A Different Kind of 10K Writing Challenge Gratitude

On December 21st I participated in the #10kWritingChallenge with four other writers and came away with a bit of a surprise that had nothing to do with numbers…

First, though, the project. I’d already begun what I’d thought was novelette, but came to realize was a novella before the 21st arrived. I felt fortunate because that meant I wouldn’t have to switch projects in the middle of the day.

When the 21st arrived I was about a third of the way into the novella, A Truth So Close. I hadn’t set an alarm, knowing my most productive hours happen after noon and especially in the evening because I’m a night owl.

After all, all I had to do was reach 10K before midnight. So, after an awful night’s sleep, I started writing at about 8:20AM. Coffee or no coffee, I wasn’t awake and the numbers reflect that in the beginning:

The low counts later in the day were me taking longer breaks to eat, though I never took an entire hour off all day. I’d set everything aside for the big writing effort. As it turned out, I didn’t have to write late, instead finishing in the early evening.

So, my surprise, which I consider a gift?

When I finished, I leaned back and thought, Wow, I just wrote over 10,000 words. An instant later I shoved that thought aside. Deep inside, I was far more thankful for what writing all day had brought me.

All those words were a worthy accomplishment, but the true gift, which I’d begun with, was the story, the characters, and my having been so caught up in the story that I forgot all else. My back and wrists were telling me I’d worked for eleven hours, but, in truth, if it hadn’t been for physical fatigue I’d have kept going.

Yes, I’d have kept going.

Writing hour after hour had me deeper in the story than I’d ever been before. I was beside sixteen year-old Ammie for eleven hours while she tried to navigate more than any girl her age should have to face.

For the remaining hours that night it was all I could do to stay away from the story. The next day, despite having to catch up on ignored tasks, I still wrote another 3K words. I missed the novella. Today there was a doctor’s appointment, baking, and making homemade apple sauce, yet I’m dying to write.

I went into the day believing it was all about numbers, but it never was. It was about the story. It was about my love for writing. It was about an outlet for my creativity.

For someone who’d long thought it’d be neat to write over 10K words that was a huge shift in my thinking.

When I went to bed that night I didn’t lie there and think, gee, wow, I wrote over ten thousand words. Instead, my mind was racing with thoughts about the plot, about Ammie’s fate. The poor girl was suffering, some of it because of her own incorrect assumptions and unfounded guilt. It didn’t matter. I’d have given anything to give her a hug. In truth, I can. When I finish the story.

So, yes, I’m grateful that I participated in the 10K Writing Challenge, but not for the reason that most would assume. It’s a gift that I’ve been learning over and over again in 2020. It isn’t about numbers, it’s about story. It’s about having the privilege to tap into my imagination and creativity to write tales that matter.


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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2 Responses to A Different Kind of 10K Writing Challenge Gratitude

  1. Kit Dunsmore says:

    How great that this worked so well for you! I love getting lost in my stories.

    • Thanks. Yes, isn’t it the best! I’ve done it before, but this was unique because it was for so long and because there were no distractions. It was literally jarring when I stopped. I looked around me and knew I wasn’t ready to come home, though sometimes I question which place is home. 🙂

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