Sunday, August 25, 2013

30 Days to Write 50,000 Words

Well, folks, Sunday has come and gone. Of course, for me, this fact simply means that I am one day closer to seeing Terry (I fly out to visit him this week!). In the meantime, here's what I've been up to:

Visiting with friends. I'm realizing how easy it is for me to slip into a routine where I stay home most of the time, hang out with Terry if I want to go somewhere, or just relax on my own. But lately I've been blessed with many invitations to hang out with friends, and it's been wonderful to get out, see some of my favorite people, catch up on their lives. Today I met my friend and former coworker Courtney for brunch in Santa Monica at Cafe Montana. The neighborhood is adorable! I immediately fell in love with the sidewalk cafes, local shops, and tree-lined streets. And our meals were delicious!

I had the eggs Florentine; Courtney went with the huevos rancheros. We loved them both. Plus she tried the bloody mary and I got a glass of champagne. Courtney teaches at the school where I used to teach and starts school this week! Here's hoping for a great year.

I also get to have dinner with a different friend/former coworker tonight, and I'm hanging out with my friend Katie and her sweet baby girl tomorrow during the day.

Soaking up some great workouts. I have been trying to push myself outside of my normal routine this week. Yesterday I threw on a Zumba DVD for 30 minutes, and twice this week I've completed GPP Fitness workouts (<--FREE workouts published! just be aware of your limitations and consult a doctor before making major fitness changes). Today I tried a legs workout from GPP Fitness:

  • Run 1/4 mile (400 m)--I ran at 6.0 mph
  • 30 jumping lunges (the website calls for R + L = 1 rep, but I almost died the first round and switched to 30 total instead)
  • 30 squat to box jump (I used a step)
Repeat as many rounds as possible for 35 minutes. I took SEVERAL rests and was happy to complete five rounds total I tacked on another 400 m run at the end to get to an "even" 1.5 miles. But I was dripping the entire time and definitely felt my heart rate through the roof. For the third round, I even  skipped the jumps and did plain walking lunges + regular squats, and then went back to the jumping for the last two rounds. Despite wanting to pass out a few times, I really liked this workout!

Missing Terry. This one's obvious, but I'm counting down the days until I visit him. Then once I get back, he'll be home just a few days later. I always hate these long trips, but I think I'm getting better at dealing with them. I find creative ways to keep myself busy, and I'm essentially unafraid of being alone in my apartment day and night. When I was young, and even for a few years after college, I was terrified of being alone. But I've grown comfortable with this apartment, and of course I have a very reliable guard cat to watch over the house.

Isn't he ferocious?

Writing a novel. What?! Well, over the summer I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In it, she mentions a novel-writing project started by Chris Baty where thousands of people take on the challenge of writing an entire novel in 30 days. I bought Chris Baty's book, the how-to of undertaking this daunting task, and decided to go for it. 

Despite being an English major and English teacher, I've done very little creative writing (aside from sappy poetry in high school, which my parents thankfully don't tease me about too much now). And honestly, I've never really thought about or wanted to write a novel. But this challenge seems fun and difficult and something new to get my creative juices flowing. So don't be surprised if I start to throw in more flowery language here on the blog.

Note the sarcastic file name.

So, how does it all work? Here are the basics:
  1. Write 50,000 words (about the length of The Great Gatsby) in 30 days. That's 1,667 words per day.
  2. Think quantity over  quality (my inner critic is having a tough time with this one)--even character development and plot don't matter--they will develop as you go.
  3. Tell people about the challenge and push yourself to really do it. Chris Baty provides some funny ideas for how to convince yourself to keep going, such as writing a check to an organization you do NOT support and mailing it if you aren't done on the 30th day. I'm doing a similar "bet" for myself.
  4. Don't tell people the specifics of your story, and don't let others read it. Criticism from others will make you doubt yourself, which will delay the project. 
  5. No editing along the way. When you finish, if it has the potential to be a masterpiece, you can edit and find a publisher. Otherwise it was just a great accomplishment and something you can revisit later. Or throw away.
I started yesterday (3,929 words done!), and I am expecting to finish the day before we leave for Europe, September 22. Here we go!

What have you been up to lately?


  1. Julie I am so proud of you and can't wait to hear about your book experience! I might tailor that for my AVID kids and challenge them to a similar accomplishment! Hope all is well!

  2. I expect lots of murmuring....