50,000 Words

1 Dec

For the past four years, I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month – which is shortened to NaNoWriMo.  It’s basically a writing challenge – starting from scratch, write 50,000 words during the  month of November.  If you manage that, you validate your words via their handy little gizmo, and get to claim the honor of “WINNER!”.

The first time I signed up, four years ago, I was all set to get this done.  I had 10,000 words typed up in the first four days.  I was on my path to winning when, on November 4th, Josh called and said “So, are you serious about moving to Ireland?  Because I just got the job offer.”

Needless to say, writing came to a screeching halt.

The next year, I signed up, but got absolutely no where with it.  We had visitors and my time was spent hanging out with them (time well spent, don’t doubt that).

Last year, I tried again.  Got signed up late, puttered about, didn’t even break 3,000 words.

This year, I signed up because, well, it wasn’t like I was going to move again.  Nor did I have any visitors planned.  I scheduled my life for writing, conned other friends into joining, came up with a last minute idea for characters, and dove in – no plot, no story line, no idea except some characters.

Of course, Life didn’t care about my plans, and continued along its usual possibly drunken, definitely convoluted path.  In keeping with NaNoWriMo tradition, I got some most excellent news which required my attention.  I also got to play single parent while Josh was gone for a week.  And as I’ve come to realize, November is a really freaking depressing month, so there was a bit of wallowing happening on my part.  And in an attempt to build a social life, there were things to go to.  Which I’m glad I went to.  But you know, life, distractions, not writing.

I started off the last week of NaNo at only 23,000 words.  Pretty far behind.  And Thanksgiving was thrown in there.  But I thought “Maybe I can do this.”  At Day 26 (out of 30), I was at 23,728 words.  That left more than half of the challenge to do in three days.

Challenge was accepted.

Granted, I had to write 12,000 words the next two days, and 15,000 words the final day.  I clocked in at 50,026 words at 11 pm on Day 30.

In return, I got this.



I also ended up with a very rough draft of something that resembles a novel – with beginning, middle, and end.  It is choppy and not very good in many spots where I just put words down with the hopes of going back to fix later, when my brain worked better.  Even now, my brain is a bit “Ahhh!  Words!!”

But I learned a few things –

1. I can actually come up with an ending (seriously, this has been an issue for me in the path)

2. I still can’t outline, but I can jot down bits and maybe make them work.

3. I can type really fast when need be.

4. One should not stare at a computer screen for 14 hours.

5. I don’t know, my brain still hurts from the past two days.

Most of all, I managed to conquer my own personal Everest, pushing through when it didn’t make sense, or when I still didn’t have a plot, or any answers to the questions I created.  I’m impressed with how I managed to weave it together, even if it’s woven poorly.

Now I just get to go back to the beginning and work through it all again.

But maybe not today.


20 Responses to “50,000 Words”

  1. Tracesofthesoul December 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Congrats!! Considering all your challenges you deserve a trophy for sure!!!

    • phoebz4 December 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      Thanks! My trophy came in the same of a bottle of hard cider…or two 😉

      • Tracesofthesoul December 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

        Ahaha…good…perhaps you could have a pint of Kilkenny or Guiness as well on me:)

  2. Cheryl @ Stop The Stigma December 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    You are the first person EVER that I followed and the reason I started StigmaHurtsEveryone. Now I see you succeeded in such a HUGE challenge…a mom of 4 children, with many many responsibilities…kiddo, you are amazing!! My Hero!!

    • phoebz4 December 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      aw thanks! I’m feeling quite proud of myself, I must say 🙂

      • Cheryl @ Stop The Stigma December 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

        And you should be!! wow!! Hope you are settled in well back in the states and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. Cheryl @ Stop The Stigma December 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Reblogged this on Stop the Stigma with Cher Shares and commented:
    A mammoth success…a blogger, mother of 4, involved in writing, advocating and so much more made it through the November writing challenge…Since HerdingCats is the blog that inspired me to start StigmaHurtsEveryone, I find it fitting that you check her out…you will NOT be disappointed…Bravo, Phoebe Holmes!!

  4. Liz Palika December 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Good for you! My highest word count in a month was 70,000 for a nonfiction book contract. And it had to be ready to send in – not a rough draft. BUT….I didn’t have any kids at home at the time and the rest of my life ground to a halt. I have no idea how you do it with kids in the house. And over Thanksgiving. Awesome!

    • phoebz4 December 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

      Well, the last two days, I told the husband I was going to try to write as much as possible, then pretended to be a single person while he was Husband of the Year. So this was definitely a group effort.

  5. Renee Anne December 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    I’m not good with endings either. I don’t write that often anymore either. I think my problem with endings is that when I read others’ works, I sit back and wonder, “what happened to ___” or “what about ____” and I keep wanting more. It’s part of the reason why I do well with things like Harry Potter Fan Fiction. I know the characters and storylines so well that any lingering thoughts don’t necessarily have to start from scratch. But, that’s me.

  6. Dean B December 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Congratulations! I’ve been thinking of joining for the longest time and I think you’ve just inspired me! Hope the inspiration stays till next year 🙂

  7. Joy M Newcom December 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Congratulations! That’s a big accomplishment!

  8. Owls and Orchids December 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Congrats, I was too. Hicken to do NaNoWriMo so did the NaBloPoMo. Strange since I was writing over 1000 words a day (had to cut them back) so maybe next year I’ll follow your example. Well done. Susan. X

    • Owls and Orchids December 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Damned iPhone and spell check. I was too chicken. Argh!

  9. franhunne4u December 2, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Congrats! I started only once – quite some time ago – but I never brought myself to finish that. I gave up entirely and concentrated on “Hemingway drafts” of short stories. Hemingway draft – a shitty first draft – as it was Hemingway who asked:”Don’t we all write shitty first drafts?”
    (That is the reason why I will not apologize for the word “shitty” either – Hemingway’s immortal words, not my feeble attempt to describe something ‘improvable’.)

  10. scottishmomus December 2, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    Well done! :)x

  11. gingeralicia88 December 2, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    That’s great. Congratulations!

  12. Lori-Anne December 3, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    That is awesome! I am so excited for you! My cousin did this, but with a newborn wasn’t able to complete it this year. I had never heard of it! Whaaaaat? Now I want to try it. But, uhm, just exactly how long is 50,000 words….??? lol I’ve never been able to make it past a third chapter in a story even if I know the ending in my mind. *sigh*

    • phoebz4 December 3, 2013 at 1:45 am #

      It would be about…190 pages, typed in Times New Roman 12 pt font, double-spaced lines. (or at least I think how I formatted it.)

      • phoebz4 December 3, 2013 at 1:46 am #

        Oh, and I didn’t really do chapters – just scenes. So if I didn’t know how to carry forth, insert page break, move forward, I can go back and edit it…well…now! LOL!

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