What I learnt through 50ksin30days

I’ve just emerged from my writing cave after an intense month participating in RWA’s ’50ks in 30 days’ event. Similar to NanoWriMo, ours is a little more flexible in that you can choose your own goal and choose whether to write new or edit.

Last year was my 1st 50/30 and I chose the brave goal (for a struggling writer) of 25K, and succeeded. It also took me to almost the end of my 1st manuscript, which I completed a few weeks later. Apart from learning to lock up my inner editor, one of the main things I took from my first 50/30 was not to be precious about my writing environment. I used to think I could only write in total silence, tucked away in my little room or somewhere else totally alone. I learnt that I could write anywhere, anytime – in the car waiting for my son, sitting at his karate class with kiais going on around me – longhand, by keyboard. I still prefer my quiet little room, but I can write anywhere if I have to.

This year I edged closer to the full monty and went for 40K. I made it on the final day. I completed the 1st draft of Elsie’s Place and am about 16K into a new book, as yet unnamed.

A few things I learnt this year:

  • I need immovable deadlines 🙂 No great surprise – I was one of those who turned out their best work in school the night before it was due!
  • The 0 word count days killed me. If I could have at least written 100 words on those days, I would have been a lot closer to my goal at the end date.
  • My most successful day was 3,500+ words (on the final day). I think I sat down about 11am to write, had a lunch break and watched some TV with the family and finished about 4:30-5pm. I never thought I could ever write that much in a day but it showed me that I can!
  • Other days when I made big totals, it was 30 mins here and there throughout the day that added up. Valuable information to know…
  • Once again sprints in the chat room and the camaraderie of fellow RWA 50k’ers helped push me through. Love your work ladies!
  • I need a maid / housekeeper – or more self-sufficient family 🙂

Did you take part this year? Or have you taken part in previous years? If so, what lessons have you learnt doing 50/30 or Nano?


6 thoughts on “What I learnt through 50ksin30days

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-2174">

    Congratulations! I am in awe of anyone who can do 30 minutes here and there.
    I did it too! It’s the Evil Inner Editor who kills me – I cannot go back- just keep writing.
    I did my 50ks but as yet I haven’t dared go back and look at it!
    The last time I did 50ks in 30 days was for NaNo (Nov 2012). Matilda’s Freedom, which released July 1st, is the result. So it can be done!
    Mind you I’m a deadline person – I think I wrote 40ks in 15 days! I need 15 days to warm up and someone checking up on me – Thanks RWA guys for all the support.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2175">

      I haven’t been game to go back and read mine yet either Téa! Thanks for the comment.

    li class="comment even thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-2178">
    Melinda McJames

    Hi Kerrie & fellow 50k’er,

    I learnt that having the internet support and camaraderie really helped me keep focused on my story. Writing is such a solitary activity, being able to pop into the sprint room actually stopped me phoning a non-writing friend for a chat, playing on the internet etc and having someone say “let’s sprint for half an hour” rather than distract me from writing was great.

    Trying to fight the inner editor and the voice in my head that says it’s better to give up than to fail.

    Like you Kerrie, the zero word days are a problem not only kill your word count but I find they take me out of the story and dull the creativity.

    Looking forward to seeing you around the 500 club!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2179">

      That’s a very good point Melinda – the camaraderie is constructive! Because you know someone will say “hey we should be writing” and get everyone back on track!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-2191">

    I agree with you Melinda. The days I dont write, I do find very hard to get back into the ‘flow’ of my writing again. I had hoped to get 50k but knowing my life-style I knew I wouldnt make it. I’m still happy with my score of 36k plus. Like others there were some days with a big fat zero which certainly did not help my word count. Great post, Kerrie.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-2484">

    Kerrie, I think the best lessons we learn during ’50ks in 30 days’ are those that are not to do with the acutal ‘story’ we produce. These are the lessons that we have to be shown, not told about.
    Lesson 1: Writers write, wherever they are, whatever the medium. ‘Precious’ doesn’t get words down.
    Lesson 2: If you don’t have a daily wordcount goal, then there is always something that will be more important than writing.
    Lesson 3: As you write more, you write better (Who knew!)
    I understand these things and many more from the pressures of writing a novel in a month, no matter what outside distractions seek to lure me away.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the event. I had a blast. To be honest, I wish every month was 50ks in 30days, because I think that is a reasonable daily wordcount expectation for a professional writer.

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