50,000 Words In 7 Months

Have you ever wondered what it takes to write 50,000 words? It’s kinda baked my noodle. Every November, people try to do it in one month to write a novel! It took me 7 months of blogging this year, January through July, to hit the big 50k.


Stats

I’m one of those WordPress bloggers who looks at my blog stats to see how it’s going. I write many words, so I see many numbers. Well, hopefully. But do the metrics truly measure the merit of my missives? I don’t know. But I enjoyed stringing a bunch of ‘m’ words together just now. So there’s that ;).

Near the end of July, I noticed my blog stats for the year so far: total number of posts I’ve written, how many comments and likes, etc. My average number of words per post is 562. Not bad I guess.

Words

Then I saw the total number of words I wrote this year: about 48,500. My eyes blinked. And stared. My brain smoothly churned, turning that number over. Synapses fired off to others, and NaNoWriMo came to the forefront of my mind. That’s the month-long writing blitz aspiring authors buckle-up for each year to punch out a novel. The big goal is 50,000 words.

Goals

For me, my big goal in blogging is to stick with it and enjoy it for the long haul. It’s about duration, discipline, and dedication1. All it takes is a post here and there, nothing too long or fancy. Simple prose.

As long as I’m blogging: #amwriting. Over time, all those words add up. I just didn’t realize how fast or slow that was happening.

It took 7 months to reach 50,000 words. Now I wonder, could I have written a novel in that time?

Let’s say I started the year with the goal of gaining words instead of losing weight: “this year, I’m gonna write a book!” Had I set that goal and stuck with it, I guess now I could be self-publishing an e-book. But something tells me there’s more to penning fiction than just time on the clock. Many have proven that if you push hard, it only takes about 4 weeks to write a book start to finish.


Dreams

Given my circumstances, I don’t know if it’s feasible for me to attempt writing a novel in a month, or at all. But as I continue to practice writing in whatever form, I do keep my novella dreams nearby. My eyes look-out for inspiration and motivation to take on a chance to produce a work of fiction. Like I’ve said, someday.


Have you tried writing a book? How many words do you write daily? Write some words in the comments below or pen me a memo. Thanks for reading, and writing!!

  1. And Oxford commas. Ok, and I like semi-colons, but I digress.

Amwriting And Daydreaming

What is #amwriting, you ask? It’s a daydream of mine. It’s one of those someday things. That, “If you could be anything when you grow up..?” idea. Some people fantasize over a romanticized notion of what it is to be a best-selling novelist. I’m one of those people.


Coffee and laundry

There I am. In the warm sunlit attic. No, it’s a bookshelf lined home office. Sitting at a wooden desk with a typewriter. Wait, make that a Lazy-boy recliner and a svelte silver laptop. A paper cup of hot Starbucks…I mean a hand-made ceramic mug of French-press brewed from pulverized coffee beans grown in my back-yard…rests on the side table, wafting its nutty aroma of caffeine enticement.

Okay. So actually. I often write on my iPad while it’s propped on top of our dirty clothes hamper. Not romantic but realistic. It gets the job done.

Writing also happens often by just thumb-typing on my iPhone. Hey, it works.

Novel gazing

Being introspective, I think and write. Writing helps me think. Thinking helps me write. And out comes this blog!

But I often gaze into a hazy future where I see myself writing a novella, a real fake story about awesome things expressing some awesome idea. With plot twists, of course. Fiction at its finest. Because blowing people’s minds like the end of The Sixth Sense is awesome.

Side note: Is there irony in the fact that instead of writing a book, I’m writing about writing a book?

Head scratcher, that one.

Grammar police academy

Besides dreaming of authorship and publishing, I sometimes imagine becoming a grammar teacher in school. Because it’s linked to writing. And you know the saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I think I’m just interested in getting better at grammar and word-smithing. Seems like it’d make it easier to bend the rules for prose.

My case is not too weird. There are many people who wish to “someday” write a book. I’ve started two short fiction works, one a fantasy and one a sci-fi. But those attempts fizzed out like a flat soda.

NaNoWriMo

A lot of people quit wishing and start writing and see great success, even if they don’t get published. Every year in November1, the amwriting community surges with activity, each aspiring author churning out 50,000 words in a single month! It’s inspiring, and “someday” I think I’ll give it a try.

For now, I’m just trying to keep up with blogging.

There is one small way I stopped dreaming. Instead of only admiring “those studious Scrivener and Ulysses aficionados”, I stepped up my writing game earlier this year by becoming a Ulysses app user myself! I highly recommend it.


