50,000 Words or More

writing book

Once upon a time…

I searched through the course catalog. A Certificate in Creative Writing? I felt my heart blossom just thinking about it. I’d just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and was considering continuing my education in a completely different direction…until I noticed that the classes weren’t always held every semester so I’d need to either fill in with other non-relevant courses or begin paying my student loan while still adding more debt. So, I walked away.

It’s always been a dream of mine to write a book. But I’ve never quite known where to begin. So I haven’t. The thought of writing more than 50,000 words has frozen me in my tracks. I write a blog post several times a week and probably average about 400 words, but more than 100 blog posts put together with a logical and enticing flow?

Despite my fear and doubt, I’m stepping forward. My writing class, Writing 101: Gotta Start Somewhere starts tonight. The course description sealed the deal for me when I signed up last month.

“You want to write, but you have no idea how to begin. Or, you’re not sure what form you’d like to try-fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir. Perhaps you’ve even got a sizzling writing idea, but can’t quite muster up the courage to take a craft workshop. You might even be a highly experienced writer who’s stuck. That’s quite all right: This experiential,
non-critiquing writing workshop is for you.”

It sounds perfect. So why is my heart in my throat? Why am I a bit sick to my stomach? The questions keep flooding my mind. What if I’m not any good? What if I have to share my writing and it sucks compared to other students? What if? What if? What if?

I bought a beautiful journal and some colorful pens just to begin the class on a good note. While I am still afraid to attend, I’m more afraid not to reach out toward a lifelong dream. So, I’m stepping past my fear into a new adventure.

Is there a time in your life where you’ve overcome your fears to realize a dream?

Doreen McGettigan

I had the same fear of my writing not being as good as the others in the class. I am so happy I pushed myself through the door. I was so nervous but ended up making life long friends and critique partners.
I followed my dream and became a published author in 2012 and have a new book coming out this year.
Good luck and best wishes on writing your book.


You don’t know how much your words mean to me, Doreen. Just what I needed. Congratulations on your first book and the next one to come. 🙂


Congratulations on following through on a dream you have. I’m sure everyone in the class has the same fears and worries and that you’ll all be glad you made the step. Writers are almost always a bit skittish about their talents, especially compared to others. Which is the problem. We just need to remember we’re trying to improve our own skills, learn a roadmap to follow as we write through the process, and come from a place of service, ie, that we’re hoping to write something others will enjoy reading. What better gift can you give to the world?

Carol Cassara

Every journey begins with a single step. This is an exciting time and I give you all the credit in the world for wanting to really learn the craft. You will be fine. I taught writing and have been one for decades and can tell you that the biggest thing is to learn to take edits. Once you learn that, it’s all good–nothing at all to be afraid of. You will LOVE it!! I’ll be thinking of you.


I have this saying taped to my refrigerator …… “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ~ Lao Tzu”. Difficult personal circumstances pushed me to make some hard choices about retooling myself for a career after being a stay at home mom for 12 years. It was evident that the best answer was to go to graduate school. I was scared and filled with doubt but I took that first step and cannot now imagine the more compromised life I would have had if I hadn’t. You have taken that first step and you are going to be great. Each step will open another door in front of you and another and another until you find yourself one day announcing your first book. I am looking forward to that day!!!


I’m so excited for you! You will love it. And then you’ll wonder why you were nervous! Speaking from experience here. You go, girl. And share. And enjoy!


I’ve written several books (and yes, I know how pretentious that sounds), and I can tell you that the fear doesn’t go away, no matter how much you write. But I learned to use it to keep me on my toes, turning out the best damn prose I possibly could. Basically, my feeling is that if I’m terrified, it’s for good reason: I don’t want to make an ass of myself. To prevent that, I have to write as well as I possibly can…and just keep learning.

Also: you write a book the same way you eat an elephant. One piece at a time. I will never claim it’s easy, but it’s do-able! And I have enormous faith in you.


Good for you! I want to write a book, but I’ve been stalled. I can quickly bust out a blog post, but the thought of writing a book – 50,000+ words if a bit daunting. Still, I think a class would be a great way to keep you motivated and provide some structure to keep you accountable. Good luck!


Your writing in the blog is so funny and enjoyable, I know you will be engaged in the class, forgetting your fears. Think of all the new friends you will meet to share your love of writing!

Mona AlvaradoFrazier

Yes, my dream was to write novels. It was scary to put thoughts into words. My fear was that of self-judgement and others judging my work. You’ll find that everyone else is nervous too.

After three years with a fantastic writing and critique group that ‘judgey’ feeling is gone. I’ve written three novels, two are completed and need a good home.

Blogging really helped my process and I came to see the posts as my ‘morning pages,’ (Julia Cameron describes this in her book The Artist Way).

Best motivational book for writers: Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. The skill of writing takes many, many hours, just like learning to play an instrument.

You can do this, word by word, sentence by sentence until you fill all the pages you want.


I wanted to write to all of you before I turned in for the night. I had time to grab a quick bite before I headed to class tonight, so I had a chance to check in on all of your comments. Thank you all. Your encouragement and support brought tears to my eyes. You are all amazing. I walked into class with my head held high eager to get to work. All of you gave me the courage and confidence to step forward into my adventure. One of these days I’ll track you all down (maybe at one of the conferences) and give you a big hug. The class was wonderful and filled with such a diverse group of women. Tomorrow I’ll write more. I just wanted you to know how grateful I am. Thank you!!!!!!!!

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