WRITING A NOVEL IN SEVEN DAYS
The Challenge Was Simple.
Day One: 3,000 words.
And then each day after that add 1,000 words to the amount needed. Seven days, if my math is right, I will have a 42,000 word novel.
3,000… 4,000… 5,000… 6,000… 7,000… 8,000… 9,000 words.
The Writing of The Idanha Hotel: A Thunder Mountain Novel
Day 1… 3,700 words. Total words so far… 3,700 words.
Day 2… 5,100 words. Total words so far… 8,800 words.
Day 3… 5,600 words. Total words so far… 14,400 words.
Day 4… 6,050 words. Total words so far… 20,450 words.
Day 5… 7,500 words. Total words so far… 27,950 words.
Day 6… 8,050 words. Total words so far… 36,050 words.
Day 7… 7,000 words. Total words … 43,050 words.
Killing Some Myths
All kinds of fun stuff about this challenge.
Myth #1 Shattered
First off, as I said way back in the opening of all this, my first thought when I heard this challenge was that I was too old.
For the record, I am 65 years old.
I had always read about how some of the great writers would do books about this length in a week or less. I always admired those writers and when I was going full force in traditional, I wrote at good speed for that system for decades.
But it was never close to what my heroes from the past had done. And as I got older and the new world of indie publishing started to open back up the freedom again, I just assumed I was too old.
So I went to something easy such as filling 70,000 words of my own magazine every month with only my stories. And including a novel every month and short stories and serial novels and features.
I am the only writer in history to do that. Or even attempt it.
This novel I just finished will be in Smith’s Monthly #30. And I’m still going.
But I still thought I was too old for this sort of writing focus and speed.
Turns out that was a myth I was believing. Total myth.
In fact, this wasn’t even stressful in the slightest. My hands didn’t get sore, my back is fine, everything I had been worried about turned out to be my critical voice trying to stop me on this.
Creative voice won that battle. Critical voice is whimpering in the corner.
Myth #2 Shattered
I hear all the time the excuse of “I have a day job so I can’t write like you do.”
Often I am insulted at that, but I never say anything. No point because it is a myth the writer is holding to help them not write. Their critical voice is winning completely and that’s not my fault they let it.
Not my fault another writer is not writing.
So what did I prove in this week of writing a novel about the day job excuse/myth?
Well, I worked 44 hours at my day job. In case some of you don’t know, I am the CFO of WMG Publishing and I am helping starting the store wing of the company. I do all the banking, errands, mail, and everything else, including teaching workshops and answering all the questions about them.
I usually work around 50 hours a week when counting the workshops I teach, but this week I got it down to only 44 hours.
So if you are using a day job excuse to stop your writing, you might want to start clearing out that myth. It’s just your critical voice finding an acceptable way to keep you from writing.
And if that makes you angry at me, might want to check in with yourself. You have some defense issues on this topic because trust me, your day job is no harder or easier than mine.
And at least you get paid for yours.
Myth #3 Shattered
I wrote a 43,000 word novel in 36.5 total hours of writing. (I’m counting another 7,000 words of writing nonfiction in the day job hours.)
Just under 1,200 words of fiction per total hour of writing. However, I did all that in many, many sessions.
In fact, I did 42 sessions to write the 43,000 words. Or about 1,025 words per session.
Each writing session averaged .86th of an hour. Or about 50 minutes per session.
In other words, I typed at the blazing speed of 20.5 words per minute.
And that was all finished draft.
I printed up the book when I finished it and gave it to Kris to read. It will be turned into WMG Publishing for copyediting in a day or so. I’m not going to touch it again except to fix a typo or so that Kris finds.
So all the writers who think they have to write sloppy during NanoWriMo to get the words done, I just showed you how to not do that.
Write, finish, and release.
And right there a bunch of writers are screaming about how they could never do that, or that I am a mutant so I can do this, or that my books have to be bad because I wrote it fast without rewriting it, and so on and so on.
Actually, doing this has to plow into a bunch of the myths I wrote about in Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing.
So if you are finding yourself making excuses about how you could never do this, stop and check in and ask where the belief system you are spouting is coming from.
Just trying to be helpful.
So In Summary
A 65-year-old-man just took time around his 44 hours of day job to write 42 sessions and start and finish a novel in one week.
Without an outline, writing into the dark completely, only one draft.
And the old guy has the audacity to say it was fun.
And horrors of horrors, he actually took a nap every day and watched a lot of television as well. And he cooked dinner four of the seven days.
How can all that be possible?
Because it was fun, that’s how I did it. The writing was fun.
Will I do it again? Oh, sure.
But next time I won’t make any big deal out of it. Next time it will just be part of my regular writing, now that I have proven to myself that I can do it and cleared out the age myth.
And I hope I have proven that anyone can do it easily. You just have to get rid of all the excuses, the myths, the belief that you can’t do it.
You can do it.
With a day job.
When you are on Medicare and Social Security, and still watch television every day and get a nap and a full-night’s sleep.
I just showed you it is completely possible.
And it really is a lot of fun.