30 Day No Sleep Challenge

I thought that would be a catchy headline. Don’t try that at home kids. You will actually die.

dead animated GIF

I might get some sleep. Every now and again. But I have set myself the task of writing a novella in a month. Well, almost a month. I need to leave at least four days for my editor (read: mother) to remove the worst of the bullshit.

This is all in service of getting a submission in before a deadline. Who opens novella submissions for only a month? Does everyone else just have novellas lying around?

So, I want 30 000 words. I currently have 8084. It is the eighth. According to my calculations, this means I am screwed.

It would work out fine if I had thirty days. Even I, with my dismal maths skills, can calculate that 30 x 1000 = 30 000. But now I have to subtract 4 from that. So that makes 26. Then I have to subtract at least another 4, because I’m going to the Franschoek Literary Fest and will not have a laptop.

(I could potentially handwrite a thousand words a day, but it’s going to be very tricky with other people around. Added to the fact that I will be writing up notes for Artbeat articles in the evenings, and it appears I’ll be lucky to fit in 200 words a day.)

So that leaves me with 22 days. So that means…

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To the calculator!

(30000 – 8084) / (22 -8) = oh, that’s not so bad after all. And really, it should be (22-7), because I haven’t started writing today.


(30 000 – 8084 )/ (22-7) = Doable.

1461 words per day. I can handle that. Plus, I get more done on weekends.

I mean, there is still the matter of university to worry about. A certain media studies essay is inching towards me, a deformed horseman of the apocalypse with the smiling face of my lecturer. And there are those others things, what are they called, oh yeah, exams.


But it is not impossible. And maybe I’ll be done at 27000 words or something. I feel slightly more cheered. Thanks Maths!

This morning, I read some nonsense about famous author’s word counts per day. http://writerswrite.co.za/the-daily-word-counts-of-39-famous-authors-1

Most of them are fine. I believe all the authors who said they write 3000 words a day (I might not believe that they truly do that every day), but two authors claimed that they wrote 10 000 words a day.

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Michael Crichton and R. F. Delderfield, you do not write 10 000 words a day. If you did, you would write the average book in just over a week and an unpublishable epic in just over two. Even if you factor in rewriting and editing, your output does not demonstrate this level of insanity. I mean, you wrote a lot of books, no lies, but not enough to justify that number. Stop lying. You are making the gullible feel bad.

As you are both dead, I’m not sure why I am addressing you directly.

The most I have written in a single day IN MY LIFE is about 7000 words. This is not a sustainable rate.  Also, at some point, most of those words dissolved into drivel.

Still… If I wrote 10 000 words a day, I’d be finished by Monday.

dead animated GIF


2 thoughts on “30 Day No Sleep Challenge

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