Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  Topic of the Night,  Writing in Public

The Dream is Not Going to Just Come to Me

“The Dream is Not Going to Just Come to Me”

Maybe one of the smartest things ever said by any artist on The Voice.

And yet I run into writers all the time who think if they just do some writing for a few years, if they put up a few books, the dream of being a professional writer will just magically come to them.

And those people quickly get discouraged and vanish into What-Ever-Happened-To? land.

I admire the writers who just keep going, just keep learning, just keep doing their best to get better and find out how to chase the dream, especially in this new world where the publishing industry is shifting seemingly every day.



Not much to report. Worked on workshop stuff, both online workshops and the coming master class coast workshop. Thanks, Matt!!

Finally managed to get to writing around 2:30 a.m. and did 1,400 words in two short sessions.

That is pretty much going to be my pace over the next two weeks.



To be clear, I stopped editing Star Trek Strange New Worlds in 2006 and the last book( #10) came out in 2007.

There has been no contest until this new scam contest popped up since then.

That was also my last media book. I stopped writing Trek and other media a number of years before 2006.



I get a lot of letters from writers from all over the globe asking me if I would help them with learning how to indie publish their one short story or the novel they really hope to write.

I try to be polite and point them in general directions when I turn them down.

All of these writers have no idea I do this blog, that I have done a half-dozen writing and publishing books to help young writers. They somehow just got my name and wrote me, expecting me to hand-feed them.

And honestly, they don’t even know who I am or what I have done.

I admire their courage in writing me, but not their thinking. Or their attitude hoping someone will spoon-feed them information.

Sort of like a freshman in college going up to an attorney and saying, “Hey, would you teach me how to be a lawyer with a few emails?”

Uhhh, no…

“The dream is not going to just come to me.” Voice Contestant 2015

Now, if someone who has been taking workshops from us for a while, someone who has been writing regularly, who has a bunch of books and stories done, then writes and asks me for help on something, I always try to help.

Always. In fact, I go out of my way to help.

What’s the difference?

The person has proven he or she wants to learn and is capable of learning and is willing to learn without help. And he or she has proven they will be around for a while and is willing to sacrifice for learning and for their dream.

That person I will help.

I always try to help long-term professional traditional writers make the cross-over into indie publishing. Why?

They have proven they have the ability to keep writing and learning and want to learn the new world to keep going instead of going to the bar and crying that they can’t sell another book to some baby editor somewhere.

I really, really love working with writers who want to learn because in return I learn from them.

That’s why I am so willing to help writers who are hungry to learn and so dismissive of writers who want to be spoon-fed information.


So that said, I want to keep learning, so Kris and I have decided we will continue the online workshops into 2016, at least the first part of it. I will have the schedule up and announce it for the first three months of 2016 sometime in the next week or so.

But for the moment, here is the November schedule. Kris and I are very proud of this line-up of workshops.

And we don’t advertise these, so spreading the word on these to your friends you think might be able to use the help would be appreciated. Sigh up information under the online workshop tab above or at

Class #41… Nov 2nd … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #42… Nov 2nd … How to Write Thrillers
Class #43… Nov 2nd … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #44… Nov 2nd … Advanced Dialog
Class #45… Nov 3rd … Character Development
Class #46… Nov 3rd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… Nov 3rd … Making a Career
Class #48… Nov 4th … Cliffhangers
Class #49… Nov 4th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #50… Nov 4th … Advanced Depth



Day 1…. 2,550 words.  Total words so far… 2,550 words.
Day 2…. 2,350 words.  Total words so far… 4,900 words.
Day 3…. 2,500 words.  Total words so far… 7,400 words.
Day 4…. 1,200 words.  Total words so far… 8,600 words.
Day 5…. 1,500 words.  Total words so far… 10,100 words.
Day 6…. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 12,100 words.
Day 7…. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 13,800 words.
Day 8…. 3,350 words.  Total words so far… 17,150 words.
Day 9…. 5,300 words.  Total words so far… 22,450 words.
Day 10…. 1,400 words.  Total words so far… 23,850 words.
Day 11…. 4,200 words.  Total words so far… 28,050 words.
Day 12…. 2,200 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 13…. 1,400 words.  Total words so far… 31,650 words.


Totals For Year 3, Month 3, Day 12

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 792

— Daily Fiction: 1,400 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 31,700 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 600 words 

— Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 9,900 words

— E-mail: 43 e-mails. Approx. 2,300 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 272 e-mails. Approx. 11,100 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 0 Covers



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  • Dane Tyler

    I really like that statement. Very well put, and this is something I had to come to grips with in short order. I think part of me still hopes for that freak lightning strike that will rocket me into wealth and fame, but reality is a grindstone that wears down fantasy pretty quick. 🙂

    It’s been a good experience, and a learning experience. I think those who found success quickly and easily via what Joe Konrath calls “luck” (and a lot of indie authors who had it early on and are on top now really resent that term) don’t necessarily recognize how it goes for the unwashed masses writing in obscurity.

    But the focus is on becoming a storyteller for me right now, and I realize until I become a really good one, I won’t be able to move to the next level of the Stages. Some folks come to this faster than others, and I hope it’s not a slow, painful process. I also hope I don’t need to re-learn the lessons along the way!

    Here’s to always learning, and thank you and Kris for continuing to reach out through your workshops, books, blogs, and more. Us out here wandering sure do appreciate the road map, Dean.

  • Ann Tucker

    Thank you for keeping the workshops going. I’ve taken a number of both your workshops and lectures. I look back at them periodically because after I’ve had a while to digest and use the info, I find more nuggets in the workshops I hadn’t caught before.

  • Ellen

    Dean – thank you for keeping the workshops going into 2016. I learned so much from the Depth workshop – it was eye-opening. I have been applying it and plan to take another course. However, I am also a woodcarver and from August through Christmas I am swamped. I recently shipped a big order of carvings to Oregon. I am also writing a few pages each day. One thing pays now and with time, practice and more workshops the other will pay later. I’ll see you in the next workshop in January 2016.

  • Ken Talley

    Hi Dean,
    I have a question on your workshops: in what order would you suggest taking your craft workshops? Seems like you may have addressed this some months ago, but I can’t find the info. I’m hoping to start taking some workshops (craft) shortly and would like your thoughts on the best ones to start with and then the order going forward.

    Ken Talley

    P.S. By the way, kudos to you and Kris for Fiction River. Outstanding stories. Something to aspire to. I started subscribing this year and was so pleased that I’ve gone back and started buying previous issues. Great work!

    • dwsmith


      On the craft side, it is better to start with the Depth workshop. Then advanced depth or character development. After that any order is fine. But Depth will help with all of them if you take it first.

      And thanks for the kind comments on Fiction River. We are very proud of that series and the fantastic authors and stories we have published in it. So thanks!!

  • Kate Pavelle

    Hooray! I’m glad you’ll be continuing the workshops, because there are some I haven’t taken yet and they really call to me. There’s Depth we’re finishing right now, which was AWESOME. So I’d like to do Advanced Depth and Suspense next year. And I’ll second that both you and Kris are wonderfully supportive, and I thank you for it. Even stupid stuff, like “how to manage all those competing projects in my head,” has helped tremendously!

    So I’m off to write now. Have a great day!