Amwriting

So what is #amwriting, you wonder? I thought it stood for “amateur writing.” But I guess I was wrong! I found a great explanation on another blog:

Amwriting is a Twitter hashtag created by Johanna Harness on August 3, 2009. The hashtag is a shortened version of “I am writing.” – Johanna Harness

The blog explains more of what it means – it’s worth reading. For me, I’ve associated #amwriting with people who aspire to write professionally and are dedicated to the task, learning the trade, and practicing the skills. What I like about it is the openness and struggle people share while striving to become better writers. It’s welcoming and encouraging!

If you daydream of writing an awesome bunch of words that everyone wants to read, then go for it:

  • Get good tools like a keyboard or a pencil or a writing app
  • Take time to write. Just write, write, write!
  • Also take time to read, read, and read. Read books about writing. But mostly just read lots of fiction. Read blogs about writing too.
  • Dip your toe in the #amwriting community on Twitter
  • Maybe take some writing workshops

Dreams can come true. They often do in fiction stories at the very least, so get to writing one!2


Do you like writing? Blogging? Reading? Have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month
  2. Someday, I’ll take my own advice more. 😉

Good Morning My Muse

Here’s a little update about my writing endeavors. I’m still plugging away at it. No novel in the works, but novella ideas here and there. Mostly I’m focused on blogging. Finding time is usually the roadblock, so I was driven to find a way around.


Morning

I want to write regularly, but my schedule is so regularly filled with other things that writing falls by the wayside. That’s funny, because if I’m a blogger, then writing should be the regular thing my time is filled with.

Since it’s a matter of time, it was time to take action and make a change in course. So now I get up earlier in the morning with the express purpose of just drafting stuff. Just 30 extra minutes of quiet focused solitude. And coffee, of course. There’s always coffee.

I get up early. I get my keyboard, my iPad, my coffee. I open Ulysses. By this time, 5 or so minutes after swinging the legs onto the floor and taking on the vertical challenge, my eyes are mostly open and my brain is starting to fire on all the neurons.

Then I start writing. Usually I draft. Sometimes I’m editing. I almost always have at least a few posts started. They’re ideas I’ve jotted down during random moments throughout the day.

Muse

You’ve likely heard about the thing called a muse. Like it’s some kind of imaginary magical writing fairy that floats into your subconscious and taps you on the head with a word-wand. Next thing you know, the latest New York Times best seller is flowing through your fingertips.

It’s not quite like that.

I don’t get up early in the morning to let a muse visit me for writing. The early morning is my “muse.” The simple solitude and quiet, the time and space for me and my mind to focus, relax, and get into writing mode is all it really takes.

That simply means thinking more deeply than usual. It lets you chase those rabbits all the way to the end of the trail because there’s nothing else in the woods with you, no distractions1. So you get to see where the path leads and fully develop a thought, even approaching it from different angles.

For some people, their writing time is at night. Mine happens to be in the morning, while it’s still dark outside before sunrise. So technically that’s also night I guess. The point is I’ve got to take time and make space to write.


Take Time To Have Time

So it’s kinda simple. I don’t have to be Einstein and know how time and space work. I just need to know they work and then use them to write.

This is a good change of pace. Before, I didn’t know when I’d get to write except maybe during the weekend. But now, I know I get to have 30 minutes a morning, 5 days a week, plus likely on weekends.

It’s like the french dude’s one-liner in The Matrix Reloaded about time. If you don’t take time, then you won’t have time.


When do you like to write? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. My iPad goes into “Do Not Disturb” mode. That’s a handy feature!

A Daily Writing Habit

A few months back, I found myself in unusual circumstances. I was able to get a lot of writing done. And it led me to schedule many blog posts. I even found my brain more apt to write most of the time – my writing muscles were flexed. Then life kinda happened. Now I’m struggling to find time, make time, to type stuff up.

I need a daily writing habit.


A Writing Tool

I think one reason my mind is writing less is because it’s in learning mode. It wants to take in info and process it all at once.1 I had heard of a writing tool called Ulysses and decided to finally give it a try.2 This has me reading a lot of stuff to learn it!

So far, I like Ulysses a lot. Here’s just a few off-hand reasons why:

  1. It helps me organize my writing better
  2. It gives me better ways to write, making it easier
  3. It helps motivate me with writing goals
  4. It gives me more and better options to publish

I’ll leave it at that for now. It will take quite some time for me to slowly re-wire my 3 pound brain, adjusting my workflow through Ulysses. Prior to this, I wrote all my notes and private journal entries in the Notes app on iOS. And I wrote all my blog drafts directly in the WordPress app. But anything about the blog3 was separated out to the Notes app. Now that’s changed.

Guess what? Change is hard. Even when for the better. But I’m sure you know that already.


