The Pulp Speed Transformation

in writing •  9 months ago


NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words in a month. An enormous undertaking for any writer, especially hobbyists and newcomers. But having written at Pulp Speed for the last two months, the NaNo challenge suddenly seems diminished.

In September I wrote about 75000 words. In October I clocked 108000. In the past 4 days, 17000 words. Yesterday, I completed my novel KAGE NO OUJI, with a total word count of 200307 words.

In 2 months, I completed NaNoWriMo 4 times.

I do not write this to boast about what I have done. There are many better and more prolific writers out there. Peter Nealen writes much faster than I do, on the order of 5000 words in 2.5 hours. Dominika Lein has pledged to write 175000 words for NaNoWriMo, which averages to 5833 words a day -- and so far she has exceeded 6000 day after day. Larry Correia starts writing at story at 5000 words a day, and as he gets into his groove, tops off at 10000.

And yet, having passed through the fires of Pulp Speed, I can no longer be the writer I once was.

The Simplification

To meet the demands of Pulp Speed, I reduced my life to the essentials. Work. Writing. Training. Sleep. Eat. Hygiene. Social and business activities where appropriate. That is all.

It is a purity of existence, defined by activities needed to sustain and grow life and relationships, by the stuff I do to pay the bills, and by writing. There is no space and time for activities and beliefs which do not make me stronger, healthier, wealthier, or otherwise help me achieve my goals. I ignore thoughts and beliefs and words that hold me back, and listen only those that spur me on. For entertainment I reserved time only for that which helped me, in some way or other, become a better man: reading high-quality works of fiction and non-fiction, educational videos, inspirational music, the odd game that I can connect to the writer's craft or to the pursuit of self-perfection.

A life free of useless of self-sabotaging activities is a life focused on success. By cutting away everything that pulls you down, and replacing them with everything that builds you up, you can only get better. By eradicating beliefs that limit you, you become limitless. By replacing mindless entertainment with dedicated work, by trading in soul-numbing couch-surfing for purposeful training, by consciously building mind and body and working towards your goals, success becomes inevitable.

The Discipline

Get up and write. Transform break times into writing times. Before bed, write some more.

Every day. Rain or shine, sleepy or refreshed, frustrated or inspired, no matter what, I kept writing. By consistently writing at my worst, I am able to make the most of the moments when I can write at my best.

Stories do not care how you feel. Readers do not care about your mental or emotional state when you are writing. All that matters is whether you are writing or not. If yes, you have skin in the game and you will complete the story if you keep it up. If not, you are not a writer.

Anybody can write when they are feeling on top of the world. But to be a pro, you have to write regardless of how you feel at the moment you touch your fingers to the keys. Once you achieve this, success is inevitable.

The Transcendence

KAGE NO OUJI is without question the best story I have written yet. Within the pages I have filled moments of sorrow and joy, terror and relief, rage and levity... and transcendence.

It is righteous fury married to calm calculations expressed as a whirlwind of primal violence. It is finding the serenity to confront something old beyond time and malicious beyond measure with a serene heart, for an even greater and more powerful being of goodness and truth is behind you. It is the recognition that all creation has conspired to place you in a moment in space-time to do what only you can do. It is the veil dropping from mundane reality, revealing the hidden truths that underpin a glorious cosmos.

I cannot say that I, this ego, wrote these moments. Only that with these mortal fingers I pray I captured on the page a glimpse of something higher and truer and greater than the foibles of mere men in this dewdrop world.

But to get to this point, you must have discipline. You must set up the scenes and characters so they make sense. You must spend the time and energy to build up to the payoff. You must show up and do the work, or you will never reach the summit of your skills.

Without the discipline to manifest it, an inner vision of the transcendence becomes a mere daydream. With the efficiency of a simplified life and the ironclad discipline to put in the work, success becomes inevitable.

The Next Stage

After this story, what next?

Another story, of course. The world waits not for the writer who grows fat and complacent. I have a veritable library of ideas percolating in my head; I need only figure out what to write next. And now, in the full knowledge that I can write a lot and write well, the process of choosing becomes easier.

Should I dedicate myself to it, I can start and finish a series in a single year. I can explore more experimental stories without having to sacrifice writing profitable ones. I can take time off to write shorter stories for practice, for profit, and for pre-series preparation. My career options have expanded dramatically. With prolific output and an ever-growing backlist, commercial success becomes inevitable.

But there is always room to grow. I aim to learn to write faster, to produce new kinds of stories, to try different writing methods for maximum output. I can always be more than who I am now.

On a far shore, a new story beckons. I take up my pen and prepare for the crossing.


Cheah Git San Calligraphy.jpg

If you'd like to check out my fiction, you can find my Dragon Award nominated novel NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS on Amazon, with 45 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Beautiful Post well done



One of the biggest reasons I'm so glad I found out about Steemit, is that being on here has really helped me to foster a daily writing habit. It's such a great motivator when you post your writings and complete strangers on the internet are upvoting it and commenting on it about how much they loved it! One of my biggest struggles as a writer prior to coming to Steemit was keeping up that daily writing habit that is so crucial for us as writers.

It sounds like you already had a pretty successful daily writing habit before you came to Steemit, though! What are some tips you can share on how to keep up with it when you're just really not feeling it?


I'll probably have to do a post about it, but it boils down to this:


I treat writing like a job. The job doesn't care if you don't feel like working; if you want to make money you have to show up and do the work. So it is with writing.

It gets easier if you're already accustomed to doing things when you don't feel like it. Be it showing up at the gym when you don't feel like it, putting in two hours of martial arts training even if you feel sleepy, doing difficult tasks right away... Once you're accustomed to working through discomfort it becomes easier to do what you must.


Thank you so much for that reply. It makes so much sense! I gotta get back to doing my daily morning ritual.

I like the way you write. Thank you for sharing!

If you like to read about travels and circus life please welcome to my friends @annamur



Sounds like you are a prolific writer, that's great! I wrote 103,000 (roughly) words last year during NaNoWriMo and that was with a full time job and having to take care of my two kids. I will do NaNoWriMo again this year, but as I also blog, write on Steemit and still work full time, I am aiming at 50,000 words this year. I just want to finish my novel (which will only be about 50K).


Thanks and good luck!

Wow that really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing. You have a huge level of dedication to the art of writing I hope to one day have a quarter of that! I will resteem this to my followers. This post deserves more upvotes here is mine!


Thanks! It's much appreciated.

Oh man, I wish you could bottle your energy and sell it, and then I'd buy some.

Guess I'll just have to write more, instead.

Seriously, you should run a boot-camp for writers. Shut up and write, maggots!


Thanks! Running a writers' boot camp sounds like an increasingly attractive option these days...

I posted today about how far behind I am. Currently at 17,000 words. I'm not at pulp speed, not even close. But I am steady.

Great post and good luck.


Thanks! The important part is that you're still working at it. Sooner or later, you will get it done, and that's the important part.