How to Write 50,000 Words in 24 Hours

For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo! People take a personal challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

Family abandonment too….

However, some decide to ramp that up and try to write it in 24 hours. And I thought, why not? Gave it a try, and a carpel tunnel diagnosis later, I succeeded!

BLynchBooks asked me for tips, and what started out as a quick message turned into a TL;DR post. So I figured I would post it on my blog too!

Proof I Did It

Some of you know I go on Reddit a lot. They are a cynical bunch, not that I blame them, but I knew the veracity of my claim would come into question. Thus, I tweeted the whole thing, AND I made the novel available for people to read and watch if they wanted to see my progress on Yarny.

Although it says I started at 9pm on Twitter. Time zone thing I guess…

Why I Did It

I get this question a lot.

  • I wanted to raise money for Nanowrimo! What better way to get people’s attention about the fundraiser?
  • Job is slower this time of year so I am able to take some time off. Best to do this now because I may never get a chance to attempt this.
  • I wrote a post about Quantity Produces Quality which I totally believe. I don’t think anyone read it.
  • This is my 7th year. I wanted a different challenge for Nanowrimo.
  • Last year, I burned out. I had too many things on the go. My family BOOKS things in November, how dare they! *laugh* So this year, I got that writing part out of the way.
  • This year is crazier than last yer. I do two daily webcomics (NaNoToons and Debs&Errol) and I’m doing NaNoWriMo: The Musical. And I have a Con to perform at and afterwards two gigs in one day (of course on the night of the overnighter)! PEOPLE BOOK ME during November. WHY??
  • I wanted to write two different things too. I wanted to do a Terraria Fan fic, and I wanted to do a collab with a friend.

How I Did It


  • Try to get some sleep ahead of time. I tried that. I really did. I failed, but I did try.
  • Be very sure that your hands are ergonomically proper. If you don’t, they will KILL you before the 24 hours is up. Mine were starting to fade about… 4 hours before it ended!

    The pic on the left is bad! Naughty, Naughty, Wrist!
  • Take breaks. Take naps. Don’t try and write for 24 hours straight. At 5am, if you check on twitter, I took a nap with 15k. I couldn’t stay awake and got up at 8. I also had to pick up my girls from school. And I also had to cook them supper because they’re spoiled. Those breaks were very welcome.


  • Don’t edit. This you should know during Nano.
  • Choose a platform to write on that won’t give you problems. For me, I chose Yarny because it was there. I had a few snags. But it showed me the word count per chapter, and word count for the whole novel in one glance. I didn’t have to worry about other clutter


Trying to finish 50k in 24 hours should be motivation enough, however:

  • Each chapter I wrote was about 1.2 – 2k. Those were small goals. They were nice goals to keep me motivated.
  • People on twitter were encouraging me. I would post on twitter every 5k and get a lot of great responses.
  • People on chat were encouraging me and didn’t try to slow me down. They were with me all the way, I kept the chat window open and they would talk about my progress to see how I’m doing. It was great to see them interested and supportive! Huzzah Toronto Nano! 😀


This may be the hardest part. What do you write about? What if you get writer’s block? What if you are filled with so much doubt that you freeze? Thing is, you can’t do that. 😀 So you will have to start training yourself to produce content. 🙂

  • Outlines help! Outlines help a lot so you don’t have to think about it! Even though I didn’t outline, I did write a fanfic so that the world was already there pre-built for me to work from!
  • Write what is easy and comfortable. For me, that’s dialogue. I am awful at descriptions, but I can do dialogue without thinking.
  • Have two ‘separate’ storylines! In my story, there was a prologue which was part of a flashback. I think I used that for four chapters, so that I could switch gears mentally. Of course the two stories tied together eventually, but I was expecting that. Also, one chapter was written from the perspective of a cow like creature. So… whatever works.
  • No idea is stupid. If it doesn’t work out, just abandon it but don’t delete it. Or heck, just keep using it! That creature I mentioned was put into the story for no reason. I just did. I hoped to use it later, but I didn’t. It was just a background thing for the characters to interact with and it did NOTHING plotwise. However, there was another situation where a character did something, and I just thought “Why? Who knows? Let him do that”. And then it became a major plot point near the end. So keep all your ideas!
  • Throw away your filters. 🙂

What do I mean? Well, I believe, creativity can be practiced.

Currently, I’m in an improv duo, as well as a geek, comedy music band. I practice being creative all the time. Of course there are other mitigating factors, but practice is important! It is like a discipline. You can practice brainstorming. Constantly do creative things! It helps a lot.

Does it work? Well, I don’t get writer’s block. Everything inspires me to write. I have no filters in place.

I’m not trying to brag, because quite frankly, filters are in place to stop crap from coming out. I’m not saying anything I produce is any good! *laugh* But that’s what editing is for.

So STOP your filters! All my creative partners have filters in place, and they are usually worried about what other people think, or whether or not what they do is stupid, etc.

The great thing about writing, is no one has to read it. So remove those filters and self doubt (if you experience that).

Practice creativity.


One Last Thing

Some have reacted negatively to this. I’m used to that! I’ve been a geek all my life, a lot of things I’ve done was always looked down upon. 😀

But you know what? Nanowrimo is a personal challenge, and completing anything, I believe, is awesome. Totally awesome. When I first heard about this challenge, I thought it was the best idea ever, and I immediately joined. When I heard that people got 50k in a day, or a million in a month, I thought “That’s crazy! Crazy impressive! I could never do a million in a month!”

