Winning National Novel Writing Month and Saving $200

I did it! I wrote over 50,000 words in under 30 days for National Novel Writing Month. When I validated my word count, I was lucky enough to witness this video from the NaNoWriMo crew:


Along with the following words of recognition:

You, brave authorial knight, have officially slayed 50K during NaNoWriMo 2014. Now, claim your dragon’s cave worth of treasure!

And the following certificate:



And a picture of a t-shirt (which I have to buy if I want one, and I would… but, I’m sorry to say, it’s just not very appealing):


And some winner’s “web badges”.


In addition, some “winners-only” codes for offers from the NaNoWriMo sponsors will be available to me soon, which I discussed in an earlier post.  A better offer comes by way of a non-NaNoWriMo sponsor (they told us they were ‘full’ when we offered to give them money), where you can get a FREE Amazon Extreme Marketing Package when you start publishing your book with Outskirts Press.  This marketing package includes a free Amazon Kindle edition of your book once it is published, submission of your book to Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” program, an Amazon cover enhancement for your Amazon listing, and a free copy of my bestselling and award-winning book Sell Your Book on Amazon.  And all our publishing packages always include between 3 – 10 free copies of your book (which is better than 2, right?). All the details of this offer, including the necessary promotion code, can be found here:  Hey, look at that: you don’t even have to get to the “Winners” page on NaNoWriMo to get this offer!

Or…. if you prefer saving money instead of receiving free stuff, today also happens to be Black Friday (what great timing!), so if you order your Diamond or Pearl full-color publishing package today only, you can save an instant 20% (that’s an average savings of over $200) on the cost of your all-inclusive, full-service book publishing. Simply enter the promotion code: 20DSCT2014 into your shopping cart at check-out.

I’m sure I’ll be seeing the rest of my mentorees and writing buddies on the NaNoWriMo site crossing the finish line soon.  Way to go, fellow WriMo’s!

 My NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday, November 27:

Average Per Day 1857
Words Written Today 1613
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 50,158  WINNER
Words Remaining 0
Current Day 27
Days Remaining 4
At this rate, you’ll finish 27-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 0


I’m THANKFUL for writing 50,000 words in one month

Happy Thanksgiving.

We’re down to the last few days of National Novel Writing Month. When I began this adventure over a month ago, I set out to earn all the “Participation” and “Writing” badges on the NaNoWriMo website, and one of the Participation Badges required adding “Buddies” to my account, so I could interact with them, and find motivation in their success.  Another Participation Badge required that I post to the forums, which I did, by offering to be a “virtual mentor” for other WriMo’s as they joined me on this writing journey.  In fact, those two badges went hand in hand because as I interacted with WriMo’s I was mentoring, I naturally added them to my Buddy list, so I could watch their progress.

Out of all my “Buddies” on the NaNoWriMo site, two of them are official “Winners” as of yesterday afternoon.  That means they have validated their official word counts with NaNoWriMo and their word count has met or exceeded 50,000 words.

I hope to join them sometime today, by “carving” out time away from the turkey to reach the 50,000 word goal and then validate my word counts.  I have less than 1,500 words to go, so my confidence is high that I’m going to become a NaNoWriMo winner on Thanksgiving day (and hence the headline to this posting — just some extra motivation for yours truly).

Some of my other buddies and mentorees still have some work to do, with word counts ranging from 27,000 – 46,000.  Join me in urging them to cross that finish line with me in the next couple of days!

Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday, November 26:

Average Per Day 1867
Words Written Today 1642
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 48,545
Words Remaining 1,455
Current Day 26
Days Remaining 5
At this rate, you’ll finish 27-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 291

An hour of writing a day

As we endure the final stretch of NaNoWriMo where half a million writers from around the globe challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I’d like to offer some words of motivation, if not inspiration.  It’s been difficult for me to find the time and the energy to write more of my novel, Idle Hands, every day of the month.  I’m happy to report that out of the whole month, I only skipped one day entirely (and it was a bear dragging myself out of the “word hole” that resulted from that lapse).  Even on days where I REALLY didn’t feel like writing, I at least kicked in 400-800 words.

