On the 30th of November I completed the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days with a few hours to spare. It was a long slog and at times I wanted to give up but I pushed through and won – the words of my novel are now out of my head and on the page. My preparation work involved a table with a one sentence description for each chapter. The rest of the other details were in my head.
This means I now have a first draft of my novel along with the additional 25k written before the challenge. Those 25k words took me most of the year to write – that is why I needed novel writing month to kick me into action – I am part of the slow writer’s club! The files for my novel are sitting on my hard drive, fermenting, ready for the new year. I haven’t written a thing (except work-related or this blog post) since but I am already looking forward to ripping apart those 76,000-ish words until they make sense.
It was a perfect storm in November as well as wanting to complete this challenge there was a lot of day job pressure, and cleaning our house as we have decided to sell and move. Those 30 days of bashing at my keyboard, trying to race towards that holy grail of 50k taught me a lot of things. Firstly, it’s the quantity that matters and that the inner-critic needs to be locked away in a safe, bounded in chains and thrown to the back of my mind. Secondly, a writing routine is worth its weight in heavy laptops. Thirdly, these words are not for public consumption – there is no way I would send my novel off to publishers, agents or even publish it in the state that it is in. This is a first, shitty draft. My eyes only. Fourthly, deadlines are good!
I’ll be honest – there were tears, days where no words appeared on the screen (I spent every weekend, bashing out the words, panting to catch up) and there were one or two times (okay, each day!) when I nearly gave up. I ended up making myself ill as I did not get much sleep or rest. So don’t go dismissing this challenge – it is tough! I have told myself that I will not do it again especially with a full time job and real life demanding my attention but we will have to see...
This novel is definitely better than the one I had previously finished. Plus, it took me less time to write!