So the question was, can I write 20,000 words in one day?
The answer is, yes I can.
Addendum: I really shouldn’t.
Suffice to say aside from still being a little ill, and bizarrely really tired, I pushed on and did, starting at 8am in the morning, and finishing 11pm at night.
I was flagging pretty much from the middle day, just so tired. Think it’s the after affects of being ill. Obviously I didn’t do the sensible thing and stop, do the challenge another day. No, I pushed on. My WPM was getting less and less, but I did rally towards the end, had a couple of 1000+ 15 minute sprints, and the final sprint of the day managed 1002, which put me over the top.
I think if I ever aim for higher than that, it’ll be when I’m completely well, and I think I should do it sponsored or something, and it’d be a push for 30k. But not this year, this year I’m going to chill for the last 17 days, keep to around 5,000 words per day.
Now you might think I switched to writing nonsense to just to get words in… and I didn’t. I did slide away from a children’s book at one point had some hardcore violence that needs cutting and rewriting, but for the most part my moral tale of an ogre on a quest to save people written for children 9 to 11 came through.
So yes, it was a tough day writing, but I’m immensely proud to have achieved, despite some setbacks. And bonus no riot afterwards, unlike last Tuesday.
That title is misleading, I’ve not stopped writing, but since Tuesday may word count took a tumble. Combination of hitting the winning word count, and the after effects of Tuesday nights unpleasantness where I live, plus some illnes over the weekend.
However, things have progessed since then, had an amazing Sunday night writing, where from 4pm I was feeling fantastic and put in a 10k, to have a 12k day in total. Very much enjoyed that.
Yesterday went back to a low word count, but that’s because I decided I deserved a break for me – so I built this:
Now, I’m back writing again, on a new novel. I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo twice this year, this one in 10 days, rather than 5. It’s something different for me, it’s a children’s novel, aimed at 9-11, so I’m trying to pick up the skills and knowledge to make that work.
This plot is one I’ve gotten from my Fantasia story cubes. I’ve only ever done short stories from Story Cubes before, but I decided to plot this one out, and run with it. I always like fresh challenges, and I’m more engaged when the challenge levels up.
Speaking of which, today I’m going for a 20k day, that will be the most words I’ve written in a single day. It’s possible doable, but I might not make it. Slow start, but I’m starting a novel anew, with very limited plotting.
I’m doing mini-vlogs throughout the day, which I’ll stitch together into one vlog this evening, charting my progress, and my difficulties.
After this 20k though, it’ll be a more relaxed run for the rest of the novel. Though with no plotting, I don’t truly know how long it will be. I know for the 9-11 age range it’s recommended to be somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 words long.
So quick update, six hours in and I’m at 8k. Not my best pace ever, but I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself, my best pace so for this NaNo has been 12k in a day, I can definitely still do this.
So, no matter what you do, you cannot insulate yourself from the world. Life will get in the way of your writing.
I’d done well, just a medical appointment – hence the making it to the victory. The victory celebrations didn’t last long.
Here in the UK on the 5th November we celebrate Bonfire Night. I used to love it when I was a kid, have a bonfire in the back garden. Rarely we’d have fireworks, but mostly we watched other peoples. Other years we’d go to the big events that the council or others would put.
If you’re wondering what it is, in brief – in 1605, after years of Catholic persecutions by the state, here in England, a bunch of Catholic conspirators set about trying to blow up Parliament. It’s an event known as the Gunpowder Plot. It failed and after the perpetrators were sold out, and the conspirators, especially the nominal leader were tortured, and eventually sentenced to death, some by being hung, drawn and quartered. Check the Wikipedia article if you want to know more:
Suffice to say, it’s kind of a weird tradition where we celebrate a plot that failed, and we celebrate the famed perpetrator of the plot Guy Fawke’s execution.
And all this is by the by, it’s exposition to what happened. I live in a area of Leeds called Harehills. Unfortunately last night, not that long after I’d posted on here, and done my Vlog, youths decided to stage a pitched battle with the police.
This happened in several place on Harehills Road, including at the top of my street. It was chaos, the police retreated at one point, after they were pelted with rocks, bricks, and fireworks. Left to their own devices there was anarchy, and lots of fireworks. Bins were stolen and burned. Eventually riot police came, and got control of the scene.
15 people were arrested, ages ranging from 11 to 23. There were people from outside of our area coming in and joining the violence and chaos.
