Challenge,  On Writing

One Week Until The New Year

I Know, Another Holiday First…

And I hope everyone has a happy holiday, no matter how you celebrate.

But at the moment, I have been working on my goals and challenges for the new year. So I will show you here, out in the open, what I am now thinking.

First off… Health.

Can’t write if I am not healthy. My doc a few weeks back told me I could drop my blood pressure medication in half once I got under 190 pounds and could end it completely if I watched my pressure, was running almost every day, and was under 180 pounds, if not before if I started getting too dizzy. (I am at 201 right now, up slightly this holiday and because of the fall a month ago.)

I am on the lowest dose of high blood pressure meds possible and he prescribed them to me when I was at 267 pounds. So health and running every day will be a top priority in my life. To hit that I am going to a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. And running five days a week.

And I have signed up for a half-marathon on April 13th, right in the middle of the mystery workshop here. Going to be great fun and that leaves me about 100 days to get my weight down and my running up and off all drugs.

Guess what? That is about a hundred days into the new year. See the next post on that.

Second… Writing.

I am firing up finally, after two false starts, the writing 10 novels in 100 days challenge for myself. So here is how I am going to do that.

I will do a minimum of 3,000 words per day. I am going to do the 3,000 words in 15 minute chunks as I get time and will not go to bed at night without at least 3,000 words done. Of course, many days I will do far more than 3,000 words. But that number will give me the foundation I need to be focused and not eat any elephants along the way.

For me, 3,000 words is about 2-3 hours, depending. Very, very possible.

Third… Workshops and Teaching

I am really excited about this coming year with the workshops and those who signed up for the mentor program. And I might offer another challenge as well for anyone interested. I am just about done with the last novel and will be sending out my comments as I get them typed up after Christmas. I have enjoyed, a lot, reading the stories on both the challenge and the Pop-Up prompts.

And we have three more Futures workshops to do, plus a bunch of workshops we have on the list, not counting more lectures. We have just finished the three Negotiation lectures which had webinars (last one will be on the 30th). Kris and I both had fun with that series.

So I am excited about learning a lot over this next year.

So, in a quick summary of the hope of starting the year, I am focusing on the first 100 days and doing a minimum of 10,000 steps a day and a minimum of 3,000 words a day.

Could be a lot of fun.



  • Kenny Norris

    I’ve spent most of Dec thinking about the plans for the next year:

    My primary 2 areas of focus are on Relationships and my Storytelling. After that it’s financial stewardship and business, I mean how else can I be a long term pro without those under control, and Energy (my version of health).

    I’m looking forward to seeing what new workshops you’ve got planned for next year: along with what I’ll learn doing the Futures Workshops.

  • Leah cutter

    Yay go Dean!

    I am also focussed on health, which for me, means sticking to the keto diet, going to the gym, doing body weight exercises and just general movement. Getting to the mat every day.

    I’m also doing 3000 words per day, 5-6 days per week. That gives me Sundays off, which is important to me and my brain. (If I try to write 7 days a week, I stop having fun.)

    My last focus is the business. I have very specific things to do the first quarter.

    2018 was a transition year, what with moving, health issues, etc. Sound familiar? 2019 should be really good.

    Wishing the best for you & Kris!

  • Philip

    Dean, merry Christmas and happy new year.

    Health is #1. I had a major diabetic scare this year. All numbers were off the charts but I put writing aside and made health a priority. Went from over 300 lbs to 240 and all numbers are now near perfect.

    Once my health improved, the writing followed. That’s why I’m also looking forward to kicking off the new year at Pulp Speed. Looking to write 120k in January. All short stories, too, so that should give me quite a few titles.

    Thanks for another great year of helping writers.

    • dwsmith

      Great job on the weight loss, Philip. I lost my best friend to diabetes and it is an awful killer. So fantastic job! And you can hit that number on short stories. Every time I do one of my short story challenges of thirty stories in a month, I hit that number or more. The key is to just have fun.

  • allynh

    Everything changes in 2019, but people won’t realize that it’s happened until 2020 when they look back in hindsight. Get it? 2020 hindsight? Come on, this is good stuff!

    You heard it here first. HA!

  • Dustin Hurley

    Just wanted to wish you and Kris a very merry Christmas, Dean. Sincerely. So thankful for all you do – the inspiration, the reality checks, the myth shattering. You guys are a constant voice of clarity and experience. Here’s to many, many more years writing into the dark.