But never did I once believe what other people accomplished ever diminished my accomplishments. 😀 I loved every minute of Nanowrimo!

In the end, no one cares I wrote 50k in a month, or 50k in a day. My family is sick of me doing Nanowrimo every month for that matter! *laugh* But it’s something I enjoy doing, and will continue to do. I set a challenge for myself because I like to.

Is my novel any good? Ugh no, although I am shocked some people read it. Will I ever be able to do a million? No. I barely survived the 50k. However, I do not need to minimize others accomplishments! They do not make my lesser accomplishments ‘unworthy’.

Do Nanowrimo for yourself. Do it to benefit you and your craft. If you can, then that’s great! The hardest part of a lot of creative challenges is starting them.

Then the next hardest is finishing. Finish what you started. 😀

28 Replies to “How to Write 50,000 Words in 24 Hours”

  1. Hey Errol! 🙂

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been behind on my word count, a little each day, and I have been struggling through NaNoWriMo. Your 50k words has greatly inspired me to perservere through this November and your tips have been a wonderful help! Thanks again!


    P.S. Congrats!
    P.P.S. I really like you nanotoons!! 😀

    1. Huzzah! I am SO glad it does. I know that for some it can be quite discouraging, but I WANT it to be encouraging for people!

      And I’m glad you like the nanotoons! You have a great nano!

  2. WOW ERROL!!!
    You never cease to amaze me XD
    And your nanotoons are awesome 🙂
    Congrats 😀

  3. Wow. Wow. Wow.
    I hereby challenge you to do 50,000 a day for the month of November! But really, don’t strain yourself! 😀

    1. Laugh! Didn’t you see the why part of it? I have no time to write this month. 🙂 although, it would be fu. To one month try a million, but I think I would die after the 2nd day…

  4. Wow, you are amazing (and crazy for tackling something so big!). You inspire me to continue with my own challenging goal of 75k this month (I think that’s as daring as I’m willing to go).
    Also, just wanted to add that I love your NanoToons. 🙂

  5. Errol: So glad you have overcome those put-down’s. As you observed, we do receive lots of them, how well I know. Last night at midnight I finished writing for the day and just to pick up my spirits I looked at your cartoon and also the musical. It is so good. I love all your voices and the story is great. It’s my routine after writing. Even though I’ve seen it two days in a row I still get a laugh and lift from watching. Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s musical and cartoon. Got to tell you, you are a lifter of many people’s spirits. Keep it up and keep having fun while you dance and sing through life, you’re worth it.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Ann! 😀 I am SOOO pleased you enjoy the musical and the cartoons. We make them because we want people to have as much fun as possible during Nanowrimo! Nanowrimo has been crazy fun for me, ever since I started long ago, and I just can’t help be a fanboy for it because of that. 😀

      Take care, and hope your novel is going well!

    1. Never say never! You never know! Although, I did say I never could do the million in a month. But hey… maybe if I didn’t have a job for a month… and nothing else pressing… and I could speak the novel…

  6. Oh wow, so amazing! Maybe one year I’ll try the same thing. But for now my goal is to finish this month! This is my third attempt, and I’ve actually got support from my best friend now, so I think I can do it. I’ve got him waiting for an update each night, so it really motivates me to pull my lazy self out of bed and write.

    Not that he pressures me. It’s just all in my mind. He’s a really great support. 😀

    So yeah, great job! And nanotoons are the best.

    1. And support is the best! 😀 I know it would have been a lot difficult if I didn’t have that.

      Good luck with Nano this month! 😀

  7. Hi, I can’t believe you managed that! Congratulations! I’m aiming for 35000 words by the end of the month (young writer) and I don’t think I’ll be able to manage that. I’m seriously in awe of you right now. I really love your nanotoons by the way. 😀

    1. *laugh* Thanks! And there are a LOT of young writers in our region! I hope you have a lot of support. I know it’s difficult to write a lot of words when school, homework and chores get in the way though, so I hope you find time! Take care and good luck on your novel!

  8. You are amazing!

    I totally blame you for the fact that now I have Terraria sitting on my computer, waiting for me to get a bit (I haven’t decided how much exactly) beyond today’s required word count to start playing it.

    I was procrastinating on my own NaNo by reading your fic, and that was enough to get me intrigued about the Terraria game (I’ve played Minecraft and enjoyed it, but hadn’t really gotten into the Terraria stuff at all). So I go and check out some Terraria videos on YouTube and have them playing in the background as I’m writing, and the next thing I know I’ve decided to go onto Steam and buy myself a copy of Terraria. I know better than to click the very tempting “Play” button until I’ve built myself a word count cushion, so at least I’ve got excellent motivation to write some more words now.

    And speaking of motivation to write more words, the NaNo musical also helped me catch up from behind, as I wouldn’t let myself watch the second episode until I was caught up with my word count (loved the episode, by the way!). So I suppose in addition to blaming you for getting me to buy a game, I should also be thanking you for providing good motivators 😉

    (PS – Thank you for the tips, too! You are amazing!)

    1. *laugh* oh no! I didn’t mean to make you buy it! I hope you like it! 🙂 I played it way too much, I won’t say how many hours I have logged…

      And I am so glad I helped you get your word count! Huzzah!

  9. Suddenly my 5,000 word count days don’t seem so impressive 🙁 But I press on. This year I want the “Winner’s Circle”. I have come close but failed in the past, and this year I want it!

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