Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Some Observations and an Idea

Product Focused Might Be Truly Evil… (grin)

Not really kidding that much. The more I think about how being product focused causes so many writing issues, the more I see how it has invaded just about everything in fiction writing the last few years. And I was no exception to that at times in how I phrased my challenges and such.

It’s just so darned easy to keep score with numbers of books done, numbers of short stories finished, and so on. But I have trained myself to stay out of the critical voice issues that kind of focus brings up for almost all writers.

So coming up as I study this more I’ll be doing more blogs on this topic.


An Idea…

We have an idea to take the Indie Game Pop-up Workshop and the Fear Pop-up Workshop and turn them into a Webinar based Insider’s Guide workshops like the two going on now and the two we did last month. Anyone who took the two workshops as Pop-up workshops will be given free codes into the new form of the workshop.

And it will be available to all lifetime subscribers, of course.

We are thinking about doing it for June. The Game is amazing and a real mind-blower and it would be interested to be able to discuss the game results with people each week in a webinar format. Same with the fear workshop.

Not set yet, but we are thinking about it. Back with this go or no-go in a few days.


Vegas Workshops

We have a nifty new web site for the Vegas workshops. Pretty clear and simple address and a really nifty site that just launched describing the Vegas workshops.

And speaking of the Vegas workshops, we are about to end the special deal we were offering. A couple more days is all. Write me if interested. The deal is if you pay for four Vegas workshops (that you can take at any time over the next four years), you get a free Dean and Kris show or two free online workshops. ($600 value.) And yes, if you have already paid for one, it counts as one of the four.


Insider’s Guide Webinar workshops.

The first week and first webinar sessions for the Insider’s Guide workshops went well from my side, at least. Serial Fiction and Writing Detective Fiction. Both workshops will remain open until just after the second webinar, which is tomorrow. You can get information on Teachable before I shut them off to new sign-ups.

Again, Lifetime Workshop subscribers will always be able to get to the videos, but after three more weeks the webinar part will be done. And no, they were not recorded, or will they ever be.


Lifetime Workshop Subscription

Lifetime Workshop subscribers can take any workshop they want at any time at their own pace. And turn in assignments when they want. The regular workshops on the lifetime panel are dated earlier, but they are identical to the current ones. If we change anything in a workshop, I will update that workshop on the lifetime subscription panel.

If you have taken less than five workshops, you can just buy it directly on Teachable for $3,000. (Right now about $11,000 in value of workshops.) If you have taken over five workshops, the cost is $2,500 through Paypal and you need to write me. If you have taken ten workshops, the price is $2,000 and you need to write me.

We have nine different new workshops scheduled coming up this year. Going to be great fun. And maybe two new webinar workshops in June.

Also, with new workshops, we will offer it a month ahead for only lifetime subscribers before opening it up. I’ll talk more about this later, but the reason is that with the ten or so lifetime subscribers, I don’t want to get swamped on any workshop with too many people taking it. So we will open any new workshop only to lifetime subscribers first.


June Regular Workshops

All twelve June Regular six-week workshops are now available on Teachable for sign-ups. The few of you who have signed up through me using credits will get a code shortly.

Class #61… June 5th … Think Like a Publisher
Class #62… June 5th … Endings
Class #63… June 5th … Point of View
Class #64… June 5th … Writing Mysteries
Class #65… June 5th … Speed
Class #66… June 5th … Teams in Fiction
Class #67… June 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #68… June 6th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #69… June 6th … Character Development
Class #70… June 6th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #71… June 6th … Advanced Depth
Class #72… June 6th … Novel Structure

July-October Schedule coming shortly.


  • mickie dreysen

    I have my own suspicions about how “product” takes over from the writing, but I also suspect that you’re going to hit most of the same points I would. Some of it at least hits similar buttons across all types of business, an addiction to advertising and ‘push’ is pretty universally a sign that the business owner may be focusing on things outside of what really makes the business work.

    In a very important sense, I’m very glad that I’m still working a day gig, at least with respect to this particular point. I have only so much time out of my day to devote to writing and all the other stuff surrounding it. By far, I’d rather be writing new stories than any of the other crap. It’s not even close.

    I also wonder how much of this is the constant ‘ding’ of the smartphone. It’s easy enough to close your email browser on the computer, turning off the e-leash and finding anything at all else to do besides chase the momentary rush can be extraordinarily difficult.

