How I wrote a novel in (under) 30 days

30 May

I’ve wanted to write a novel for most of my adult life, especially when I started getting more serious about my writing.

But here’s what scared me – the sheer length of the thing.

50,000 words is a lot of typing.

But if you break it down into chunks that the average human brain can look at without flying into a panic attack, it’s entirely possible.

So the first thing you’ve got to do is commit to the idea completely.

Here’s how I did it. An announcement over social media stating my intent, when I intended to do it and what the conditions were.

You can read the whole thing here:-

So I set a start date.

I then started to look at whatever notes I already had. Because I already had the idea for the story, it’d been a work in progress for almost 3 years.

Just the outline was over 3000 words. So it was pretty detailed before I ever started it.

But a mere outline isn’t a 50k word novel so I had to address certain issues, how I wanted things to unfurl as they went along. You do that by asking yourself questions then answering them.

You become familiar with the story, the characters and the world itself.

Once you’re happy you’ve covered everything that’s potentially going to happen in the story, get your notes into order and just wait until the start day.

Then start.

50k words in 30 days is 1667 words per day. For an average speed typist it’s about 2 hours of solid uninterupted writing every day. And if you ARE serious about writing a novel, there can’t be many people who couldn’t find 2 hrs in their day to set aside just for writing.

I had a full time job where I worked a 9 hr day, I travelled an hr to get there and home. So I didn’t have much free time. But I used what I had to the best of my ability.

I’d make sure I’d eaten, had a drink on standby and music to listen to for the whole period. Something different every day so as to not stagnate.

I’d just start at a set time (for me between 9pm and 10pm) then write for at least 2 hrs.

I didn’t make 1667 words every day. Most of the time I went over that easily. A few days I didn’t even make 1000 words, but I didn’t dispair. I would make up what I hadn’t written that day the following day.

It was a carrot to me, to not fall behind, to remain ahead as long as possible. On only 3 days of my writing process did I fall short of the 1667 mark.

I completed the novel in 28 days. But I wrote 50k words in 26 days.

But merely writing the novel is the start.

Then you have to spellcheck and proof. You have to read what you’ve written.

Because that was one rule I had. Never read what you’re writing as you are doing it.

It wasn’t all plain sailing the whole time. About 2/3’s of the way through, I felt like I was running out of steam and doubted that I could finish.

That was when I sought out fellow writers on twitter and asked for advice. And boy were they lovely, wonderful, helpful folks! They got me back on track and motoring again.

So don’t feel like your novel has to be just you versus the world.

Other writers want you to succeed.

Because the feeling of writing THE END is the greatest one you’ll ever get.

So what are you waiting for? It’s only 1667 words a day.

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