5k Words in One Day

5k

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!!!!

Lindsey Richardson

 

 

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Losing NaNoWriMo

losing

Today I’m going to talk about a very real possibility. Instead of telling you about my word count in NaNoWriMo (which unfortunately is still the same), I wanted to talk about the fact that some of us participating this year might lose. It’s a possibility every year, one that sometimes I try to forget, but it’s real nonetheless.

But is there such a thing as losing in NaNoWriMo? Maybe at the end of 30 days you won’t be at 50k, but if you’ve written something I think that’s still a win. NaNoWriMo is all about challenging yourself, and sometimes the challenge gets the best of you. That just means next time you’ll be better prepared. I know a lot of writers right now, like me, who are behind.

It’s the 16th day. I’m only at 10k, so right now I’m looking at the end of the month, realizing I might not be at 50k like I’d want to be. But this month also taught me a lot about myself as a writer and also what I need to do in order to be successful next time. Win or lose, I gained a new book out of this challenge, so I’m happy to be taking that with me.

Failure in writing is one of the hardest challenges. We see it in rejection letters from publishers and agents, criticism (sometimes), and writer’s block. All these things that feel like we’ve failed in some way are real. They challenge us as writers (whether you’re experienced or not). They make you ask the question “Am I going to give up?” And if you can move past the failure and write again the next day, then you know you’re cut out for this line of work. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the passion it’ll drive you unlike anything you’ve ever known.

So yes technically at the end of this month if you’re not at 50k, you’ve lost in the eyes of NaNoWriMo rules. But on the other hand, you might have won something bigger. And I truly believe if at the end of this month you can walk away and start December out with the intentions to keep writing, you’re on the right path. You’ve got this. Maybe this year NaNoWriMo just wasn’t for you. Next year and the years ahead of that all hold possibilities, and every time you try, you have a chance of succeeding.

If you’re behind, don’t worry. Keep on writing. Let’s make the most out of the time we have left this year. You never know, you might end up having a weekend without any plans and end up catching up. (Or accomplishing more than you planned.) Take each day one word at a time.

Lindsey Richardson

P.S. I know I still owe you guys the post about hitting 10k in my NaNoWriMo novel. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten! I’ll be sharing that tomorrow, so be sure to check back in then.

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

nanowrimo_day-2

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo. My current word count: 5, 486. Words left: 44,514. Mood: hopeful.

You know when I write up two blog posts in one day it’s been a productive (and busy!) day. Today is the second day of NaNoWriMo, and I can’t help but feel hopeful. I reached over 5k today in my novel. It’s interesting to watch as people announce their progress because everyone’s at a different place right now. Some people write crazy fast, and I admire that. And then there’s people like me who are more on the slower side. But at the end of the day we’re all working toward the 50k goal, and the great thing with this challenge is it doesn’t matter how you get there.

If you’re feeling down on your progress –believe me we’ve all been there, and I’ll be there at some point this month too. And what I say to that: Don’t be! Be proud of how far you are, whether you’re only a few hundred words in or you’re way past where you ever expected. Progress is progress no matter how small.

Something I’ve been struggling a lot with (and this is always a problem I have when writing) is analyzing my work. My inner editor keeps begging me to go over that last sentence, that last paragraph, the last three chapters. And I have to keep resisting! NaNoWriMo is all about writing that 50k. And I think the best lesson this challenge teaches us is that it doesn’t matter if you write crap. Right now I’m not sure if I’m over the moon with my first few chapters. Honestly I might hate them later on and be wondering “who wrote this?!” But I’m not letting that stop me.

As for some NaNoWriMo necessities to success, here’s what I’ve been using (that helps a lot):

  • coffee (notice how this is always the first bullet point? It’s that important!)
  • “Wordly” –this is a writing app. I’ve talked about it many times before, and I’m going to keep talking about it because it’s amazing. It’s entirely free, and it’s how I keep track of my word count. I set it to remind me about writing at certain times in the day, and it keeps up with my goal of reaching 50k. I used it for Clara and Claire, and now I’m using it with NaNoWriMo. Seriously get this app or something close to it!!
  • Ommwriter –I wish I could suggest Scrivener, but I don’t have it. If anyone wants to gift it to me this Christmas, I’d love you forever! Ommwriter isn’t free (I think it’s $4-5), but basically it’s really cheap for what it offers. Distraction free writing is huge. It’s so important, especially if you’re like me and get distracted by everything.
  • stationary: journal/paper, pen

So it’s not a lot, but that’s what is keeping me on my toes during all of this.

Remember that you determine your own pace. You might not go as fast as someone else, but it’s easy to fall in love with a story. If you have to leave spaces for parts of the story you’re not sure about for right now and move on. Don’t stay stuck in one place. Just keep writing, and remember after this month you can go back and fix it. (Or if you want never look at it again.)

As for me, I’m working outside my comfort zone with this new novel because it’s unlike anything I’ve done before. So it’s both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. But who knows, maybe after this month I’ll share the first chapter or something on Wattpad for a limited time.

Writing is a beautiful thing, and so long as you know where you are and where you’re headed, you’re covered! At this point I’m glad I’m taking on this challenge again because it reminded me how simple writing can be sometimes. To take away the stress of “oh my gosh this is my next releasing title” and just write is a beautiful thing. I had my break from writing for long enough, and now I’m just glad to have a break from “serious” writing to explore into a genre I wouldn’t usually write.

How far are you into NaNoWriMo? Leave your book title and link to your profile below, and I’ll check out your progress!

I’m not sure if I’m done with writing for the day, but I wanted to write up this post just in case. Keep up the writing!

Lindsey Richardson