This is not a barn. It’s a farmhouse. It isn’t that I didn’t get pictures of a couple of barns, but I wanted to show that not all of my country pictures are barns. See, I can be flexible.


With the exception of some final editing, I’m ready to submit my 50,000+ word novel. I don’t really have to do that editing because the web site doesn’t do anything but count words. Content isn’t important. I could just as easily put down 50,000 nonsense words and claim credit for completing the challenge. But where would the fun have been in doing that? No, I’m editing the document for myself.

I started the challenge just to see how long I could maintain the pace of writing, on average, 1,667 words per day and maintain a consistent story line. As an aid to doing that, the novel was based in part on things that had happened to me in the past. Of course, there was a lot of theatrical embroidery added. I was surprised at how much those Lifetime movies that Cindy watches have rubbed off on me, and showed up in my writing. That was Lesson 1.

As I started thinking about events and people who showed up in the narrative, I started thinking about other events that I had forgotten. So I threw them in as well to add to the word count. That was Lesson 2, memories can lead to more memories. Of course, some of those memories might be false memories. I’m still not sure about one scene I “remember” of a house fire just down the road from a party that I attended.

All of the names in the novel were changed to protect me, from lawsuits. Lesson 3 was that it is difficult to come up with fake names for people whom you can envision perfectly. I’m not sure how many times I ran a Find and Replace on the document using the real name and the fake name.

I’ve never found it easy to write dialogue in the past, but with this challenge it came easily. Now, I’m not claiming that it is good dialogue, but it is dialogue. Lesson 4 was that if you can remember a person’s cadence when speaking, what they say comes easier. In the past my attempts at dialogue has always been me talking to myself. This gives me a better insight.

Lesson 5 is that I had a lot more story to tell than I thought I did. Part of that goes back to Lesson 2. When it came down to my last week of writing I found myself cutting ideas for chunks of narrative that I had planned on using. I should probably save them for next year. Gosh, I’m already thinking about doing the challenge again next year.

The last lesson that I leaned, Lesson 6, was that inspiration is not always constant. As I told a friend, on some days the words just flowed. On other days it was like removing a deeply embedded splinter with a butter knife. On those other days I could not imagine a person with a full-time job finding the time to write. My hats off to them.