Writing My Novel: NaNoWriMo Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me

NaNoWriMo Winner“I win! I won NaNoWriMo!”

Which is exactly what you all would be reading if it were November instead of May.  As it stands, though, I reached the 50k word mark on my novel, which is what the NaNoWriMo challenge considers a novel.

So from one perspective, I’ve written an entire novel.  From another, more realistic perspective, I still have a great deal of writing to do—somewhere between 30-45k.

Either way, it feels good to know that I have reached a milestone that at one time seemed entirely unreachable. So here’s me tooting my own horn!

Things I’ve Learned:

  • 50,000 words isn’t nearly as long as I thought it was. I am almost 2/3 of the way through, and honestly worry about having to cut the story I want to tell short in order to keep it under 100k.  Before I started, when I heard that people were writing 50k words in a month for NaNoWriMo, I thought it was an almost impossible task.  Now, I am sorely tempted to work on a second novel during November because I know just how much work it will take me to churn out ~1600 words seven days a week—it’s very doable.  My fear: November is anniversary/finals time for Beej.  We’ll see how it goes.
  • Blogging helps.  A lot. I think I have to have some sort of ADD because when I concentrate on one thing for too long, I just don’t care about it anymore.  Blogging helps me keep myself in the writing mode while not letting me burnout on non-stop storycraft.  I think that the Blogathon might have been the best thing I could have done this month to compliment my novel.
  • I couldn’t do this alone. The support I get from friends and family regarding this project is astounding.  I have people ask me all the time about how the book is coming along.  And I’m amazed by it.  Having so many people who seem genuinely eager to read something I am writing makes me happier than I really know how to express.  I already have a few people lined up to be beta readers at the end of the summer, and I’m sure there will be more to come.
  • I love doing this. I am happy doing this.  Monday-Friday, I wake up, load up Google Reader and lazily read through whatever awesomeness the blogosphere decided to throw at me as I take short “thinking breaks” from my novel.  By noon or 1pm, I’m done with “work” for the day, and the afternoon is free to blog, play a game, read a book, work on my Slayage presentation, or laze around my house in my boxers, hoping that no one knocks on the door and makes me put pants on.  And I love it. Last week, as I walked around the track at four in the afternoon, I realized that this is the lifestyle I want and was very happy that I am making the conscious effort to solidify it. I love writing.  I love being able to consider myself a writer. And I will love being able to make a living by doing it.

With 50k words under my novel-writing belt, I can honestly say that this endeavor is hard.  It is work.  It’s not just sitting down at a computer and spewing some unreadable gibberish onto the page.  It takes thought and concentration and discipline.  I love it, but it’s hard.  But I guess that’s why they pay us the big bucks, huh?

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. Congrats man. Out of curiosity, how many pages does 50k words work out to be?

    1. From what I’ve read, books tend to average around 250 words per page with standard printing practices, which makes 50k words equal out to about 200 pages. I’m aiming at between 80 and 90k for the finished manuscript, which should be between 300 and 400.

  2. Interesting! Every writer seems to do it different. Scott Lynch for example dives away and resurfaces in 6-12 months intervals, making next to no statements at all in between. 😉

    1. I don’t think I could do it. While I do love my alone time–cherish it, actually–I don’t think I’m focused enough on anything to seclude myself like that.

    1. I’ll keep that in mind. 😀 I’m still way out from doing that, and I’ll have to do a little research to find out what’s the best way to do that kind of thing before I get in over my head. I’m thinking my beta readers will be getting a second draft, though; after my wife (she works as an editor on side projects all the time) has her way with the first draft.

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