How I Wrote 55,000 words in One Month: 3 Simple Rules to Accomplishing Reasonable Goals

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I am finally back to the blogosphere!

Thank you so much for being patient over the last month.  I have a lot to share with you in upcoming months. NaNoWriMo has kept me busy. I managed to complete their November challenge of writing a novel in under a month (at least most of one) and won BIG. The novel is still a work in process and I hope to share it with you after the New Year.

Now, on to the good stuff!

How did I write 55,000 words in less than 31 days?

It wasn’t as hard as you think.

It started with setting some basic ground rules.

Writing your first novel can be headache that doesn’t go away. My focus was taking small steps to relieve the pain of trying to reach such a big goal. The following process is not just for writers. It applies to anyone who is trying to accomplish a reasonable goal.

What is a reasonable goal?

A goal that you believe wholeheartedly you can and will accomplish is considered to be within the boundaries of reason. It is important to make goals realistic and believable. Unrealistic goals are for wishers and small-time daydreamers. Dreaming big requires commitment and hard work. Don’t let anyone fool you.

So, how did I win NaNoWriMo?

It started with three simple rules.


The following rules apply for success in any venture, not just writing, but any project that requires hard work and dedication.

Rule #1: Prioritize

“The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.”

Stephen Pressfield

By setting my priorities straight in October, I was able to finish my goal by the end of November. Actually, I accomplished more than my goal. Priorities do that. Oftentimes, we can accomplish more than we think by sticking to what is important.

It was essential to stop reading blogs, wasting precious time, and procrastinating writing. I woke up eager to put the pen to the pad every morning.

All went well until the second week of writing. Prioritizing turned out to be harder than I thought.

Experienced authors warn NaNoWriMo participants about the second week of writing. Imagination and problem solving stop working. This results in the halt of the writing process. Around day 14 in the contest, I hit a personal wall preventing me from writing my story. The fountain of endless ideas in my head stopped overflowing by day 15. Moreover, trying to connect the beginning of my story with the end of it was harder than I ever imagined. Writing a good plot is hard work.

So what did I do?

Rule #2: Consistency

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

-Oscar Wilde

Consistency is key. My old boss used to constantly remind me of this principle. Being consistent is the secret key to unlocking the success of your project. Between week 2 and week 3, my imagination stopped supplying me with creative content. Consistency was my savior. It is HOW I reached my goal of 55,000 words.

My daily commitment to writing and being consistent was essential to attaining my goal. I worked on my goal every day. Here’s why… one day off, leads to two. You get the picture. It is easy to convince ourselves that we deserve a break. Don’t do it. By preventing the first break in the process, you eliminate the possibility of the others. By forcing myself to sit down and write something, I insured that the writing process would begin that day. Besides, everyone knows starting is the hardest part. The sooner  you start the better.

Rule #3:  Set a word count (goal) and write it down.

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. 
-Albert Einstein

Write your word count on a piece of paper, bathroom mirror, or on the wall. But, write it down! Look at it every day with the belief that you will not fall asleep until you hit your daily mark.

Look at your goal every day. Know that you will accomplish it no matter its problems.

For writers, I do not recommend setting a low word count, rather a manageable one. Setting too high a goal will only frustrate you, killing your motivation, and quite possibly, ending your entire project. Writing should be difficult, but don’t make it harder on yourself than it already is.

Try and enjoy your work. Reward yourself when you reach your daily goal.

As excited as I am with writing 55,000 words in one month, something more important happened in November. I learned that I can set difficult goals and reach them. I learned that it is important to test your passions. By joining NaNoWriMo, I learned that I really love writing. More importantly, I learned that I can write consistently. This was the greatest reward.

It has taught me the strength of my will power and my leadership potential.

NaNoWriMo is a great way to discover if you are passionate about writing. I encourage you join next year and challenge yourself.

Whether you write or not, start setting goals now. Set a goal that you would like to achieve by the New Year. Begin with the end in mind. Try and win.

How can you ever know your true potential if you never test your limits? How do you know if you will like something until you try it?

You might surprise yourself.

I would love to hear about your new goal below.


I am excited to be back in action and writing for PP again. There are more great posts on the way, including a special letter of encouragement I wrote my older brother. It will be more of a personal post, but I wanted to share it with everyone and get some feedback.

Where was I?

I just got back from visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand and had the most wonderful time. I enjoyed it so much that I am going back in two weeks!  If you are visiting or living in Chiang Mai, please feel to leave a comment below and we can meet up for a coffee at Chiang Mai’s brand new coffee bar Ristr8o. Coffee is on me!

About Stephan Stansfield

Stephan is the owner, creator, and editor of Peregrine Poise.
He is currently traveling and teaching around the world. When he is not helping others discover their true potential, he finds time to surf, read, and reflect on the important issues of living a good life.


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