Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Novel Three: Day Three

A Day Away…

(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.)

I planned a day away to get my mind focused in other directions and that is what happened.

The Day Went Like This…

Kris and I got out of town by about 3 p.m. after I did an hour of e-mails. We headed into the valley for a relaxing day. She did some reading, I did some picking, we had a great dinner, and then off to see Spider-Man.

Then pie and home. I did another half hour of emails, then got to my writing computer around 2:30 a.m.

I did three sessions with two breaks in 3 hours for a total of 2,900 words.

I got 8,200 steps.

I’m going to have to kick it into high gear to get this book done since the start has been slow. But feeling like I have the energy to do that now and what I wrote tonight just flowed right along just fine. Kind of fun, actually.

2,900 words in 3 sessions. 


I know it seems like I should be panicked about being behind, but nope, I’m not because I’m not really behind.

If I do the next five days over 6,000 words, I will be close to finishing this book I hope.

And that will leave me a full seven days for the last one. So doing fine.

Just wanted to show you how you figure something like this, by not looking at the big picture or feeling behind, but instead focus on each day. And get words done each day, even on a day like today when I was out doing fun stuff.

Tomorrow, the focus is over 6,000 words.


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.


The Day Breakdown

3 hours writing… 2,900 words
1 hours exercise plus normal movement… 10,600 steps
1.5 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. One 10 minute naps.


Days over 6,000 words… 11 of 19
Days over 11,000 steps… 10 of 19
Days over 12,000 steps… 3 of 12
Days over 13,000 steps… 0 of 3
28 hours of regular job work this week. Today is week day five.


Tracking Word Counts… July 19th, 2017
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,400

— Daily Fiction: 2,900 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 94,300 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 9,100 words
— E-mail: 26 e-mails.  Approx. 1,200 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 587 e-mails. Approx. 36,300 words



NOW OPEN. Very limited. Just two spots open.

Taught by Allyson Longueira. You get a template out of it as well as learning.

See the post below this one for details. First come, first in.



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


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  • Peggy

    Inspirational, Dean. Thanks!
    Does Kris have any interest in tracking her writing for a month or two? I’d be really interested in seeing how she does it, too.

    • dwsmith

      LOL… and somewhere I just heard Kris scream in pain. (grin)

      Nope, no one except cats goes into that place called her office, an entire wing of our building. And her writing she talks about in workshops at times, but never when anything is going on. And that’s the way most of you should be as well and some day I will return to.

  • Jamie DeBree

    Ugh. This is so…frustrating, but I’m reading daily anyways because somehow I’m going to figure it out. I know you have it all lined out here in a perfectly logical timeline, but it seems like magic to me. You sleep 8 hrs, work around 8hrs, write for 3 (often more) hrs, and still workout, eat & watch TV.

    I sleep 4.5 hours a night, work 8 hrs at the day job, and between morning prep for work (shower, dress, etc), dinner prep/eating, working out and basic housekeeping (kitchen cleaning, basically), I can find 1.5 hrs to write per day (split .5 hrs morning/1hr late night). 2 hrs, if I don’t read, but I need that half-hour reading time before bed. I know you make time for reading too. I have half to an hour’s worth of TV in there too, so nothing excessive.

    Clearly, my schedule needs tweaking, but I’m baffled as to how/where.

    Frustrating, but still inspiring, so thanks for continuing the streak.

    • dwsmith

      Jamie, I also do all the shopping and cooking. Kris does the dishes and we split the housekeeping chores.

      The key with figuring out where time is draining is do a full day recording what you did every fifteen minutes. It will be a stunner to you. And yup, I am reading some fantastic stories right now in the challenges from May and June.

      So where I count above from your list is 5 hours sleep, 8 hours for job (commute?) 2 hours for reading/writing. By my count that totals 15 hours. Somewhere you have vanished 9 hours out of every day.

      So figure out where exactly that nine hours vanishes to. That’s how you figure it out and turn the ship slowly.

      • Anonymous

        Can I ask if you have a cleaning person? Or does “housekeeping” include all the cleaning chores, too?
        (I know your house is huge, and when my housemate had two cats, there was a ton of hair to deal with.)

        • dwsmith

          For decades we had a cleaning person. One for almost fifteen years, another for over ten. Great people. But because of Kris’s allergies, we decided we want to control it ourselves. So we do all the cleaning now. After twenty-five years, it’s been a learning process. (grin)

  • Jamie DeBree

    Thanks Dean. Easy enough – I’m very routine-oriented. The other nine hours goes to my morning routine (2 hrs for dog care/tea/breakfast prep/showering/dressing plus another 15 min. drive time), 1 hr lunch (drive home, let dogs out/in, drive back), and my evening routine (15 min. drive, 1 hr dinner prep, 1/2 hr eating/chatting w/hubby, 1.5 hr workout/dog walk, 1 hr TV, 1 hr kitchen clean-up).

    I know where my time goes, I guess I just need to be more efficient within my routines. So, that’s where I’ll see if I can pare anything back. But I suppose this just might be all I can do for now. If I didn’t have so many ideas and plots and characters I want to get to…

    I’ll revisit my “subroutines” and see where I can modify a bit.