In Which I Am Challenged *THREE* Times

If you follow me on Twitter, perhaps you've heard the news. If not, please pardon me while I gloat my tail off:


Allow me to explain.


So I had an excellent Thursday. I like Thursdays. Good things happen to me on Thursdays. So I'd just had another happy Thursday, and it was midnight, and I was hanging out on Twitter, going "la-la-la, today was awesome," when I realized something.

My Thursday was SO awesome that there was no way Friday could live up to it. It was bound to be a terrible day in comparison, by default! (I have never claimed to be a rational thinker.)

Well. I was not about to lose my Friday.

I decided the only way Friday could possibly top Thursday was if I made another significant jump on my NaNoWriMo word count. Enter Kiersten White. Here's how it went down:

Me: I am happy, happy, happy. No idea how tomorrow will top today. A crazy-huge NaNo word jump? How many words should I aim for?

Ten MILLION. And I would relish each and every one of them.

Me: Okay, that is not a REAL NUMBER.

K: Ten million is too a real number! Fine. Three thousand? But I'd prefer ten million.

Me: 3k? I am better than that number. Try again.

K: WOOT. In one night? Hello Confidence Woman! I like you! My record is 9k in one day. Beat that?

Me: Dudelio, last November I did 10k: http://tinyurl.com/yj3xfew (But we're talking about ALL DAY FRIDAY, not just tonight.)

K: In that case, I want 15k and not a word less! Some days I daydream about how much I could do with one day and no kids...

Me: Should I go for a repeat?

K: No, beat it! At least 13k.

Me: Split the difference? 14k? (CANNOT BELIEVE I AM SAYING THAT.)

K: YES! 14k! 14k!! You can do it!!! Thus the increasing exclamation marks!!!!

Me: IT'S ON!! I hereby accept the Kiersten White Challenge '09. Fourteen thousand words in the next 23 hours and 15 minutes.

And that is how I stupidly agreed to write fourteen thousand words in one day. In a public forum. Thus increasing the embarrassment factor were I to fail. Which was very, very possible.


With fifteen minutes to spare on Friday night, I hit the fourteen thousand word mark. And the amazing thing? They were GOOD words. Like, full sentences and scenes and such!

A few nice people have asked, "How did you do it?"

Er . . . I'm not sure. It feels a bit like a Christmas Miracle. Or like when you put the quarter in the gumball machine, and you get the cool blue gumball (and not the crummy white one). But these things certainly helped:

(A) The public humiliation factor. Not a big fan of it.

(B) I work much better with an impossible deadline. Not pretty, but true.

Amazing friends cheering me on (via Twitter, of course).

I ate full meals to keep up my energy and got a full night's rest. (I sleep at an odd time of day, but yes, I got in eight hours.)

During my waking hours, I aimed for a thousand words per fifty minutes. That way, I could add together my extra ten-minute chunks and use them for stretching and eating and showering. And Twittering, of course.

I just wrote. Whatever scene I thought of, that was the one that came out. Which meant (as Kiersten pointed out later) that of course it was the fun stuff — the kissing and the fighting! It's easier to write fourteen thousand FUN words.

I listened to the Glee soundtrack nonstop. (EMBARRASSING.)

So . . . yeah. I did it. I DID IT!

[And now Amber Lough is making me seal-shaped gingerbread cookies as a prize!
At least, I hope that was not a cheap ploy. Because cookies are the best.]


Can you guess what my problem was the next day? But of course. How could SATURDAY live up to FRIDAY?

I am lame.

And I needed a new challenge.

Re-enter Kiersten White. I'll spare you the Twitter conversation — because half of it took place over email — but it ended with me saying this: DEAL! I hereby accept @kierstenwhite’s NEW CHALLENGE: A complete NaNo draft by this Wednesday at 2:42 AM. (25k down, 25k to go)

Um, yeah.

I agreed to finish this draft early — thirteen days early. My stupidity knows no bounds. So, you know, that's what I'm working on. How about you?

By the way: I LOVE YOU, KIERSTEN!!!

If we were both not already married, and if I didn't have a house filled with Celebrity Boyfriends, I would totally ask you to marry me. We'd live on a remote island with lots and lots of books and a great internet connection, and we'd raise squirrel monkeys as children, until they got to that feces-throwing stage, and then we'd kick them out of our treehouse and get NEW squirrel monkey children. And we'd watch Penelope and Pride and Prejudice, like, every day.

