Thursday, November 15, 2012

50,000 Words or Bust by Tina Vaughn

For the first time in my life, I'm participating in a special event for November's National Novel Writing Month. The goal: write 50,000 words in thirty days.

For a plotter/pantser like me whose internal editor is like an uncontrollable beast, this project seemed, not just a daunting task, but an impossible one. How could I do this? I'm the writer who's lucky to manage a consistent five hundred words daily, who edits a chapter before I can move on to the next, whose writing comes in fits and bursts and whose plotting consists of a coarse outline on the back of an old page of my desk calendar.

I'm also the writer who's always up for a challenge. So, I overcame those doubts and insecurities to register for a special event at Savvy Authors. That, my dear friends, was the easy part. Immediately after registering, the doubts and, dare I admit it, the panic set in. What if I couldn't do this? What if I failed? However, a stronger and more hopeful part of myself said quite firmly: What if you can?

I spent the better part of October plotting and planning and making preparations, which included writing a blurb, synopsis and detailed outline. Details, people. I mean as much information as I could include. Nothing was too small.

I developed a desktop filing system where any ideas, bits of dialogue or scene ideas were kept in one spot and waiting for me when I was ready to write them.

I've learned to write at least twice a day, early mornings and late nights, in order to make sure I meet my daily writing goals.

My organizational skills have improved, even on the home-front, as I keep up with any and all outside commitments (my daughter's ballet classes, PTO meetings, outings, fundraisers, etc.) and adjust my schedule to accommodate writing time so that I can meet daily word or page count goals.

Since November 1, All I've done is write. No editing. No re-reading. Only writing. And I'm proud to say I've written around 27,000 words.

So far, my experience has been a positive one. I went from panic to excitement in just a few weeks. Paradoxically, I've found a writing structure and freedom in this challenge – and, for that, I am truly thankful.

Have you ever pushed yourself to move outside your comfort zone?

What did you learn?


  1. Go, Tina, go! You are kicking some butt! Woot! You can do it! *pom pom swish* (I'm right there with ya, girl.) :)

  2. Go, Tina, go! You are kicking some butt! Woot! You can do it! *pom pom swish* (I'm right there with ya, girl.) :)

  3. Awesome, Tina! I did NaNo one year and loved it-it's very different from how I normally write, but very liberating, too!! Good luck with the rest of it-and be sure to let us know how it goes!

  4. Nice job, Tina! I participated in Nano last year, and I wish I'd planned better so I could do it again this year. It really is a great challenge, and I loved that I was forced to write with abandon: no editing at all. And you know, when I was finished, I didn't have the most perfect manuscript in the world, but I had a book that may not have been written if I'd labored over every word and plot movement. I definitely draw from that experience to this day.

    Best of luck, and keep us posted! You can do it!!

  5. Excellent post! I'm so glad it's working for you and your word cnt is wonderful!!! I've done NaNo a few times in the past and the method worked for me. I also helps that I love #'s, formulas and spreadsheets. :-) So I have my own NaNo system set up and that's what I use when I'm drafting a new book. Doesn't work for editing but it's awesome for first drafts. :-)

    Let us know how it all turns out.

  6. 27,000 words is impressive, wow. I think incentive is the key - it amazes me how pubbed authors have to rewrite half a book in two weeks and manage to do it. I haven't done Nano formally but did Candace Havens fast draft and went great at first but not having a concrete incentive (ie an editor expecting the book!) it was too easy to slow down - pressure is indeed a wonderful thing. Best of luck with the rest of it, sounds like you're on a roll.

  7. Terrific progress, Tina! Sending you loads of good vibes as you plough to the finish. X