And here’s what I discovered:  I was extremely disappointed in myself the whole day (and the following day) when I skipped writing entirely.  That’s 48 hours of disappointment that could have been averted with one single hour of creativity.  Talk about a positive return on your investment!  One hour of time invested for 48 hours of satisfaction.  And even if you can’t always contribute an entire hour of time,  as these monthly stats have shown, every word counts. Every word contributes to your final goal of finishing that book.  Even if you only put in 100, or 200, or 500… that’s more words than you had yesterday.  More words than you had the day before that.  Books are not infinite. They have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. If you always find a way to contribute SOME words to your book every day, there will come a day when you finish it.

And those days when you write your book, you’ll feel better about your craft, and your writing career. You’ll find that those hours of satisfaction and accomplishment are longer than the time you spent writing.   And that beats the 48 hours of feeling bad for NOT putting in a single hour.

Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday, November 25:

Average Per Day 1876
Words Written Today 2423
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 46,903
Words Remaining 3,097
Current Day 25
Days Remaining 6
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 27
Words/Day to finish on time 517

50,000 words, here I come!

It’s going to be a busy week: Work.  Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Family traditions (shopping, eating, decorating, etc).

And writing.

Lots and lots of writing to finish up 50,000 words to Idle Hands.  Even though I have through next Sunday, my personal goal is to reach 50,000 words by Friday.  I’m mainly doing this because the “confirmation” instructions sent out by NaNoWriMo have alluded to the fact that their word-count might differ from my own when I undergo the process of validating.  I’m not quite sure why it would be different, but I don’t want to be caught off guard on the night of the 30th by suddenly realizing I have 1000-2000 words more to write in order to reach the 50,000 word milestone.    Luck favors the prepared, as they say, so I plan to validate my word count with NaNoWriMo on Friday, just in case I need the weekend to make up any differential between their “official” word count and my own.

And speaking of which, here are my NaNoWriMo stats for November 24:

Average Per Day 1853
Words Written Today 2046
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 44480
Words Remaining 5,520
Current Day 24
Days Remaining 7
At this rate, you’ll finish November 27
Words/Day to finish on time 789

Getting over the hump (day)

Happy hump day, otherwise known as Wednesday on any given week, but this Wednesday is particularly “humpy” because it marks the time when National Novel Writing participants really SHOULD be over that 25,000 word hump and on the downhill slope of their novel. I’m proud to say I have only 2 writing buddies on the NaNoWriMo site who have not yet traversed that 25,000 hill yet, although they’re both in the 20,000’s, so it should be any moment now. My other buddies have word counts ranging from the lower-to-mid-30’s (which is also where I am) to the upper 70’s (over-achievers!).

If the NaNoWriMo stats from the Denver area participants are any indication, this arduous task becomes harder the longer you’re at it.


 Let’s analyze this graphic I uploaded when I passed 25,000 words, most notably the graphic in the lower right hand corner, which shows the cumulative word count of all the WriMo’s in Denver. You will notice that we all passed 8 million words half-way through day number 6, but by day 14, we still hadn’t doubled that to 16 million.  In fact, we’re now at day 18, and it still doesn’t look like the cumulative word count has reached 16 million.

We’re all slowing down…  Maybe that means the books have been finished and the word count totals have been reached; I would need to know the total number of Denver participants to determine that.  But my guess is that this Hump day REALLY is a hump day, and we all desperately need that downhill slope.  Well, it’s there, right at word 25,001 it begins going downhill.   So I challenge the rest of my mentorees to get over that hump. And for those of you who already have, keep it up. You’re doing great.

Here are my stats for NaNoWriMo for Nov 18:

Average Per Day 1833
Words Written Today 2538
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 33,011
Words Remaining 16,989
Current Day 18
Days Remaining 13
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 28
Words/Day to finish on time 1,307

Under 20,000 words to go on the novel

If you’ll look at my NaNoWriMo stats for yesterday (posted below), you’ll see that I’ve crossed over 30,000 words written, which leaves less than 20,000 words to go.  So does that mean I only have to write 20,000 more words to finish my book? Well, no. It means I only have 20,000 more words to write in order to “win” National Novel Writing Month (they consider it “winning” if you write 50,000 words in 30 days). Whether or not you actually FINISH your book is not of much consequence to them.

