Mission Complete! Digital Vacation and NaNoWriMo Results

I DID IT!!

With 36 hours to spare, I finished the first draft of an entire fiction novel this morning! It felt good. Like, really good. As in, the most satisfying creative endeavour I’ve ever been on.

So, like any triumphant first time novelist would, I went for an aquafit class followed by a Chinese buffet. Now, that’s a Friday.

How long is 50 000 words?

A few people have asked, how long is 50 000 words? It does seem arbitrary if you’re not already counting words- and let’s face it, the typical email or song can be anywhere from 10 to 250 words, but probably not much more than that.

Here are a few examples of books that are approximately 50 000 words, which are listed in No Plot No Problem: Lord of the Flies (William Golding), The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton), Generation X (Douglas Coupland), Brave New World (Aldous Huxley).

It sounds like the editing process can expand the original 50 000 to a more typical 100 000 word paperback.

Related post: How I am quitting social media for 30 days

Week 3 & 4 Results:
  • Internet control: Stayed off the internet until 12:00 pm 3 out of 5 weekdays in Week Three, but I’ve noticed that in the absence of social media, my ‘refreshing’ of online news has increased. Hence, reading Digital Minimalism is really helping me sort out how I intend to use the internet once this is over.
  • Book Word Count: I was steadily plugging along in Week three, hitting 32000 by the end of it. I recovered this week, adjusting the daily word counts so that I could finish today at exactly 50 000!
  • Total writing goal: Since I’ve decided to write a full novel, the total writing goal that includes blog posts, freelance work, speeches, podcast episode ideas and other web copy haven’t been tracked as well. What I do have as a total is currently sitting at 61 165 words- nothing to scoff at!
  • Staying off social media: I’ve kind of forgotten this was part of the goal. It has felt better and better with each passing day, and I will absolutely be doing this again.
Reflections:
  • This is the first time in my life I’ve had a committed writing practice, something I’ve always wished I would make a habit. I am so thankful for what NaNoWriMo has taught me!
  • I have already noticed that I’m starting to read differently. Is the story plot driven? Character driven? What’s the inner conflict? How much backstory is there in the first chapter?
  • The hardest stretch was this past weekend- between weeks 3 and 4. I couldn’t get myself to sit at the laptop, let alone write for 2 days. It wasn’t writers block so much as fear of finishing the book. Will I do it? Can I wrap all of these storylines? I was tempted by what I read about this end point, and this excerpt from No Plot? No Problem! Sums it up perfectly:

Whether you are at 14000 or 40000 words, there’s probably a part of you that’s asking: Haven’t I written enough already? Do I really need to go any further? Why don’t I just bow out now, and wrap up the manuscript in a couple of months, when I’m less tired and have a better supply of clean underwear?

These are all good questions.

And here’s the answer: The next seven days will pass in the blink of an eye. To be replaced by another seven. And another seven after that….

…Decades from now, you will remember the ineffable moment when the word counter ran its computer calculation over your book and announced you had reached the 50000-word endpoint. You’ll smilingly recall that time you were stupid enough to sign up for the challenge of a lifetime, and mighty enough to see it through.

STAY GOLD!

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