Friday, February 3, 2012

50,000 (or "Progress as Promised")

I passed the 50,000 word mark today.

It's a big accomplishment for a guy who once thought that 25 pages a week was worthy of throwing a party.

I'm right at around 50,500 words now. For a little perspective, the objective of National Novel Writer's Month in November is to finish a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I spilled out 50,000 words of ingot (or "raw material") in 26 calendar days.

Of course, this is far from "finished product"-type stuff; I still need to make some sizable changes to the early stuff, especially, but I'm happy that I could physically sit down and write so many words in such a short amount of time.

50,000 words also marks the unofficial "halfway point" of my novel, since I've targeted around 100,000 words for the book.  Of course, that figure is subject to change; I'm a little worried that part II is going to run a bit long, so that may send it closer to 120,000.

But the big deal (to me, at least) is that I've proven myself that I can sit down and crank out the raw material. If I've already thrown out 50,000 words, what's to stop me from doing it again...and again...and again? In my own mind, at least, it's refreshing to know that this project has gone from "something that I've always wanted to do" to "attainable, in-progress goal."

I know a lot of folks don't have the time to accomplish everything that they want to in their spare time. I also realize that "half a novel" is far from a completed work; far be it from me to throw a parade over 50,000 words that I've written, which may or may not be incoherent gobbelty-gook when I go back through and edit.

But by making progress, even slow, steady progress, you have to realize that you'll start to make it closer to a goal that you once thought unfathomable.

Keep on trucking along. Keep piling up those milestones, and compounding them again. Take a few steps every day toward a goal you have in mind.

This has consistently been my mantra through the entire process, and now I'm beginning to see some very tangible results from my steady work. If anything, I'm even more heartened because I've picked up the pace somewhat; I hope to continue that trend as I get further along in the process.

But for now, 50,000 sounds pretty good to me. So forgive me if I take my customary weekend to relax, recharge, and make obnoxiously inappropriate (but hopefully funny) comments about Tom Brady and the Manning Family this Sunday during my Super Bowl party.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Days (of work): 20
Word Count: 50,476
Page Count: 174 1/5

D.J. Gelner covers the Rams beat for, and is an aspiring author.  Follow him on twitter (@djgelner) or facebook (here).  E-mail him at  You can also listen to his podcast (Bottle and Cans) here.


  1. Hi D.J. I found your blog through a comment on Chris G.'s website today. Just wanted to offer my congratulations and encouragement from a random internet stranger. I am blown away by folks who not only take on the challenge of 50,000 words in a month, but ACTUALLY COMPLETE the challenge! You sir are a badass. :) Here is to a great 50,000 more words!

    1. Thanks Jason--much appreciated! We'll see if I'm as enthusiastic when I go back and edit what I have, but at least I have the "clay" to mold into a pot...or plate...or whatever now!


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