A Writing Time and Place4

Last year, I read a book called, Rest. Here’s the link. In it, I found awesome motivation to implement a daily writing habit. Part of that was to slog it out by picking the same time and place each day to just show up with the mind ready to write Shakespeare. Or dreck not worthy of a Facebook post. The point was to just start writing!

So that’s what I did. And it was great! I often got into the flow of writing. Just letting the words pour forth on the digital page. I was in a nice quiet space, a rare time of solitude before anyone else was out of bed, and I had my first cup of coffee. Sounds like a dream, but it was real. Also amazing, I was able to write over 1,000 words a day on some of those days; hitting 500 words was easier.

Guess what happened not long after that? Life hit me. I got sidelined by anxiety. At the time, I was still not far removed from a period of life in which anxiety or panic attacks were frequent. After that, I just couldn’t or didn’t want to attempt early morning writing again.

Well, I’m back at it again, trying to resume such a daily writing habit. Because I need to. I can’t let life just happen. What I mean is, I can’t hope to find time to write. I might as well buy a lottery ticket if I’m hoping to get lucky. No, I need to take time or make time, at least just a little, so I can practice writing5.


Writers Write. Right.

The goal is to cultivate a good habit of writing in order to get better at all forms of it, especially blogging. Yes, I have dreams of someday writing a fiction novel! But blogging is, for present lack of creative juices, my bread and butter.6

Writers write. Bloggers blog.

So…I’ve got a good tool, I’m gonna take time, and I’ve got a place to write.

Let’s see how it goes!


Am I missing anything I need to write more or better? What about something like Grammarly? Would you say my blogging has a “voice?” Comment gently below, or send me some electronic mails. Thanks!

  1. Input mode instead of Output mode.
  2. Don’t get me wrong though. Just like buying a DSLR won’t suddenly make you a pro photographer, I don’t think using “pro” software to write will make me a pro writer. I love that fantasy, but I know it’s not reality.
  3. I call this blog related info “Meta.”
  4. I can’t decide; should I say “writing place” or “writing space?”
  5. I can always use more practice writing!
  6. That could be a good blog post title: The Bread And Butter Of Blogging.

November Is A Novel Month

We are smack dab in the middle of it. The 30 day stretch where many aspiring novelists commit to the big 50k. It’s like an annual writing marathon. 50,000 words written in a single month! Fingernails will be worn down to the nubs. And maybe, just maybe, a myriad of writers will find they have become authors.

It’s called NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month

This yearly event is inspiring and motivating. It’s a tool that helps you commit to writing an entire work of fiction. Every last word. And while you write alone, you’re not alone. There’s a community of dedicated and enthusiastic people all sharing the same goal.

But it’s no small commitment; I myself wouldn’t want to attempt it without serious determination and plans to complete all 50,000 words. This year I considered joining NaNoWriMo, but I just didn’t think I was up for it.

Heck, I don’t want to submit to writing a 500 word blog post daily for a month. (Not even if it’s February!) Let’s be realistic here. In 30 days, that’d be a mere 15,000 words, not even half the goal of NaNoWriMo! Yet I write.


It’s satisfying to tap away my fingertips on the keyboard, summoning bits of language into prose worth reading. Despite little success, I enjoy my brain’s propensity for word-smithing. Failed attempts and all.

I’ve tried my hand at writing both fiction and non-fiction. I once completed several chapters of a Sci-Fi novella. And earlier this year, I got up super early each morning for over a month with one intention: writing words. Lots of them.

There comes a state of word-flow where your inner-editor takes a back seat. A handful of paragraphs later you look up; an hour flew by! I often typed over 1,000 words in a session. The accomplishment felt like butter melting thoroughly on a steamy baked potato.

I’ve also read a book about writing (sorry, no spoilers), authored by one of the most prolific fiction novelists of our time, Stephen King. And I’ve kinda geeked out reading blogs and websites all about creative story-telling.


NaNoWriMo is a real chance to take the dream of writing a book and make it into a reality, like a fairy tale coming to life. It compels talented people to go from “once upon a time” to “happily ever after” and fill out all the details in between! Who knows? Maybe they’ll even be published.

Right now, many are typing. One could be your co-worker moonlighting as a novelist. They’re honing their craft, penning scenarios, developing characters, and plotting out climaxes. At this moment, an aspiring author is plugging away to the-ultimate-plot-twist!

I get that. I wish that. And until I gather up the gumption to write 50-grand in words, I will continue to admire those studious Scrivener and Ulysses aficionados.

So are you a fellow-novel-dreamer, brimming with hope to write long-form? Have you read captivating stories and felt yourself pining away with notions of your own bookish adventures bubbling from your imagination? Take a moment to leave a comment.

Take care!