Today I set a goal for myself: 5k words. All in one day. And just now I completed that goal. It’s a small goal in the grand scheme of things. But after reading a post about writing 10k in a day yesterday I felt inspired. I pursued my goal, and I’m ending my writing session today feeling satisfied. There was a time, about half way through, where I thought about stopping. That I wasn’t going to make it to 5k today, and I could always get to it tomorrow.
But that’s not how goals are reached! Don’t put it off for tomorrow. Do it today.
As promised, I wanted to talk about my writing today. Because for those of you who follow along with my writing, my usual goal is 1k a day. It’s a reasonable goal, and it’s usually one on a good day (without writer’s block) I can reach. But today I reached for 5k, and here’s why.
I started a new book today. I’m not going to reveal the title until December, but this new book has me excited. A lot of new ideas are stirring around in my head, and there’s still a lot more that I’m working out. But with the first draft it’s okay to not focus on everything at once. At least for me, sometimes I just figure out things as I go.
Someone on Instagram had mentioned they listened to The Crown soundtrack while writing. The Crown as in the Netflix show that if you’re not watching yet, go watch it! It’s an amazing show. But in all seriousness, I had forgotten what an impact soundtracks can have. I decided to listen to the soundtrack for the first time today, and I found one song (“Duck shoot”) that I placed on repeat for the entire time I wrote today. Maybe it was because I had seen the scene with this particular song in the show, but this song was so powerful today. It was just what I needed, and it honestly worked perfectly with everything I was writing today.
In total today I wrote for 4 hours and reached 5,105 words. Mind you the four hours were split up into smaller sections. The first hour or so I did this morning, and then the remainder of the time I did this evening (since hubby is at work).
So let’s talk about how you can reach 5k. Whether that be today, tomorrow, or next month. Set a date that you have free time to just focus solely on your writing. Make a small retreat out of it if you have to. Have a writing buddy join you. But here’s the most important things you’ll need to succeed:
- Announce your intended goal –This is why social media is so great to have. Announce your goal is 5k today, and then have your friends and family hold you responsible for reaching it. Maybe check in now and then to update your progress. But just one simple announcement does the trick. It holds you responsible for reaching that goal.
- Coffee –Or some other beverage to help you stay energized. Unless you’re one of those writers who gets 5k done fast, you might need a few hours to do this. Or you might need the whole day. But don’t lose hope! Drink your coffee, make another cup of tea, and keep on writing.
- Break your goal into smaller sections –Hit 1k? Great, take a break! And continue this when you feel yourself getting distracted or feeling at a loss of words. 5k in a day can feel like a lot, and you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Staying focused doesn’t mean driving yourself insane. Take some time to cuddle with your cat, eat a snack, and then get back to work.
- Keep track of your time and word count –Again, I’m going to suggest the app “Wordly” if you don’t already have it. There’s other apps similar to it, but this is the only app I’ve ever used for my word count. I’ve been using it since the first draft of Clara and Claire and haven’t stopped since. It helps you stay accountable for the time you’re spending on your writing and who much you get done after each writing session. This also really helps with breaking up your sessions when you need to take a break. Just jot down when you stop and how many words you’re at, and then pick back up when you start again.
- Music –music isn’t for everyone. The majority of the time I write in complete silence. But sometimes music (or some kind of inspiration) can really help you get into the mood. For me today it was The Crown soundtrack. Other times I’ve listened to rain and thunder soundtracks (because I’m weird like that). Find what works for you. Maybe listen to music during your breaks to get re-energized.
- Other preparations –Notebooks, pen, post-its… Whatever you need for those moments when you have a “aha!” moment and need to write it down fast for later. Characters, dialog ideas, plot twists… anything relating to your book that you can’t write into it right now, write it down and save it for later
- Write like you mean it! –This seems obvious, but seriously just write your heart out. Whether you’re writing on paper or typing, try not to think about grammar or sentence structure or plot holes. Just get the ideas out of your head and onto paper.
The worst thing you can do when you set a goal like this for yourself is get stuck in your head. And I’m guilty of doing this all the time. What if this is complete crap? Why isn’t this chapter longer? How can I make this scene more interesting? What if this book never sells? Why did I start writing in the first place? No, no, no. Get out of your head, and just go with your gut. I honestly feel like that works the best, especially when you’re just trying to get something written.
When you’re trying to get a book written, don’t worry about everything at the end for it to be ready for publication. Just focus on the here and now. You’d be surprised by how much you can accomplish.
I realize this has been a longer than usual post, so if you’ve made it this far I hope this post can help you with your future writing adventures. I was so overwhelmed with hitting that 5k marker tonight I’m eager to see what I can get done tomorrow. For now that’s all, and by the way…
4 more days until Clara and Claire release!!!!