a day in the life of a writer who writes too much: another 10,000 word day

Right now, I’m currently sprawled in my bed, nursing an orange juice, wishing very much that my dog would stop barking at quite so high a pitch. Hungover? Not quite.

No, yesterday I decided to write 10,000 words in virtually one sitting, and so, today, I can’t remember how to focus my eyeballs.

So, here’s the story:

First off, let me tell you how yesterday began. Yesterday, our home vet was set to visit “before 8 am” (her decision, not ours) in order to administer some worm medicine shots to two of our cats. Preparation for this visit involved cornering the cats and putting them/FLINGING THEM into the laundry room, so we could be sure where they were when the vet arrived, and not spend half an hour trying to drag them out from under the bed.

Anyway. One cat was in the laundry room. My mom was carrying the other cat, and I was holding a plate of wet cat food to set in there with them. The plate was a regular ceramic-or-whatever plate, because we’d run out of the paper plates we normally feed the cats on. That’s important. Because, as I was going down the step into the back room on the way to the laundry room, I … didn’t.

I didn’t go down the step.

This step, my mom and dad built themselves when they remodeled the back room. And, if you don’t know anything about steps, you really shouldn’t build one yourself. Basically, if you make a step even a few millimeters too short, it messes up everyone’s natural stride and leads to a lot of people falling flat on their asses.

Which is exactly what I did. I was barefoot, and kind of slid the bottom of my foot down the sharp edge of the step, and went straight to the ground. My foot HURT, like I’d scraped sandpaper down it and stepped on a Lego simultaneously, but — all I really remember of that moment is that I threw that plate of cat food across the room like a frisbee. For some reason, it took a really long time to fall? It like, gracefully floated down to the ground, where it promptly lost all semblance of grace and smashed into pieces. Cat food was splattered across the room. Miles and miles of cat food and broken plate.

The cat in my mom’s arms panicked, scratched her all over; when she opened the laundry room the other cat escaped and went scrambling across the house — meanwhile I’m completely useless on the floor clutching my foot trying to discern if I’ve broken anything — it was madness.

So, anyway. The long and short of it: the cats got thrown into the laundry room eventually, the vet ALSO TRIPPED ON THE STEP WHEN SHE WAS LEAVING, and I spent the day mostly in bed, with an ice pack on my foot and my leg up on a pillow, with nothing else to do but write.

In that sense, my success at yesterday’s 10k writathon was a total cheat, because I had nothing else to distract myself with.

The write-a-thon itself

So yesterday, GetWordies on twitter hosted a 10kday (and they’ll be doing another writing marathon on April 25th; twelve hours of word sprints!) I’ve done a couple huge writing marathons before (see: Surviving the 10k Writathon and Camp NaNoWriMo: My 8k Day) but yesterday, I was definitely at my most prepared.

The night before, I’d gone through everything I needed to write for my WIP and wrote out a little schedule, a table with columns for Time, Instructions, and Word Count goals. For each hour I tried to set a couple things — a 30 to 45 minute sprint, and then 10 minutes or so of reading, exercising, or snacking time, so I wouldn’t get burnt out thinking I had to write without stopping for twelve hours straight.

I also put at the bottom of my list a number of options for scenes to write about. Like, there was probably 20-30 options on this list, from scenes I need to edit, to new scenes I could write fresh.


For a couple sprints, when I was feeling unmotivated, I went to my list of scenes and devoted a sprint to writing at least one sentence, or one paragraph, for every single scene listed. After that paragraph, I’d jump to the next item of the list and write something for that. My best writing was done during these sprints, because the constant movement kept me awake and made me extra creative and present.

By 9pm, I’d done the impossible. Or, the unexpected:

I was seriously shocked. Dinner was almost ready, and I needed to write 1700 words in one hour to get to my goal before we ate. So, I wrote 2,000. *preens*

Am I going to use every single one of these 10,000 words in my final draft? mmmmmmmmm… probably not. But, I’m going to use a lot of them. Today, I’ve made myself a new schedule just for editing all of this today. I cobbled together quite the skeleton yesterday, screwing … joints together … pushing … teeth into place … (what is this road I’ve gone down???) Anyway; the point of a 10kday isn’t to write 10,000 sparkling perfect golden words. The point is to get something down, so that tomorrow, you’ve got something to work with.

As Jodi Picoult said:


GetWordies is doing another 10k sprint April 25th. I won’t be participating, because that’s the date of the 24 Hour Readathon, but if maybe you can! And, if you try and don’t get anywhere near 10,000 words, don’t feel bad! In the immortal words of one Chuck Wendig:


4 thoughts on “a day in the life of a writer who writes too much: another 10,000 word day

  1. eseals18

    I can’t even imagine a 10kday. I think the most I’ve done is 6k? Maybe? And that took A LOT out of me. I need to keep exercising my writing muscles so I can play with the champs.

    Although I’m sorry to hear about the cat-food-laundry-step episode, it was an entertaining read! I love your figurative language–the Frisbee, the sandpaper and Lego.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 10k days are HARD! I definitely have to do a lot of prep and be in just the right mood. I’ve read some writer’s blogs where they do 10k every day … yeah, I don’t think I could manage that. I’d get burnt out sooooo fast!

      Although I’m sorry to hear about the cat-food-laundry-step episode, it was an entertaining read!

      LOL, thank you! My foot’s perfectly fine today, so I’m totally able to appreciate how ridiculous and hilarious that whole catastrophe was. (CATastrophe, omg. anyway.)

      Thanks for stopping by!!


  2. Liza Barrett

    A 10K day sounds like a brilliant idea. That’s how I normally write, when I’m in the zone. I just crank out the words (at about that pace), but unfortunately I can’t write even short bursts multiple days in a row.

    That was quite the story with the cats — I don’t envy you. Sorry about your foot; hope you’re doing better now!

    ~ Liza @ Classy Cat Books


    1. That’s how I normally write, when I’m in the zone.

      I LOVE that zone. If I stay up super late, I can usually hit that zone in the middle of the night, and write straight through until dawn — but then I turn into a cave creature that sleeps throughout the sunlight hours. IDK if one style of writing is inherently better — writing every day keeps you consistently productive, but writing in those big fevered BURSTS tends to produce more passionate material, since you’re writing because you’re just so in love with your story.

      My foot is much better, thank you! It worked out well for the writathon, being laid up in bed, but I’m in no hurry to go flying down that step again any time soon, no matter how much I need to write!


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