But that seems like a pretty arbitrary goal, doesn’t it?  Writing 50,000 words in 30 days?  So, yes, while I’m on track to write 50,000 words in 30 days (in 28 days, actually), I’m afraid I’m not on track to actually finish the book.  You see, I just got to the point in the plot where Fenderson takes Brad on a road trip to Las Vegas on their way to the port to get on the cruise ship.  If you’ll remember the posting that introduced the original outline for Idle Hands, you’ll see that Las Vegas wasn’t even mentioned, and you’ll see that by November 17th, Fen was supposed to have already killed Jacob.  And, here I am, on day 18 and they haven’t even gotten to the cruise ship yet.

That’s okay, rarely are today’s modern works of fiction only 50,000 words. Idle Hands was always going to be longer.

But the point of this is to realize, for all of us WriMo’s out there, that writing (and finishing) a novel is the real goal, no matter how long it takes. They just put a 50,000 word number on it, and an arbitrary starting and ending date, to put us all on the same page (pun intended).

So if your book is less than 50,000 words and you finish it before the end of the month, start writing a new one. And if your book is going to be longer than 50,000 words, and therefore not finished by November 30, keep on writing, even if you “won” NaNoWriMo.

You don’t publish 50,000 words.  You publish books.

My NaNoWriMo stats for November 17:

Average Per Day 1792
Words Written Today 2236
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 30,473
Words Remaining 19,527
Current Day 17
Days Remaining 14
At this rate, you’ll finish November 28
Words/Day to finish on time 1,395

25,000 Words in 15 Days

We are half-way through National Novel Writing Month, where I (and 500,000 other writers) have challenged ourselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days…

So a good bench-mark would be writing 25,000 words in 15 days.

Thanks to an “internal challenge” I had with a couple of my “mentorees” through the NaNoWriMo site, where we challenged each other to reach 25,000 by Friday, I’m happy to report that I earned my 25,000 Writing Badge yesterday. Woo-hoo!


Here’s a graphic showing the four main statistics from the NaNoWriMo site. In the upper left-hand corner are the Participation Badges (completed) and the Writing Badges, displaying my latest accomplishment of 25,000 words.  The next Writing Badge to earn is by validating my word count, but I can’t do that yet, because I’m not at 50,000 words.

In the upper right-hand corner is my daily stats in bar graph form imposed against an average line chart for where I need to be to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m basically right on schedule.

In the lower left-hand corner are all the statistics I’ve been reporting on daily through this blog; this is how they appear on the NaNoWriMo site.  What a red-letter day! The number of words I have written exceeds the number of words remaining.  And, finally, I’m tracking to finish ahead of schedule again (although Thanksgiving is bound to put a damper on that, so if I was ambitious, I’d aim to be at 50,000 words by the 26th.) Don’t want to get tripped up by tryptophan!

In the lower right-hand corner are the bar graphs displaying the cummulative word-count totals of all the NaNoWriMo participants in the Denver area.  14 million words and counting!

I wonder where all those people are going to publish their books?  I know where I would suggest, but then again, I’m biased.

We’re on the downhill slope, fellow WriMo’s.

The power of positive thinking

coverMy November 12th blog was titled “The power of motivation” and within the body of that posting I wrote the following sentence: “Once I reach 50,000 words, I’ll probably stop.”

When I read my posting the next day (as I always do, to review it for errors after 24 hours have passed), something occurred to me for the first time when I re-read that particular sentence.  I didn’t write, “If I reach 50,000 words.”  I wrote “Once I reach 50,000 words.”  In other words, I have never questioned whether or not I would write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That has always been a forgone conclusion in my mind.  I’ve been positive I would do it from the moment I signed-up.

Some might call that cocky; others might call it naive. I prefer “positive.” But, regardless of what you call it, visualizing the future without a shred of doubt has miraculous advantages in life; you do what it takes to “get there.”

