I wrote this back in November '08 when we did our first 1k-a-day, but since we have a lot of new people join the challenge, I thought I would post it again. Enjoy!
As we all fight our way to the monthly goal, it’s important not only to have the 1,000 a day, 30,000, or 50,000 words in sight but to keep the pace of your story and writing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my writing the past 1k-a-day and the 2nd time is no exception. For all of you who are new to word count challenges, or even just keeping a healthy pace the rest of the year, I thought I would share a few things I’ve found helpful.
- I know it’s hard to do, but try not to focus on your word count. If you just let your fingers fly over the keys, you’ll find your mind will just get into the story. The more focused on the story, and not the words, you’ll be surprised how fast the word count climbs.
- If you’re still having trouble, put on some music. I find headphones are better than speakers because it feels like I’m in my own little world.
- If you must concentrate on word count, I suggest word wars. You can do word wars over email, IM or even Twitter. Find a friend, set a time to start writing and duration. I’ve written amazing amounts of words in a mere 5-10 minutes. You’re forced to just have a word purge.
- Don’t focus on editing. I’m finding this is my main problem this year. Since I started this book when I wasn’t worried about word count, but about each little word, I’ve found it’s been hard to break that habit. It’s resulted in low word counts, but also stiff writing. I never seem to get move, get into the flow. Editing is what next month is for.
- If you have a few extra minutes waiting at the car wash, bank, etc. think about your next scene. Try to write it out in your head, or better yet jot it down in a notepad you keep with you. (You keep a pad of paper and pen handy, right? RIGHT?) I find that if I have pictured my character going through my next scene, when it comes down to writing it I just have to focus on the actual typing NOT what my characters are doing next.
- This might be the most important rule. COMFORT. Comfort not only in what your character do or who they are, but the outcome of you story. You need to feel comfortable with the direction you’re taking your story. There will be bumps in the road, there will be unexpected characters and scenes, but you must feel comfortable with taking those directions. If you don’t feel comfortable with the story, your characters and readers won’t either.
- Comfort again, but this time in your surroundings. Make sure you desk is clean, your seat is adjusted and your fingers/wrists feel comfortable while typing. Sitting in a chair in front of a computer is not healthy. Make sure you get up and take a break at least once an hour. Get a drink, play with a pet, read a chapter of your favorite book! Just make sure you find time to fit them in. Trust me, you will feel more refreshed when you get back and will help your overall word count. By the end of July, you won’t want to sit in your chair for weeks.