 42,300 words



I will get first information to everyone signed up tomorrow (Tuesday or Tuesday night).



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 #13… Aug 8th … Depth #3: Research
Class #14… Aug 8th … Endings
Class #15… Aug 8th … Point of View
Class #16… Aug 8th … Writing Mysteries
Class #17… Aug 8th … Speed
Class #18… Aug 8th … Teams in Fiction
Class #19… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #20… Aug 9th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #21… Aug 9th … Character Development
Class #22… Aug 9th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #23… Aug 9th … Advanced Depth
Class #24… Aug 9th … Writing Fantasy


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.


  • Chris

    I notice that when your writing plans slip because of life or just physical fatigue you don’t panic or try to do double and triple the work the next day.

    Did you always have the confidence in your abilities to work through it all OR is it a result of been-there done-this all before (in other words–years of writing experience)?

    • dwsmith

      Chris, more than likely that comes from a couple places with me. First, I spent time as a professional poker player and still play at time, but don’t make my living from it. Extreme patience is a key to that sport. And just rolling with the bad hands, the bad beats, and so on because you know in the end you will come out on top.

      Second, I do think it is years of doing this. And knowing my abilities as a writer in the sense of how much I can do and so on. I’m a normal writer, however, in the fact that I never think I am doing enough. (grin)

      So a combination of being old and knowing sports and applying it to this crazy art form.

  • JM6

    “leaving six days for the final novel”

    And if you don’t finish the fourth one, what does that mean? Only THREE novels completed in a month and part of a fourth? That’s what you get for trying to have a life while you write. *grin*

    It’s impressive to me, seeing someone not only write (almost) every night but write novels of 40,000 words or so.

    Way back here, at the beginning of a writing career, I’m still trying to figure out how to write longer stories instead of flash fiction and very short short stories. My stories want to be finished almost as soon as I’ve begun writing them. In a previous blog entry, you mentioned starting in the wrong place on one of your novels and having to re-start. I suspect I’m starting too near the end of my stories and need to pull back to see how the characters got there. Thank you for sharing your process in these posts. There’s so much to learn. Still, the work (reading books on how to write, plus your blog) and the play (the writing) continue. I’ll get there … eventually.

    • dwsmith

      Haven’t missed a night writing all month. Some have been 3,000 words or so, but haven’t missed a night writing.

      JM, stop thinking about it with your critical voice and just let your creative voice tell the stories. That’s where you are going wrong. You are, as they say, “In your head.” Let the creative kid loose to play and have fun and stop worrying about how long or short they are. And at the same time, keep learning story structure. The creative voice knows it, all you have to do is get out of the way.

  • Alexis

    Gosh, Dean. If you’re not careful, you might finish three novels this month instead of four. Talk about failing one’s way to success!

    I’m about ready to finish my first publishable book (sixth written) by the end of the month, so I have the first-time publishing jitters. All the evil critical voice statements are coming in full force:

    “You’re too young to write a novel. What do you have to say that’s important?”
    “Have you really practiced enough? Maybe try writing another ten books before attempting to publish.”
    “You haven’t yet read Buddenbrooks, Faust, or Melmoth the Wanderer, so how can you expect to be taken seriously?”
    “You have no following so no one will notice what you publish and therefore what you write doesn’t matter.”

    Slow, deep breaths. I’ll be on vacation in August but the book’s coming this fall!

    • dwsmith

      Why aren’t you publishing the first five as well? Wow, some major critical voice at work, huh?

      Readers, meaning people who buy your work, are the only real judges of what is good and what isn’t. Writers never know our own work, thus why we should never rewrite and kill our own stuff. But, alas, I have been saying that here for a decade now. Haven’t made a dent in the rewrite myth and I never will because it gives writers an excuse to not publish.

      • Gnondpom

        I find you a bit harsh with yourself, Dean. You may not have made a dent in the rewrite myth for writers who don’t follow your blog, but you did make a difference for a great many of your followers.

        If not for your openness about your process on a day-to-day basis, and your approach of writing into the dark and not rewriting, I would never have even dared to start writing. The approach I had always heard about – outlining and rewriting the same piece to death – sounded like too much hard work and no fun, and I was getting bored just thinking about it.