I think this is also why I went through the exercise of creating a book cover image for Idle Hands.  From the beginning, I have been picturing the end result.  First, writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Second, revising and rewriting that first draft into a coherent novel.  Third, submitting that novel to publishers, and then after they reject it (hey, it can’t all be positive), self-publishing it myself.  For me, it is easier to picture that published novel in my hands if it has a cover.  That’s going to be my reality. It just hasn’t happened… yet.  But in order to get there, first thing’s first: writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

What does your future look like?

Okay, I rebounded from that horrible 0-word day, so here are my stats for NaNoWriMo for November 13th:


Average Per Day 1660
Words Written Today 2039
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 21584
Words Remaining 28,584
Current Day 13
Days Remaining 18
At this rate, you’ll finish December 1
Words/Day to finish on time 1,579

Even with writing over 2,000 words yesterday, I’m still on track to finish after the deadline.  See what skipping a whole day of writing gets you?  I’d better not do it again… The “fun” part is that both of the “word stats” are in the 20,000’s — I’ve written 21,584 words and the number of words I have remaining is 28,584.  I’m looking forward to that “exactly middle” 25,000 word milestone, with a target completion date of November 15th. That gives me 2 days of writing to crank out 3416 words, or 1708 words each day.  No problem-o…

… baby steps…



The power of motivation

For the past 12 days I have been actively participating in National Novel Writing Month (along with some 500,000 of my fellow writers). NaNoWriMo, as it is known, challenges people to write 50,000 words to a novel in 30 days.  I’d guess the majority of people who start the process may not successfully cross the 50k finish line, and that’s okay. At least they tried.  But, impressively, many people make the attempt year after year. They keep on plugging along.  As I quoted Ray Bradbury in yesterday’s post, “You fail only if you stop writing.”  That’s not only true for National Novel Writing Month, but it is true EVERY month.  In fact, it’s a good lesson for life in general:  You only fail if you stop writing trying.

What I noticed as I was looking at other WriMo participants’ stats is that those writers who won usually stopped right around 50,000 words. They crossed the finish line, yes, and then promptly stopped writing their books.  Their word counts rarely extended much beyond the 50,000 word requirement.

There are exceptions, of course. One WriMo wrote over 105,000 words in 30 days, but in general, the WriMos I researched who “won” did so by just squeaking past the finish line.

I’m probably going to “squeak” past the finish line, too.  Once I reach 50,000 words, I’ll probably stop.

But should I?  

Should any of the WriMo’s stop at 50,000 words? Should we stop writing on November 30th?  Perhaps National Writing Month is only about cranking out 50,000 words in 30 days; but writing is about something more than that —  it is about establishing a writing routine that is driven by a self-imposed goal (50,000 words) and a self-imposed deadline (November 30).  These goals and milestones may not SEEM self-imposed in November, since NaNoWriMo is “throwing” this worldwide writing party, but the truth is, it IS self-imposed.  There’s no one FORCING you to write 50,000 words in 30 days during NaNoWriMo.  Those of us who are doing it, are doing it for ourselves. To see if we can.

What’s stopping us from doing the same thing in December? And in January? And February?

After all, that’s what a writer would do.  As Richard Bach once said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”  Let’s all keep writing, even after NaNoWriMo 2014 comes to a close…


Here are my NaNoWriMo stats for November 11, 2014:

Average Per Day 1776
Words Written Today 2007
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 19545
Words Remaining 30,455
Current Day 11
Days Remaining 20
At this rate, you’ll finish Nov 29
Words/Day to finish on time 1,523


Words of inspiration

Outskirts Press has over 12,000 followers/fans on its Facebook page at — and some of our most popular posts have been inspiring quotes that we’ve shared to our writing community.  As we begin the second full business week of NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d share a few quotes that seem particularly appropriate for those of us attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach

“If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” ~ Dan Poynter

“Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.” ~ Mike Rich

“Fiction does not spring into the world fully grown, like Athena. It is the process of writing and rewriting that makes a fiction original, if not profound.” ~ John Gardner

“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” ~ John Rogers

“You fail only if you stop writing.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Keep on writing, fellow WriMo’s!

My NaNoWriMo stats for November 10, 2014:

Average Per Day 1753
Words Written Today 1730
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 17538
Words Remaining 32,462
Current Day 10
Days Remaining 21
At this rate, you’ll finish 26-Nov
Words/Day to finish on time 1,546