tootsiepopRemember those commercials, “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

Of course you do. You’re just that old.

Other than being a brilliant use of alliteration, rhythm, and outrageous trademark repetition, the old Tootsie Pop ad justified all the silly questions in our lives. It didn’t matter that the old owl only took three licks and bit into the lollipop (Don’t try THAT at home. You’ll break a tooth. Really.) We could investigate ourselves to find the answer to this timeless question, simultaneously wrapping our happy tongues around pure sugar satisfaction.

So what if we’re suckers.

My question today: how many hours does it take to write 10,000 words? And not 10,000 words of gibberish. Real words. Real dialogue. Real story.

See, I was way behind on NaNoWriMo. As in, well, 10,000 words behind. And I had this marvelous day where my parents had been here and just left. So my house was CLEAN! And I’d killed myself catching up on my work before they arrived. And I’d played LOTS with the kids.

I had no guilt. And no chores. And best of all, no kids! (Off with dad.)

And so I set a goal that was rather obscene. 10,000 words in a day. It seemed pie-in-the-sky, unrealistic. I figured I’d fatigue around 3K, the most I’d ever written in one sitting before.

But I knew I could punch out a thousand per hour. I also knew it was like saying you can type 100 words a minute. Sure, maybe for one minute. Or even five. If pushing, maybe fifteen. But could you sustain this level for a long haul?

The answer: yes.

Caveats: I had an outline. A good one. And on Friday, I found a change of direction in voice that I felt crazy passionate about, the sort of outrageous exuberance that leads to lofty goals. I just didn’t have time to implement it.

Until today.

So yes, I wrote 10,042 words today. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo and you’re behind, take heart. It can be done.

But now my fingers hurt and I’m hungry. And my butt may be permanently shaped like my chair.

I think I deserve a Tootsie Pop. How many licks will it take to get to the center of chewy chocolatey goodness?

The world may never know.

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