My 30 Day Novel: Day One Report

"It was 6 hours and 48 minutes into the drive when Sam caught her first glimpse of the ocean."

That's how it starts. It's the first sentence I wrote, this morning, on Day One of this 30 Day Novel Writing Escapade.

Defined as 50,000 words, the novel will be complete by November 30th if I write 1,677 words per day. Today, I achieved 1991 words. It took me about 90 minutes.

Let me just say now, up front, that NO, you can't read it. I shall be handing out no drafts.

I am not expecting that this novel will be good. In fact, it's likely to be terrible in all sorts of ways. I will have dangling plot threads (in addition to dangling participles). I will jump boldly and blindly into plot contradictions. I will dwell dreadfully on minute details (to make my daily word count.) My characters will lack fully developed backgrounds and motivations. I might even change their names halfway through.

The sum total of my advance planning fit into 2 half filled pages of this little notebook (with the generous title "ideas" stamped on the cover).

There are so many reasons to keep our expectations low here, people.

But on the other hand, while it's not likely to be brillant, best-selling stuff, it will be a novel. A real, honest to goodness novel, of respectable length (the approximate length of The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), assuming I make it to the end, with 1677 words under my belt each and every day.

And it's not just a novel. Perhaps much more important, it is a brilliantly awesome exercise in:

saying NO to the inner critic

saying YES to creativity and perseverance

having the courage to do something you've always thought about but never had the gumption to start.

Today, I started. And it felt great.

Stay tuned here for more updates as I dive headlong into the madcap world of literary abandon. Wish me luck!


  1. 1991 words in your novel, PLUS you wrote a blog post!

  2. Laurel, I am so, so excited about this for you! I can't wait to hear the reports along the way--its like you are taking a long hike most of us have never been on--can't wait to hear about the vistas, and the dark corners too. XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  3. Sounds like it will be a great movie!

    So excited for you and the new experiences you are embarking on! I think every time I "went off the path" vs expectations I found the journey always included fun and personal growth and I found my self getting to someplace wonderful. A place I would never have known nor even maybe dreamt of...

    Yeah Laurel!

  4. How exciting! I've always fantasied writing a novel, but finally decided I really had nothing to say! I stick to poetry - but am in a poetry group that is really fun (and helpful!) and even though we aren't very good, we enjoy the creative process and getting together... Your novel project sounds like it will be tapping into some of those same creative places in you, and it's nice to be able to give them expression. I'll be eager to hear about your experience!

  5. Laurel, I like your first sentence. It catches the imagination. Keep going. Dad