Over this glorious four-day weekend, I decided to try my long-awaited 50k/24hr challenge. That means writing 50,000 words in 24 timed, not necessarily consecutive, hours. I can type 119 wpm accurately, and I can write 700 to 800 words of fiction in a 15 minute sprint; that means, with an average of 3k an hour, it would only take me 17 hours, not 24, to finish the challenge. Simple, right? For me, the test would be endurance, not speed.

I started the weekend with 13,644 on my NaNoWriMo novel (yes, being so far behind is nothing new for me). I intended to write on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, then all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I even had the entire story outlined, something I rarely do, something that would really help in speed-writing. It was going to be easy.

It wasn’t easy. I didn’t write on Wednesday or Thursday. I doubled my wordcount and crossed 25k on the story’s total on Friday. On Saturday, I struggled to reach the halfway point of 8.5 timed hours, 25k new words as of that weekend. Sunday saw me write an hour before the burn-out was complete and I threw my hands in the air. My writing had deteriorated from “not bad for how fast I’m going!” to “still revisable without a total rewrite!” to “man, this is total junk.”

I resolved to just hit 50k on the story, rather than 50k written over the weekend, and even that didn’t happen. I stopped trying to force it, and I stopped writing. I kept thinking about my novel, chewing over the next scenes, getting myself accustomed to the idea of forging on. But I didn’t start writing again.

I didn’t expect to fail this challenge, not when a dozen other 50k/weekend writers were zipping into the 250k range for their month’s total and making 50k on the weekend on the second day. But my brain is not wired to work with this kind of singlemindedness (yes, I’m ADD), and I haven’t built up the conscious discipline that’s needed to keep myself on track. I tried, and I couldn’t do it. I failed.

And that’s okay.

I still tried, and starting was hard enough to be a victory in and of itself. I still got over 40k on my NaNoWriMo novel, making it a cinch to finish over today and tomorrow, before November ends. I stopped, acknowledging my own limits, before I could be so burnt-out that I never wanted to see my novel again, and before I could write so much junk that I’d have to excise entire chapters to get rid of the dross.

So, I failed, and I’m alright with that. It was a good run, I didn’t go completely crazy, and I made a lot of worthwhile progress on my novel. I don’t regret the attempt, and I’m not beating myself up for not crossing the finish line with arms upraised in triumph. It’s okay.

Enough about me. How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

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