    I’ve seen people quit smoking more easily than walk away from the pull of social media. Look at what happened with twitter; as soon as the writer community at large realized how much of a time sink that thing is, instagram and tumblr and so on were standing in the wings waiting for the next e-generation to come along.

  • Harvey

    I do keep track of the number of novels and novellas finished, and the approximate number of short stories finished and collections compiled. The “scorekeeping” and some of the goals and challenges I set for myself caused some pressure in the past.

    But once I recognized that, the pressure disappeared and I made the writing unimportant and fun again.

    I still keep track, but it’s only a matter of curiosity now. Sometimes I feel a little awed, like I’m channeling a “real” writer. (grin) And often now, even with my novels, I can look at a title and not remember what the story was about.

    • dwsmith

      I’m the same way, Harvey. This last challenge of stories, I can remember in general what a few of them were about and the new character. But what any story was about or the title is way beyond me. It was the writing that was fun, not the finished product. However, they will all get published. (grin)

  • Topaz

    The combined insiders guide sounds like a lot of fun. I would participate. Looking forward to learn how you decide on it.

  • Teri Babcock

    It just struck me that Heinlein’s Rules are process based. You must write. You must finish what you write. You must not rewrite. You must get it to the market, and keep it there until it sells.
    Nothing there about how many, how much, or what end results should be.
    Follow the process, and the product will take care of itself.

  • Jessica Baverstock

    I’ve come to think of it as the *writer* being the product. If all the stories have already been told (and Shakespeare told them better than anyone) and the only thing you have is your voice, then you are the product. By keeping your process running smoothly (keeping Critical Voice out of the way), producing regularly (like you would need to run your car regularly to keep it in working order), and you are always learning (upgrading), then you are keeping that product in its ideal working order. That’s why you brand to author, because the readers come for the voice of the author and the characters that author imbues with life. If you, the writer, bog down with myths and other problems, your product breaks.

    • dwsmith

      Exactly, Jessica. Or if you listen to the myths and rewrite so much your work sounds like everyone else’s work. Original you is the key.

  • JM

    I’m still trying to grasp product- vs. process-focused using your goals as examples. The 30 stories in 30 days was clearly process-focused because it was a goal to set aside enough time for the process of writing and did not include WHAT to write or PUBLISHING in that goal, only the writing. But other goals of yours seem product-focused.

    How does not being product-focused affect your goal of publishing 67 books in a year because you’re 67? It sounds like that was a product-focused goal to me but maybe I’m misunderstanding the term. Or maybe you were thinking as a publisher instead of as a writer when you set that goal?

    Also, I understand that the unexpected timetable of moving has thrown off your other goal of completing a certain total distance of running events, but was that goal also product-focused? Should your walking / running goal be process-focused instead, completing a certain distance in a week without injury, without worrying about races?

    Or did I misunderstand how those goals were set up and they’re really process-focused?

    • dwsmith


      The move has killed both the 67 challenge and the running challenge. I will be firing both back up clearly in November for 68. (grin)

      And yup, both of those challenges are product focused. No doubt at all. But at this ripe age, I have learned to bash my critical voice into a pulp into the corner every time it tries to move. I am brutal against it, actually. So I am able to set a product goal, then not think about that, but just get to the fun of writing. Actually, but setting such a goal as the 67 or 68, I get excited because I know I get to write a bunch. Notice I said “get” not “have to” which is a major difference. I get to write, which I love.

      Like what the thirty story challenge did for me. I got to focus on writing and have fun for a time right in the middle of moving. Which is exactly what I try to tell people over and over, to keep the writing a fun place, and escape place. And that’s what I do.

  • Kessie

    Gosh, I keep running into the fear so bad on this story I started up. I actually jumped to a different story that I wasn’t afraid of. I always think of the writer who wrote Holes. He said that he didn’t talk about his book to anybody until it was done. I wonder if telling anybody this story exists feeds the fear. “They know it exists! Now they’ll expect it to be good!”

    • dwsmith

      Kessie, yes, that will often kill a story by telling someone it exists, let alone showing them part of it. All of us long-term pros never (or seldom) talk about a work in progress until it is done. We talk about a new book in such-and-such series, maybe, but never about the book or story exactly. That way lies danger.