So I did it. I wrote a little over 50000 words in one month. Here is the postmortem.
I guess I’ll answer the two main questions that I had going in.
The first question I had was simple. Could I do it? And if I could, how hard would it be?
So the answer to the first was obviously, yes. I wrote around 1700 words every single day for 30 days. Some days I wrote slightly less, some days slightly more. There was one day that I wrote 3000. So the answer to the first question was, yep. I absolutely can write 50000 words in a month.
The second question is a little more difficult. Was it hard? Well, yes and no. Simply typing 2000 or even 3000 words in a day, or really in a few hours, isn’t that hard. Making up 1700 words of new story every day is a little more difficult. The main problem was that I didn’t have a super clear idea where the story was going sometimes, and I sort of had to make it up on the fly. Usually I would make some sort of plan for what I was going to write the next day and then try as hard as I could to follow that plan. Sometimes it went off the rails and I would have to backtrack to fix it.
The next things that I think people would want to know about taking on a challenge like this is, does it make you faster at writing? Does it make you a better writer?
To answer the first question, for me at least, it didn’t make me a faster writer. It took me anywhere from two to four hours every day to finish those words. Without fail. I never got faster. While I can type relatively quickly, I don’t think I’m a very fast writer. I make mistakes and I backtrack, and I have trouble finding the exact words I want sometimes.
I did notice that my writing got much more intricate as I went on. I started to take a wider view while still working on the sentence to sentence beats of a scene. I started to plan setups and reveals that would be pages or chapters away. While I don’t think that what I wrote is very good yet, it needs a lot of editing and scene changes to make the characters consistent and more fully featured. I started to work on the long arcs of the plot. I set up mysteries that I know how to pay off later (and some that I don’t yet). So far, for as thin as it is, the story functions. It does the things it needs to do to make a reader turn the page. It will take a lot of work to finish it, but it’s on its way.
Would I do it again? I don’t know. Maybe. It is a good way to kick-start a book. And it shows you how much work writing a whole book might be. I suppose you could write a novella in that time, but I scoped a story that will take between one hundred thousand and one hundred twenty thousand to tell. I only really got close to the middle of the book.
I think if I did it again, I would come with more planning. I had a short story and a handful of notes, but no real plan, so I had to make it up as I went. While that can work well, I wouldn’t recommend it as a method of creating very polished writing. What I have right now points me in a direction, but there is no way I could sell it. It’s just too messy.
What all of this did prove to me was, if you worked full time as a writer, you could write at least a book a year by typing up around 2000 words a day. It would take a few hours, and then you would have to spend the rest of the day fixing those words to make them something someone would want to read. It would be a full time job, but not an easy one.