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

The Voice

The Voice

If you did not watch the finals on The Voice tonight, you missed not only some amazing, stunning music, but some good writing moments. And I’m not talking about the original songs they wrote. More below in the topic of the night.


The Day

Lots and lots of running around, took the stray cat to the vet, left her for surgery tomorrow. She might not make it through, but it’s the best choice we and two vets think she has in making it. I’ll let you know.

Spent a lot of time today fighting glass shelves over three windows into place in the new store. Also a ton of work on workshop stuff. A fun day except for the vet stuff.


Online Workshops

June online workshops all have openings, even the new Teams in Fiction workshop.


Patreon Supporters and Smith’s Monthly Subscribers

You all should have gotten issue #30 of Smith’s Monthly today. If not, let me know.


Topic of the Night: The Voice

Tonight one of the best music programs on television happened. The four finalists on The Voice are all top talents. Any of them would have won any other season. Just stunning. All full professionals.

And watching them all sing with their coaches was something special as well.

But two things happened that just had me laughing because I have said the same things so many times here. So many, many, many times.

First off, one of the contestants sang a song about taking control. It was an original that she and her coach did and it was because all the way through the season she and her coach had been working on her taking control of her own music, her own career, everything.

That sound familiar here? I am constantly pushing writers to take control, not give away control because of fear.

But the best moment for writers was when Adam told how his contestant is flat enjoying doing what he is doing. And that’ clear listening and watching the contestant play and sing. He’s having fun. And Adam was having fun watching him and everyone was having fun as well.

But the very last pitch Adam gave was how it was so refreshing to have a musician just having a blast on the show, enjoying every moment of it. The contestant is in his 40s and has been playing gigs over 200 times a year for twenty plus years.

And now, after all that time, he finds himself singing and playing for millions and millions. Any wonder he’s having fun? He knows where he has been and now where he is going, even if he doesn’t win.

But the key is the fun. You will understand completely what I have been saying over and over if you watch the finals of The Voice. Lots of great writing learning comes from that show, but tonight was even more.

Take control and have fun. It really is the key to so many things in this art of writing and the business of publishing.

Watch the finals of The Voice and you’ll understand even more what I mean.


Totals For Year 3, Month 10, Day 23

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 978

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 00 words  

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

— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,700 words

— E-mail: 29 e-mails. Approx. 1,800 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 476 e-mails. Approx. 30,600 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers


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  • Lori S

    Dean, you brought to my mind similar advice I heard more than 20 years ago at a time management seminar I went to in my previous career. I’ll never forget what he said. The instructor started off the seminar telling us all that apparently our bosses thought well enough of us to continue to train us but to keep in mind that it’s within the boss’s best interest to keep us exactly in the position we are in. Never assume they will seek your advancement. He insisted that all of us in that room take control of our careers at that moment. He said no one will ever take care of your career and your future better than you! It was the best advice I could’ve heard at the time and I did take it to heart. And now I am sitting at home, collecting a full pension at the ripe old age of 52 and starting on the career I always wanted, writing. Not alot but enough to live comfortably until my writing career takes off in five to ten years. Had I not heard that advice and ran with it, I would not be in the position I am right now.
    Now if I could just get past all these irrational fears…I think with your help, I’ll get there! Got lots of years left in me.
    Thanks always for all you and Kris do and the advice you give. I thank God every day I found you.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, the fears are the killer, and they are all made up, which is even more annoying because we all know that. You’ll get past them because you know they are irrational, not set in stone.

      Taking control is critical and I find it interesting that as a person who always had control, didn’t work real jobs much besides the types of jobs that would allow me to do other things, (Cooking breakfast in the ski lodge so I had the entire day to ski, or teaching three hours of skiing so I had the entire day to ski) I let traditional publishing slowly suck that control from me. That’s why I took so quickly to this new world. I love the control, the ability to write what I want at any given point.

      I feel like I started over at 60 and now five years later am having the time of my life and in control. So keep having fun. You’ll get past the fears. Or control the fears, which I think is really the trick.

  • Ken

    Thanks for this post, Dean. It made my day.

    I like the thought of being a 10,000 short story writer 20 years from now and still loving the writing. Maybe I too can be like the 200 gig a year guy. That’d make me happy and looking back from that point would be a real treat (I came so far).

    Looking forward to the future. Thanks again for the post. You made a real difference in my world today. =)


    • dwsmith

      Great attitude, Ken. Glad the ramblings helped. Keep having fun. It was sure obvious on that finalist in The Voice last night. And on top of that, he’s my favorite to win, although I doubt he will. He’s the best guitar player I have seen in a very, very long time.

  • Annie Reed

    I’ve adored The Voice this season. Call the shots, and have fun. Good lessons. It showed in the iTunes rankings this morning, particularly with that gutsy remix of The Police song. Listeners (readers) will pay attention when you let your own voice shine through. And one of the artists’ original songs clocked in at #1. Amazing.

  • Stefon Mears

    Reminds me of something Pharrell said a few weeks ago, coming at the same thing from a different angle. One of his singers was talking about how hard he’s working for this, how many hours he’s putting in, and Pharrell said, “They don’t care how many hours you put into this. They care the way you make them feel.”

  • Sean Monaghan

    While watching The Voice this year, I’ve kept a notebook on me and noted down points the coaches make. Mostly from the one-on-one performance development sessions. Things like telling the singer to look for what the song means to them, or suggesting they bust out some bigger notes (because they can and they’re holding back).

    I don’t know if I’ll refer back to the notebook much, but I’m finding that making the notes gives me a focused concentration on what the coaches are saying, and that lets those points lodge in the back of my brain for when I’m writing next. Next thing, I find I’m busting out some “bigger notes” in a story. How about that?

    I’m still slowly working though the series off the DVR – still at the knockout rounds (so thanks for no spoilers).