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

What I Do Not Believe



Since I listed a number of things I do believe, figured I would list one or two things I do not believe about writing.



Made it to the WMG store around 2 p.m., then home again, then to the snail mail, grocery store, and back to WMG offices to work on Smith’s Monthly and other things until around 6 p.m.

Home to take a nap, then cooked dinner, then got in here around 9 p.m. and got out all the letters for the February online workshops. (Still time to jump in. They start on Monday.)

Then more television, then back in here to write.

Went slow, but slowly making headway as in two sessions I managed 1,850 words with one break. I have a feeling when this thing breaks, I will have some big days to the end.


February Online Workshops Start on February 1st!

That’s Monday!!!

All of the February Online Workshops marked below have openings. Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to

Each regular workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time.

All workshops have openings.

Class #11… Feb 1st … Advanced Depth
Class #12… Feb 1st … Character Voice/Setting
Class #13… Feb 1st … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #14… Feb 1st … Ideas into Stories
Class #15… Feb 2nd … Character Development
Class #16… Feb 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Feb 2nd … Plotting With Depth
Class #18… Feb 3rd … Designing Covers
Class #19… Feb 3rd … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Feb 3rd … How to Write Science Fiction

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.


Topic of the Night: What I Do Not Believe

After the nice comments on last night’s topic, I thought I would add just a few negative beliefs, if there is such a thing. (grin) They stemmed from comments about the lottery.

1… I DO NOT believe that the writing profession is a gamble in any way or fashion. Sure, there are risks, and if you don’t treat it seriously and give it enough time, you are doomed to fail, even with early success. But that failure is not because writing is a gamble, it’s because you were stupid, unwilling to learn, or gave up.

2… I DO NOT believe you have to be naturally talented to become a professional writer in the old teacher definition of talent. I believe talent is nothing more than the measure of your skill at an exact point in time. Craft and business can be learned and when you do learn them, others will think of you as talented.

3… I DO NOT believe you have to be lucky to make it as a fiction writer. Ability to learn, ability to not give up, ability to tell stories you love to tell will be enough eventually, if you combine all that with a massive love of business. Luck is in service of the prepared. Granted, at points in time you might find yourself lucky or unlucky, but it all evens out over time as any professional poker player knows.

Just a few negative beliefs for a Friday night.


The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(Shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish.)

Day 11.. 3,200 words.  Total words so far… 19,000 words.
Day 12.. 2,100 words.  Total words so far… 21,100 words.
Day 13.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 22,150 words.
Day 14.. 2,300 words.  Total words so far… 24,450 words.
Day 15.. 1,500 words.  Total words so far… 25,950 words.
Day 16.. 3,200 words.  Total words so far… 29,150 words.
Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.


Totals For Year 3, Month 6, Day 29

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 862

— Daily Fiction: 1,850 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 16,150 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,200 words 

— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 14,800 words

— E-mail: 18 e-mails.  (not counting letters to workshop folks) Approx. 700 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 550 e-mails. Approx. 23,600 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 3 Covers


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  • Sam

    As a professional poker player, you’d know more about this than I would, but I have a close friend who’s a pro player and I asked her once about luck. According to her (and I believe her), everything evens out over time. Statistically, given the right amount of time, pretty much everyone draws the same number of dud hands and the same number of OMG AMAZING HOLY SH*T hands. What separates the pros from the amateurs is learning how to play the cards you have against the people you’re playing. So that means learning when to take what risks.

    Talent is swell but it only helps in the beginning; luck is great but can’t be counted on. And using lack of talent/luck as excuses to fail? That’s what losers do.

    But that’s just my friend’s experiences mixed with my life philosophy. I only have one novella published and am getting ready to put out my first novel, so what do I know? 😛

    • dwsmith

      Exactly, Sam. It all levels out and the key is how you play, the skill you bring to the table that allows you to win even with luck is against you. Same with writing exactly.

      • Robert J. McCarter

        Dean, I think the key to this is you have to be in the game for the long-term. Like one of your recent posts said about making it in a year–that requires a lot of luck. Making it in 10-15 years requires you not giving up and continuing to learn (which may be simple, but not that easy).

        • dwsmith

          Agree completely, Robert. One year takes a ton of luck. 10-15 years takes persistence and an ability to learn.

  • Dane Tyler

    Nicely said, Dean. Those authors who really rail against the use of the word “luck” to describe how they became huge successes suddenly might not like it, but then, neither will those who think without a stroke of luck they can’t find that measure of success and discoverability.

    It all evens out in the end. Nicely stated. 🙂