Suffice to say for residents in the streets around the violence, it was terrifying. Witnessing the police retreat, and let the chaos roll, made me the most afraid I’ve ever been in the life. I was expecting that any moment the violence would spill down into the rest of the street. Lights off, doors locked, and hoping I’m not doing anything to make myself a target.
Just to be clear that didn’t happen, and ultimately I was safe.
I never thought I’d be so relieved to see a line of riot police across the top of my street. When they finally turned up, they dealt with the youths quickly.
So why am I telling you this? I don’t generally do personal stuff in my blog. Well it’s this, once the morning came around, and things returned to normal, it gave me a lot of room to think, and come to some realisations.
I’ve seen riots on the news, but I don’t think I ever really understood just how terrifying they are, how much it impacts the people around it
I don’t think I’ve done a good job when writing fear in the past. I’ve never been so terrified in my life, and my writing has never conveyed anywhere near to how it really feels. It’s not just me though, I don’t think a lot of writers do
Random violence is it’s own motive. Sounds odd, but evil bad guys are something I can never wrap my head around, but there was no motive for the events last night, these youths just wanted to fight the police, and cause chaos. Some people just want to watch the world burn
So, in the cold light of day, this is what I’ve realised.
So between tweeting a lot, handling queries from the press, three interviews (none of them used… not surprised since except for some brief moments, I was looked inside hiding all night).
These are some of the images I took, the one with the police was a video took that has been round the internet a few times.
Erm… so yes. I won. 5 days, I achieved the challenge I set myself. I’ve beaten my best over time by 5 days.
I’m a little giddy, and excitced, and over the moon. I don’t mean to be a dick, because I do realise how stupid a 5 day NaNoWriMo is, but I also needed this challenge.
And for the hard work I’ve earned this:
I was going to look up some author’s cocktails, and celebrate that way – but There was nothing I fancied, so I did my own thing instead. Been saving this gin for a while, and it is lovely. If you are drinking, drink responsibly, and from my experience, writing drunk “to get through writer’s block”, or for “inspiration” rarely actually works.
So anyway, I’ve not been this happy and excited in a long long time, so I’m not going to say anything meaningful, other than thanks to the NaNoYorkshire goes, who’s regular sprints, kind and support words have brought me to where I am.
I’ve just said I’ll never do this again… but four days is only 12,500 words, I could manage that, though NaNo does start on a Sunday next year , so that’d be three days off work. Will see – I’ll admit five days was a tough hall, and actually tiring.
So yes, I won. Yes I’m super happy. No I’m not done, the story itself needs finishing, there’s a couple of chapters missing that need filling in, and a lot of detailing work to get to a finished 1st draft. So plenty more words to add to that total yet.
And if you want to see someone that looks ridiculously happy, and exciting and barely able to string a thought together, (even forgetting to put an Hawaiian shirt on, even though that’s a thing he does for every video) – here’s my terrible but hugely happy Vlog for today:
Happy writing everyone, no matter what time you do it in, or even if you don’t quite make it to the end of the month with 50k, be proud. You’re doing so much better than those that didn’t bother starting.
So been a bit quiet on here for the past few days, that’s understandable I hope it is NaNoWriMo after all, most of my words have gone into the novel I’m writing.
And I really am writing. It’s thanks to two things the plotting I did, (which wasn’t that deep, but has kept me focused), and my regional community for NaNoWriMo with discussions and sprints.
Sprints are timed writing segments where at the end of the time, you compare how many words you all managed to write. Mostly it’s been fifteen minute sprints this year, and I’ve done 52 of them in the first four days of NaNo.
52? That’s a lot. It really is, in some I’ve hit as high as 1,000 words per sprint, though my average is about 634 words. Still, it’s carried me far this year.
So I’ve not yet said how I’m doing word count wise. That’s because I wanted to say how I got here.
I’ve not one yet, don’t jump the gun please, let’s not count chickens – but please excuse me if I crow a little.
It’s the start of day 5, and I have less than 7,000 words left to write to have hit the 50,000 word target. So yes, I will be finishing that goal today. I’ve done four days of 10k+ words (give or take an argument with the new NaNo site about which day some of those words live).