Us, having just ditched a batch of poop-flinging monkey children.


But these were not my only challenges this weekend. Oh no! You'd think with writing fourteen thousand words in a day and agreeing to write twenty-five thousand more in the next four days would be enough.

BUT NO. The challenge gods refused to leave me be.

In my last post, I shared three magical videos with you. Two were funny (I hope), and the third was THE GREATEST VIDEO EVER, EVER, EVER CREATED EVER IN THE HISTORY OF TIME EVER. In case you missed it, here it is again:

That would be HBM Extraordinaire Jim Sturgess and . . . kissing.

I thought the ladies and gents who read my blog and just-so-happen to enjoy a little HBM (Hot British Men) in their lives would be happy, and that would be that.


Mr. Benjamin James Watson, formerly known as "Sir Ben," has been stripped of his title due to THIS offensive statement on his blog, later that same day:

"Stephanie is, admittedly, the HBM Connoisseur and Writer of Good Words [YES, I AM] but apparently expert on best video of all time she is not [LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE].

I am throwing down the children's book blog gauntlet right now. Certainly if ever such a GREATEST VIDEO EVER (etc, etc) existed it would have two components. FIRSTLY, it would have a timelessness to it (sorry Sturgey) and SECONDLY, it would have Christopher Walken in it. And THIRD, wait there was no third, THIRD, it would be THIS video. Which unfortunately I'm afraid you'll just have to click on through the link because the embedding feature has been disabled."

Now. To give The Writer Formerly Known As Sir Ben credit, he did link to an awesome video. It's Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," directed by one of my all-time favorites, Spike Jonze. If you haven't watched it, you should, and I won't say why, because it would spoil the fun.



I'm sorry, Ben-Who-Is-No-Longer-Sir-Ben. Given the choice between Christopher Walken dancing and Jim Sturgess kissing, well . . . IT'S NOT A CHOICE.

Click! I am watching the Jim Sturgess video.

Click! I just hit "replay."

Click! Replay. AGAIN.

So here is my request, friends. To anyone reading this who happens to prefer:

(A) Hot British Men

Hello! I am so dreamy and well-dressed.

and (B) Hot Steamy Kissing

They're practically EATING each other, you guys.

over Christopher Walken dancing, please (politely, kindly, etc) copy and paste the following message into the comments section of this post:

Dear Mr. Watson,

Walken is cool, but Sturgess is HOT. Here's another vote for:


And if you'd rather watch Christopher Walken dance, that's okay. Just don't tell Ben.

Happy third-week-of-November, everyone!


  1. Hi Stephanie!! LOVE the video --- it was made by one of our members, Lucia/Frattaglia from Italy. You might really enjoy joining our forum at Jim Sturgess Online. We share your, a'hem, obsession with Jim's kissing among other things. AND we just scored an exclusive interview with Jim where he answered lots of questions about his upcoming projects. Hope you'll check us out: http://jimsturgessonline.com

  2. Stephanie, WOW! You are my hero! I've never, ever, ever, never, ever written that many words in one day...other than emails and blogs. LOL Good Job-Best of luck finishing early!! :)

  3. Wow that is so freaking fantastic! You rock! Also...I could watch the Jim all day everyday-I had to hide my Across the Universe soundtrack the obsession was so bad. (le sigh)

  4. Okay. Wow. My writing goal for the day, (and I have all day free) was 4,000 words. I now feel like a chump. Must do more. (Who needs a clean house anyway?) You have totally inspired me!

    Congrats on 14,000 in one day! And good luck with the next 25,000! I'm at 23,000 right now. Not sure I could do 27,000 in 4 days!

  5. I looked at your NaNo stats this weekend and almost fell out of my chair. I have much catching up to do! Congrats! There will be many good vibes sent out for you to make your next goal!

  6. What about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vNk4K3YaIc

    It's Christopher Walken + Childrens Lit.

  7. As long as I don't have to potty train squirrel monkeys, I am on board for our alternate universe.

    But maybe we could bring a couple of the HBMs, too...or at least let them visit. And clean up after the monkeys.

    Also, I so completely do not deserve this much credit. It is not due to anything on my part that you are COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY MADE OF AWESOME.

    Seriously. I am so proud of you! And will continue to be so! And crap, I've really got to get writing, too...


