Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Year of Changes…

Now Looking at A Year of Doing…

This last year has been hard, to say the least, on most people. And we are not done yet. Not by a ways, even with the good news today of a vaccine being approved in Great Britain, Canada, and today in the States. We have a long three or four months ahead of us before this even begins to turn around, especially with the non-mask wearers and their stupidity here in the States.

For most of this last year it was impossible to try to plan anything. The Licensing Class we have going we just added a year. And supposedly now the Licensing Expo will happen next August. The Decade Ahead Class we just added a year to as well. Impossible to see the decade ahead this last year.

The Collaboration Class and the Shared Worlds Class were both postponed to restart in January.

But now, here in December, the new year is starting to take shape, and the decade beyond is also starting to come back into focus.

This last year at WMG Publishing we managed to maintain, keep everyone on board, and at the same time work to help writers with workshop sales, and do some fun new projects. We shifted around some old projects last spring, and cut some projects, postponed a few, and even with Pulphouse Magazine didn’t publish an issue for six months or so, but now will be going to six issues a year instead of four starting in February.

So we did a ton of changes. We reset, basically. Just as so many other businesses did. But we were lucky, we made it through so far and were able to help others make it through as well.

Now, for 2021 we are in the process of setting all the new systems in some areas. A couple of times already I have said, “Where do we want to be at the end of 2021 with this project?” From projects to inventory spreadsheets to tax details and so on. Everything I am looking at with WMG I am aiming at the end of 2021.

Because I now can see the end of 2021 as much as possible with any year. Feels great once again, to be honest.

And I am doing the same for me personally with exercise, writing, and publishing. Setting goals within my limits.

I honestly hate having limits and honestly want everything done yesterday. But for my personal publishing and writing, I only have one eye and I have to go carefully to avoid too much screen time.

With exercise, I have to go carefully because of my damaged feet. (Damaged from my youth, not from the marathon. Yes, I did that with damaged feet.)

And with WMG, we only have so many human hours we can all give, and far more projects we want to do than we can do. Limits.

So now, here in December, is the time to start planning your new year and where you want to be at the end of 2021.

I would suggest that learning and writing be a focus for the next three or four months, so you can stay inside, stay safe, survive. So weigh the first part of the year heavy on writing and publishing and learning. Great time to learn how to do your own covers, or how to lay out a hardback.

2021 will be a year of doing for most of us in all kinds of ways. Just don’t get ahead of yourself. The world is a very dangerous place at the moment, but there is a light.

Wear a mask, stay inside with your family, don’t gather with extended family and friends this year, and then get the vaccine when your number is called. I have lost too many friends and writers to this already. Don’t let me hear it was you or one of your family members.

We all got way too much planning to do for the future.



  • Jason M

    Dean, how many people do you know who’ve died from covid (or covid-related complications)?
    It sounds like a lot.
    I know exactly zero. But many who’ve had it, of course.
    Just curious.

    • dwsmith

      Five, sadly. Including Ben Bova. Got a number of friends who have family or friends in intensive care about to die from it.

      This shit is just scary. And getting worse. Anyone who gathers with people at Christmas or New Years or any holiday this year outside of their own home is just asking for it.

  • J. S. Ramirez

    I’m playing a game with myself where I write and self-publish 7 books by mid April. No kids yet, brilliantly supportive wife. Leaning hard into the alone time by stripping away writing myths, having fun and filling the backlist. Did a 90k book last November, written, proofread and published in a month. I’d love to have my system refined and streamlined enough by April to have published twenty-one novels by the end of 2021.

    Kinda miss some of the stuff I used to do, but it’s sure great racing myself in writing.