Can Amanda Write 50,000 Words in November?

In November, Amanda will challenge herself to write 50,000 words.

Amanda Shofner

Wait… Who’s Amanda?

Hi! I’m Amanda Shofner and the new content manager for Mill City Press. But I’m also a fiction author, with two full-length novels. And I read, a lot. Books are my life, really, which is why I love what I do. I’m fueled by coffee and relaxed by wine. That’s Amanda in a nutshell. You’ll learn more about me as we embark on this NaNoWriMo adventure.

What’s NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, where writers band together to write a 50,000 word novel every November. It’s geared toward people writing novels, but nonfiction writers benefit too. And some people (like me!) simply set a goal to write 50,000 words, wherever those words come from.

So what’s the point of the insanity of committing to write 1,667 words every day for 30 days? It depends for every writer. For some, they just want to see if they can. For others, they need the kick in the pants. For me, it’s to give myself a goal and push myself beyond my recent word monthly counts. (August: 32,000; September: 19,000.)

Where Are Amanda’s Words Coming From?

Because I’m an author and content manager, I’m going to split my focus: 25,000 words for my fiction and 25,000 words for my content projects, which include a Mill City Press website relaunch and creating content for a special NEW site. And, of course, writing updates for the blog about my writing counts.

What doesn’t count: writing social media updates, book birthday and weekend reading posts for Mill City Press.

Potential Pitfalls

With Thanksgiving in November and moving into a new place December 1st, the end of November is going to be crazy, and that’s never conducive to writing. That means if I want to ensure I write 50,000 words in November, I have to be finished by November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving.

In other words, I have to write at least 2,000 words every day for 25 days. That’s… a lot. Broken down, that’s 1,000 words on fiction and 1,000 words on Mill City Press projects (or approximately two blog posts) per day. Fiction is easier for me to write word-count wise, so my actual word counts might not split down the middle, but this estimation gives me a good starting point.

The Ultimate Plan

When I say “write 2,000 words every day,” my actual goal is to write more during the week so I can enjoy the weekend. I’ve always taken a writing break on the weekends if I can, and I intend to keep a similar schedule in November.

But that means I need to be laser focused on writing during the week. For fiction, one hour of writing (or two 30 minute sprints) should put me over my 1,000/day count—that’s pretty easy. For the month of September, a low-ish word count month, I wrote 19,000 on my work in progress, mainly by sticking to writing 30 minutes every weekday morning.

With MCP, it will be all about planning ahead and managing my distractions. Planning ahead is relatively straightforward: creating a list of content ideas and outlining what I can. It’s the distractions part that gets tricky. It might mean writing in a different location or forcing the marketing team into quiet office time or making them write with me.

To track all my various projects, I’ll use a spreadsheet (from Jamie Raintree) that calculates all sorts of word counts: daily, weekly, monthly and per project. I’ll post every Monday starting November 9th, updating you on what’s going well and maybe what’s not going so hot—and more importantly, what I’m doing to work on it.

Writing Is Better with Friends

It really is! That’s why I've challenged the rest of the MCP office to write with me. I only have three people joining me so far, but you can join too! Sign up for an account on NaNoWriMo's site, and add me as a buddy. (You can find me here or on Twitter @amshofner.) Or comment on this post and let me know if you're writing in November!

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