I Did It!

For those of you who have missed my many update posts on Twitter (@MSGray53) and Facebook, I finished my 80,000 word writing challenge yesterday. The aim was to write 80,000 words in 80 days and I finished early.

Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a bragging post. I am pleased with myself, but I thought it might be useful to draw out the learning points, some of which may seem a little bizarre:

1)    A writing challenge is motivating.

2)    It is possible to fit the writing of 1,000+ words a day around a busy family life.

3)    The more you focus on your characters the more they with communicate with you.

4)    The more you write about a story the clearer the plot seems to become.

5)    Sometimes you have to write around a story to move forward. Those words may not get included in the final manuscript but they are beneficial for composting ideas.

6)    It is useful to write from different viewpoints. I would thoroughly recommend having a go at these exercises.

  • I had a go at documenting the emotions of both my hero and heroine and how they changed through the novel.
  • I interviewed my main characters to discover more about their motivations and backstory.
  • Sometimes I wrote the same scene from a different character’s perspective.

7)    I may have written 80,000 words, but this is only the beginning. After a short break from this manuscript I will need to dive into new territory for me – editing!

I have to be careful that I don’t become a challenge junkie, as I enjoy first draft writing so much. This time I need to make sure I follow through and finish this novel.

Have you any comments about my learning points or any other gems to share?

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels. http://mortonsgray.com


  1. All very good learning points, Morton. I found similar things when I did NaNo back in 2006, it developed a way of writing for me that I still stick too. i.e. just write and worry about editing later.

    I've got a bit stuck with mine, really because I've had such a break, but I will continue with it once the RNA conference is out of the way. I think I need to do a few of your exercises you've suggested, to get back on track with it. Plus I've got a couple of my own with Writers Bureau assignment number 3 because it makes me think about my novel.

    Again, well done! Great achievement. You can now tell people you've finished your first draft of your first novel 😉


  2. Congratulations, Morton on finishing a huge challenge – 80k is no mean feat, and to finish early too! Well done! Thanks for sharing what you've learnt from the experience.


  3. Thank you all. Feeling a little strange today. Catching up with all my correspondence and bills. Off to RNA conference on Saturday. Wish I'd booked earlier now before all the accommodation was booked out.

    I now have a competition going on in my head between the main characters of two other wips – they all want to be written! Lol help!


  4. Congratulations! 80,000 words – such an achievement. Good luck with the editing and have fun at the conference, I wish I was coming to share in the fun x


  5. Congratulations, Morton! I wondered how much of the plot you had planned before you started writing. I found I spent too long wondering how to continue. And then I went away for a week and haven't written since….


  6. Thank you everyone.

    Miriam I had a first chapter and a concept but nothing plotted out. When I got to about 50,000 words I began to see how the plot would fit together and after doing the emotional walk throughs with main characters it bacame even clearer. Don't wonder just keeep writing would be my tip. Mx


  7. Happy finishing! You learned some great things, I've always found challenges like this instructional. And motivational. To learn that I can do something of this magnitude I think is the best thing. My ego loves it ^_^


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: