How I wrote a 50,000-word novel in 5 days – Part 1 2

My fellow authors and I at the Breaking Amazon Top 100 Writers Retreat which inspired me to write a book in 5 days. I am the one in the front row left in pink. Photo courtesy Kathie Condie.

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series. From June 26-30, I wrote a 50,000-word novel in 5 days. Her Billionaire Bodyguard is now published. You can check it out here. Below is the play-by-play of how I did it.

Friday, June 22

Initially, I just wanted to write a 50,000-word to-market book at my typical 30-day, give-or-take, speed.

I was sitting in a Breaking Amazon Top 100 Writer’s Retreat when I got the epiphany: tweak your book ideas and incorporate them into a to-market series. I’d heard it several times before; this is not a new concept for me. But my mind and heart must have been more receptive than usual thanks to the retreat.

When I returned to the condo where I was staying during the retreat, I brainstormed titles and wrote a synopsis for at least a half-dozen books in this new series. I stayed up until 2 a.m. writing a 7-page outline for the first book. I wondered if, instead of this extra step, I should just write the dang thing.

Saturday, June 23

Back home from the retreat, I decided to make a cover for the first book in my series. I honestly didn’t know if I could pull this off. My attempts are sometimes hit and miss. Wouldn’t this be taking time away from my writing? Should I even try? When I did make the cover, it actually looked pretty good and it hadn’t taken me too long. I left it up on my computer to inspire me and so I could imagine the male MC.

Monday, June 25

I finished Book one’s outline and researched the setting. I’d been there before but I needed additional details. I also looked up the MC’s job.

Tuesday, June 26

My youngest left for a week-long girls camp at 8:30 a.m. The house was quiet. After watering my container plants outside, I got everything I needed for sprinting: laptop, water bottle, calculator, phone and charger. My goal was 5k words towards this new book. I wrote all morning and reached it. I discovered why an outline was a good idea. I could just write each scene and not have to pause to think about the plot. I took a break for lunch, then decided to join sprints in the afternoon and again late at night to see if I could get more. I got 8,623 words total. Ha. Not bad. I went to bed at 12:25 a.m.

Wednesday, June 27

My husband and I normally take turns cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming but I have been baaad. I hadn’t taken my turn in two weeks. Burdened with guilt, after 7:30 a.m. fitness class, I went through the chores like the Tasmanian devil. With a clean house (and conscience), I went into my office and sprinted 8,494 words. On my Facebook page, I predicted, “At this rate, I can finish this book in 7 days.”

Thursday, June 28

10:00 in the morning and already had 4100 words under my belt. My story was getting unruly. I didn’t have a good grip on character motivations and the romance obstacles were getting a little over-the-top. I decided to take a break for a bit, re-outline, then work some more.

In the afternoon, I sprinted with some high sprinters who write 900-1000+ words in 20 minutes. Yowza. I decide, hey, I’ll see if I can do that. And it turned out I could! It’s a revelation, to realize I could physically write this much by a) constantly typing and b) having a scene that I could flesh out for 1000 words in 20 minutes. I could have just sprinted by myself, but the pressure of sprinting against others doubles and triples my productivity. For one thing, I couldn’t slack and navel gaze, add subtract 300 words, waste my time on Facebook, etc.


I reached a milestone today. I wrote the most words I’ve ever written in one day: 12,270. To give you perspective of how that breaks down: during a 20 minute sprint, I can usually produce 500-700 words. So my output today means that I sprinted roughly 20 times, which translates to six hours of white-heat writing.

At first, I wanted to see how much I could write above 8k. And then 9k. And finally, I was so close to 12k so I pushed for that before midnight. Just to see what I am physically and mentally capable of.

That is how I spent most of my day, sprinting from about 8 to 10 in the morning, then again from 2 until 11, with a break for dinner, walking the dog, and helping my hubby with some chores in the yard. My days are usually not as open as they have been the past three days, and all that writing time has been a gift. Our only child home has also been at girls’ camp, and I’m sure the silence in the house has helped. This process of speed-creating has been exhilarating.

I will aim to get more words tomorrow and Saturday morning. I won’t have as open of a schedule, but I will try to seize the momentum. Who knows, maybe I can even finish this book.

Friday, June 29

I went to fitness class 8:30-9:30, showered, then went to work on my manuscript. By 2 pm, I had written 5,217 words. I was itching to do more, but I went to help my mom pack her kitchen for a remodel, and later, helped a neighbor move.

Starting at ten p.m., I wrote another 3,079 words for a day total of 8,296. Which brought my manuscript to 39,358 words of a 50k goal.

I re-outlined again, so that I could figure out how many sprints could produce the chapters I need. That’s about 12 more scenes. Flying by the seat of my pants here. There’s stuff that I hadn’t researched ahead of time so I will need to go back and double-check that.

Will I be able to crank out 10,642 words tomorrow to finish this first draft? Mmm, that would make 50k words in 5 days. Could I do it? Why the heck not?

Saturday, June 30

Halfway through the day, I reached my wordcount goal with 5,216 words. Another personal record broken today — during a 20-minute sprint, I was able to write 1,043 words. Typically, I would get 700, with a bit of hemming and hawing over words. I was sprinting with a couple of other fast sprinters and I could not afford to pause. Nothing like some friendly competition to get the fingers flying. At 43k words, I already reached the ending and could have called the story good. But I really wanted to get 50k.

At 3 p.m., my family headed to Logan, a couple of hours away, to spend the evening with our daughter. We ate out and hiked. By 9 p.m., we were heading home. I wrote about 2k words in the car. We got home at 11:30 p.m. and I still had 5k words to finish. By the time I went to bed, I crossed 50k.

Next: How I wrote a 50,000-word novel in 5 days – Pre-Writing – Part 2

2 thoughts on “How I wrote a 50,000-word novel in 5 days – Part 1

  • Jules Dixon

    Thanks for this series! I set the goal of a 50K in the next 10 days, so I’m a little less ambitious than you, but with your tips I’m on my way. 🙂

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