Is it possible? I'm here to tell you that it's most definitely an attainable goal! It is not easy, and it will take a lot of dedication and gumption, but if you really want to hit that word count, it can be done.
Should YOU do a 10k Writing Day?
In case you aren't convinced that a 10k Writing Day is a wise choice, here are some good reasons why it can be super beneficial (and fun to boot!).
- Let's just address the obvious first. It helps you get a LOT of writing done. Yes, when you go back and edit later, you will probably throw some of those words out. That's ok though, it's just part of editing. The main thing is that you actually wrote down those words! Think about it... how long would it normally take you to write 10k? And you'll probably trash a lot of those words too, despite writing a lot slower. I find that it's much more encouraging in the long run to write a lot versus a little.
- It's super motivational. Of course, you'll get tired at the end of this day. But you will feel SO accomplished, and trust me-- despite any exhaustion you might have, you are so excited to keep writing, because you can actually see the story moving right beneath your eyes.
- Writing fast will help you get rid of your inner critic much better. Why? Because you absolutely have to. If you don't chuck your inner critic out the window when you first start your 10k day you won't get much done. But because you are determined to hit 10k... out the inner critic goes! I'm a firm believer of writing the first draft WITHOUT the pressure of your inner critic--I find that the first draft's main objective is to tell the story, and if you get too wrapped up in the details, grammar, editing, harsh critiquing of yourself etc etc, you will have a REALLY hard time doing that. I'm such a believer of this method of writing that I'm actually going to write a post about it soon, so keep an eye out.
I could probably think of more reasons but I'll just stop there.
Are you excited to do a 10k, but aren't sure where to start?
Here are my best tips for a 10k Writing Day... (And I've done lots, so I've had bad days and good days!)
- My favorite motivational tip is sticky notes! I can't tell you how much it encourages me. I take a small sticky note, write 1,000-10,000 on them (each number on a separate note) and stick it to my laptop, my notebook, the wall... wherever it is the most handy. I keep those sticky notes in plain view throughout the day and every time I hit another 1k words I get to rip that sticky note all up! I call it my writerly confetti. lol. If 1k seems like really big steps to you or you're getting discouraged in between those numbers, you can totally do it by 500 word increments too. Whatever you like best.
- Word Sprints and Word Wars! If you're by yourself, a Word Sprint is an excellent way to go. Set a timer, (I like 30, 15, or 10 minutes), push go, and WRITE like a crazy person. It's so much fun to see how much you can fit in... you get better at it the more you do it. Another way to do a Word Sprint is to have a goal in mind, say 1,000 words, and then try to write that many in a 10 or 15 minute time frame. I usually do 10, as 1,000 words to 10 minutes is a good level of challenge for me. If you are doing a 10k day with a friend, though, Word Wars are a blast. What are Word wars? It's a lot like a Word Sprint, except instead of racing the clock you are competing against a friend. You can either choose a time frame and see who can write the most before those minutes are up, or you can set a word count goal, like 1,000 words, and see who hits it first. It's a lot of fun, and it can even be done over texting if your writer friends are long-distance.
- Get up and move. Seriously, sitting for super long stretches isn't good for you. Getting up every half hour to hour is great to get your blood pumping and also to give you a little break. Go run up and down the stairs real quick, take a bathroom stop, do some jumping jacks, or grab another cuppa something yummy to drink.
- And that brings me to snacks/drinks. While I'm a big snacker and I do enjoy it, I've also got to say that TOO much snacking isn't very good. Not only could it be unhealthy if you're eating junk food (chocolate IS a veggie, though, y'all) the biggest problem I've found with snacking is that it can be really distracting when you're trying to write really productively. So, snacks are definitely a must-have, but don't be doing it the whole time... trust me you can go a lot faster without it. lol! That said, part of the fun of a 10k day is being all cozy with a delicious hot drink (or cold, if you prefer) and something to munch on. I find chocolate to be an excellent source of tasty and I also love fruit. (Apparently I can't even English right now... just ignore me haha!)
- Get Comfortable. Not too comfortable to where you fall asleep, but you're in this for the long stretch--a creaky chair at a cramped desk might not be the best spot. I like to actually move where I'm writing throughout the day... I know this doesn't work for everyone, since some people require a specific place to get the creative juices going, but I don't really have one good spot so I'm kind of a nomad about the house with my laptop lol. My top cozy factors? A comfy blanket, some music, and rain, typewriter, or cafe ambiance.
- Don't get distracted! Turn off your social media (or if you're wanting to give updates on your progress, have scheduled times when you get on, with a time limit... trust me on that one, haha!) The day you determine to do 10k will be the day you just HAVE to make a music playlist for your novel, or you drown in the awesomeness of a Pinterest book mood board, or your neighbor's snow shoveling will just seem THE most fascinating thing you have ever seen. (Yes, I am quite familiar with all these scenarios). It's ok to take breaks, of course, but don't let that encroach on your much needed writing time.
- What if I get stuck? Inspiration might start running dry, even if you have an outline that you're following. The words will get stuck and you may at some point feel like questioning your ability to even speak simple English (or whatever language you're writing in). This is natural, but at the same time you don't want to wallow in the sadness of tongue-tie or brain melting. So what do I do when that happens? If I haven't taken a break in a while, I do something else for a few minutes. Otherwise I might change my music, enlarge or decrease the font size, change the font, adjust the font color, or even turn the page color of my document something funky like lavender. I can't really explain why this stuff helps, but it does... you kind of approach the thing with fresh eyes. It's like a reboot. lol.
So, are you super ready to do a 10k day?
I'm hoping to do one again really soon to try to finish up some summer projects. If you want to join in sometime, be sure to follow my page on Facebook for updates on this kind of thing! Button on the side bar. >>
Hope you'll try it out sometime! I'd love to hear in the comments below what your highest word count in a day is. I've done more than 10k but I can't remember how much it was exactly anymore. If you haven't done a 10k-er before, do you think you'd like to?
You all have a lovey day!