Yesterday, I wrote about 8,000 words. (MY MIND IS STILL BOGGLED, OKAY?) I started around 10:30 in the morning with word sprints on Twitter, and throughout the day I kept sprinting — in ten, twenty, sometimes thirty minute bursts — and watched my word count soar. By around 11:30pm, I was absolutely exhausted, and had just broken 8k. It wasn’t just the glut of new words, though, that I accomplished. I made connections between scenes and characters that I hadn’t expected; the plot fell together so quickly, and that’s because I was spending time on it, getting immersed in it; words kept flying out because I was just in my story. Nothing else mattered yesterday.
The keys to my successful 8K day were so simple, and in retrospect, obvious:
- I took advantage of the NaNoWordSprints twitter AND engaged in many, many independent wordsprints with new friends on Twitter.
- I did all my writing in this app WriteRoom, which is a black full screen with green text; no distractions, just words.
- No editing, no backspacing. Just keep the fingers moving and the self-doubt at a minimum.
- I worked off an outline and had a good idea with every word sprint what scene I wanted to write.
I can’t stress how important word sprints are. Even if you don’t do them over Twitter with other people, the act of breaking your writing time into small, manageable increments where you force yourself to type and stamp down the self-destructive mutterings of your Inner Editor does wonders for stimulating creativity. Not everything that I wrote yesterday is going to make it into the final draft unedited, but a lot of it will. Even in a ten minute word sprint, you might be clunky and grammatically awkward for a few minutes, but after that initial stretch of your muscles (and once the panic of the ticking timer sets in) a lot of good, usable stuff comes out. Decisions for how to pace a certain scene, or where to put certain dialogue; little character moments I wouldn’t have taken the time to think of; snatches of dialogue that actually sound pretty perfect.
Today I wrote 2,900 words, but I wasn’t feeling half as motivated and excited yesterday. Part of that is because I didn’t participate in a single word sprint. The other reason is because I wrote 8,000 words yesterday and am so tired okay?? I had high hopes that today I’d be as crazily productive, but DANG. You don’t run a marathon on Monday and then go for a ten mile run on Tuesday! Your brain needs time to relax!
I think I’ll rest tonight and try for another big day tomorrow. Maybe not 8K big, but maybe 5k? That would be so nice…