As mentioned, I’m crowing, I’m proud – hell I’m ecstatic, but I’ve not finished yet, and I really can’t take a lot of the credit, there’s been a community supporting, being there with relentless sprints, listening to me moan about being more tired than after a hard day’s work, and putting up with my inane attempts at a funny comment everytime we launch a sprint.
I’m posting this now, as the post after I do win, I’m actually going to be talking story, not stats, crowing, and generally have a laugh. Which is probably boring, but I’m really looking forward to some substance – but sometimes you’ve just got to go for the frosting first.
It’s also worth noting it doesn’t matter how many words you right in a day, it doesn’t matter how fast or how slow you write NaNoWriMo, the heart of this challenge, this competition, is that you write. I’m not going to stop, and no matter where you are in your journey, I hope you don’t stop either.
It’s not too late, you can still join in NaNoWriMo, by signing up to nanowrimo.org
Not sure what it is? Not sure why you should do it? Are there good reasons to do your own thing? Read on:
What is NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo is a competition that’s been around for two decades now, it’s a drive to get people writing. It’s a competition not against the thousands that take part, but a challenge for you to try and complete, and celebrate with others that win.
The challenge is simple, a story of 50,000 words written in November. This equates to 1,667 words a day – that’s not so scary. Everyone has a good story in them, something they want to explore and this is an impetus to do just that.
I’m taking part in my 11th NaNoWriMo this year (2019), and I’ve got five wins and five losses under my belt. You are writing around your life, your job, your kids, and every other obstacle that comes up. Some people have a dozen or more victories under the belt, but it’s about trying. Yes there’s a lot of celebration for doing, but there’s a lot of community and heart in trying to get there.
So, NaNoWriMo is a communal challenge to try and see what the story inside is when it comes out on the page. It’s no more complicated than that.
Why should you do it?
If you’ve ever struggled to write, but know you had something to say, here’s your chance, your excuse, permission to leave the doubts behind. Just go and hope for the best, literary abandon awaits you – and who knows what you’ll have out the other side
It can help teach discipline, if you’re like me you have an on and off again relationship with writing, you can build a daily writing habit. There’s no reason to stop doing 1,667 words at the end of the month, you can keep going on the same story, on a new story. Maybe once you’ve found it fits, an hour or two is something you can spare
Already writing, but keep getting struck down by writer’s block? NaNoWriMo is the ultimate block buster. There are no marks for quality, there is no praise for prose – just write. Even when the ideas don’t come, just write. 1,667 words a day, 50,000 words in the month. At the end of the month you may have just unlocked the inspiration to finish that novel you were working on
Friends. The forums for NaNoWriMo are a fantastic place to make friends with other aspiring writers from all over, there are regional forums so you can get to know people in your region/city, there are write-ins (meet ups), where you can join fellow writers in a session, and word sprints can give you a fantastic competitive edge. People really do help each other there, whether it’s a plot idea, a name, or discussing the moral implications of X, Y, or Z
Do something entirely different. Always writing science fiction? Why not use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to try something new, you might turn out to have a good hand for period romances you had no idea about. Literary abandon means you can write whatever you want, in whatever style you want, be it something new, something old, something borrowed or something new
Break out of bad habits, I used to have an interminable time writing because I was in the habit of editing earlier passages, sometimes drastically, but NaNoWriMo gets you focused on writing the next words, not editing the old ones. Colour a section in purple and move on – you can always come back in the next draft and fix those problems
Do your own thing
Over the years I’ve known many people use NaNoWriMo as a frame work and community to work with while they do something other than a novel. A series of short stories or fan fics? No one’s judging. Want to do something non-fiction, I’ve known people do that too.
Don’t feel you need to restrict yourself. Just write.
What are you waiting for? Want to write, here’s the barrier being raised, inspiration descending.
And if it’s not for you, that’s fine too – there are other writing challenges around. There are also others out there that don’t want to do NaNoWriMo, so there’s also a counter-community to draw inspiration from.
Some people don’t like to the idea that thousands of new drafts are out there, pestering publishers that can’t keep up with supply. With self published books spiking, confusing sales. Some are worried it teaches the wrong things. However you learn from NaNoWriMo what you want to learn. My only hope is that people learn to take the opportunity to write.
There is never too much art in this world. There are never too many ideas. There’s never too much happiness, joy, and celebration.
So I embrace literary abandon every year, whether I get stuck at 10k, or blast right through and hit the 100k. If you love writing, you may just love NaNoWriMo.