  8. You are crazy, but the kind of crazy I absolutely love to death. You can do it—I don't doubt that at all.

    And of COURSE the Jim Sturgess video is better. No contest.

  9. It was not a ploy. But here's another prize: if you reach 50K on time, as Kiersten suggested, you will not only get seal-shaped gingerbread cookies, but a WHOLE ARTIC SET. Yes, ladies and dancing men, Steph will receive at least one of each of the following: a seal, an igloo, an eskimo, a polar bear, and an antarctic penguin (b/c they aren't exactly "arctic").

    And I will seal it in a tin/box with twine and address it to you with a quill and inkwell.

    (Of course, you won't get the cookies until I reach 25k b/c I'm not baking until I make it that far.)

  10. 14000?!? OhmyGOD congratulations! That's awesome! Go having friends who push you to the limits!

  11. FOURTEEN thousand words? In one day???

    Whoa. You are officially a goddess. No mere mortal could do that! And anyone capable of such a feat can certainly finish NaNo by Wednesday!

  12. If I wasn't crazy about you (and your writing) I'm pretty sure I would hate you after this last stunt. 14,000? One day. You suck!

    P.S. Can't wait to read the words.

  13. Fourteen... thousand?! Wow. Could you please write a follow-up post explaining how you were able to successfully clone yourself, then rope the clones into helping you type all that out?

    PS, if listening to the Glee soundtrack is embarrassing, then I must be the most embarrassed kid in town. It rules!

  14. Well, I must say. I am a little jealous.

    You see, you ADULT people can just sit down and take on weird (but ambitious, *applause*) Twitter challenges and LIVE UP TO IT. I'm just an innocent child! In school! What teenager should have to spend high school sitting in a desk writing stories in their heads and waiting to come home and write it so the character's conversations will stop crashing around in their heads???

    Me, I guess. I sound somewhat schizophrenic in the last paragraph. Or perhaps, high. Hallucinating. I swear I'm not.

    But anyways. I guess it's ME that agreed to do that crazy, writing stuff. Honestly, who would spend their lives writing stuff and having unexplained hallucinations and hear voices in their head day after day?

    I will.

    You guys will, too. Applaud us crazy writers!!

    Wait. I forgot the point of this comment.

    Oh yeah. Nice job on fourteen thousand words! I wrote fourteen thousand words in, like, fourteen days. Maybe fifteen.

    Yay, Steph! By the way, thanks for sending me my first NaNo email :)

  15. Wow. That's a lot of words by Wednesday, but I bet you can do it. Thanks for being you :)

  16. You rock in triplicate, quadruplicate, 14-licate! I'm amazed! Good on ya! While Christopher Walken's vid is cool, how can he compete with an HBM?

  17. I am so inspired by your progress. Thank you for sharing your writing ups and downs with us! I think it is so important to be a part of a writing community and you have helped to create that online! Writing can be isolating, but I never feel alone when you are your writing buddies are blogging and tweeting! xo!

  18. OMG STEPH!!! You're AMAZING! You are SO going to make your goals, I know it!

    In fact, I think I will have to get that mint chocolate chip ice cream out! Although... I am sorely tempted to eat it out of the carton.

    And who says dreamy, well dressed men aren't timeless? You of all people should know that they are!

  19. WOWZA, girl!!! And I thought my 7500 words during a single day was good! 14,000 makes me speechless!!!! Absolutely amazing. Congrats!

  20. I would've been significantly more worked up about the fact that you implied that Glee is embarrassing (WHAT?) if you hadn't brought in the lovely and talented Jim Sturgess a the last minute-- good call on that one.

    And, I mean, congratulations on your insane/wonderful volume of writing, haha!

  21. Congratulations on your word count. And I totally hear you about the whole white/blue gumball thing. The colored ones taste way better.

  22. I think you must be some sort of supernatural writer. I can't even wrap my brain around 14,000 words in a day and a novel in half a month! Please tell me you don't have children, or I'm about to be super depressed. You are seriously awesome!

  23. Wow. I happily bowed out of NaNo. You're a writing machine!

  24. Totally vote for Jim- he's way hotter than Walken (Walken gives me heebie jeebies).

  25. Dear Mr. Watson,

    Walken is cool, but Sturgess is HOT. Here's another vote for:


    psst. Congrats on your goal and successfully completing it! I'm so impressed. :]