How I Wrote 50,000 In Three Days (And You Can Too) by Leif G.S. Notae

Today we are pleased to welcome a special guest to Tuesday Serial.  New Tuesday Serial contributor Leif G.S. Notae has a special gift – writing very quickly.  In our busy lives, many of us have little time for writing and have to squeeze it in between work, doctor’s appointments and the occasional bit of sleep.  Serial writers, especially, have to not only write, but most are on a regular schedule with one (or sometimes more) planned installments each week.  So, in the midst of National Novel Writing Month – “NaNoWriMo”, we thought it perfect timing to have Leif tell us about his two secrets to high wordcounts.  Welcome, Leif!

“How I Wrote 50,000 In Three Days (And You Can Too)” by Leif G.S. Notae

I wrote fifty thousand words in three days. You would think my fingers fell off somewhere in there with bolts of lightning, and smoke trails lingering in the air. I can assure you I am whole and well (save for one sore spacebar thumb, which still throbs a bit while I type this), and can expect another one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand more words before this project is over.

What is my secret? I clearly made a deal with the devil or some other ancient power dipped in madness and traded in my soul for fifty thousand words and a plushie “Prinny” doll. Sorry, I already owned that doll. I’m man enough to own an exploding penguin.

The secret is two-fold; one is an ancient school of thought, and the other is a modern byproduct of years struggling with productivity.

1.    Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings”

2.    A timer

I know. It seems far-fetched a four-hundred-year-old book can assist, but this is where you would be wrong. I won’t bore you with every detail, I would suggest you get a copy and apply the ancient battle techniques to your writing, and you will see a drastic improvement. The most important clause I hold to be the truth is:

“Any man who wants to master the essence of my strategy must research diligently, training morning and evening. Thus can he polish his skill, become free from self, and realize extraordinary ability. He will come to possess miraculous power.”

My strategy was to wake up at 3:30 am after a good night’s rest on November 1st, 2011 and start writing. I woke up at 4:15 am, forty-five minutes behind schedule. I took the day off to test the experiment. I used a simple timer set to twenty-five minutes. When the time was up, I reset the timer to five minutes and stretched (or ate and drank as needed). I repeated this until 12 pm. When I looked at my word count, I was astonished to see I had reached twelve thousand in less than eight hours.

The image above reflects the successful experiment. The following day was ten thousand, and the final day was fifteen thousand. I went to work both days.

I will mention I have no children or wife to tend to, so those odds were in my favor. It is possible to write this fast with some ancient teaching and a timer.



Leif G.S. Notae is a flash fiction, short story, micro-fiction and poetry writer who specializes in serialized fiction and writing fast. If you would like to see his work, please visit his website and follow him on Twitter.  You can also find him as “LeiffyV” on


8 comments for “How I Wrote 50,000 In Three Days (And You Can Too) by Leif G.S. Notae

  1. November 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Congrats on the successful writing experiment, Leif! I bow to you. 🙂

    • November 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you Raine, i am glad you enjoyed the article. I am not saying it should be done all the time, nor am I saying you should do this at all. It is good to know what one can do.

  2. November 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

    "I have no children or wife to tend to—"

    And thus, you have maximized your strategic advantage. Not bad.

    (Gary Oak did 50k in two days though…)

    • November 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      If I had two days off, I would have finished it with time to spare. Sadly, I have a full-time job that requires more of my time. Perhaps one day I can do this as a profession and see where I can go from there. Thanks for reading the article, I appreciate the feedback.

  3. Pazuzu
    November 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Admirable. Now, I'm excited to see the sequel: "Wherein I look back on what I wrote and decide what percent of it was quality writing."

    • November 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      I can honestly say the percentage will be better than last year when I went in without a plan or a script. I scrapped 80% of last years NaNo, I will probably only need to scrap 20% (barring severe edit issues). I had a roadmap, a timer and some time to my hands, I made sure it all counted for the story. Thanks for reading the article, glad to see the interest and feedback.

  4. November 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    This is great… I was searching "how to write 50,000 words in 3 days" because I'm at the NaNoWriMo deadline and haven't even started LOL… I'm going to try this!

  5. June 24, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I love your advice. This is true, using a timer increases one's word count and lets one relax and just write. I have tried the timer with free writing and have succeeded in writing over 700 words in under 15 mins. This is how I write my first person story The Dead Can Run. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.