I had been dicking around with a story for a few months so I decided that to get it down on paper in August. I would write 2,600 words a day for 27 days, that is one day off each week for four weeks. I did keep to the schedule, with a bit of monkeying around, and got 55,000 usable words at the end of the month.
Some reflections on the process:
I would never give myself such a word count in such a timeframe again. This does not mean I wouldn’t do it; I just wouldn’t give it to myself as a goal. The first 2,300 words were not too bad, but that last 300 broke my head more than once.
So I don’t have a secretary or a wife who will happily take my scrawl and enter it into the computer while I write the next lot. Which meant I also had to type up what I did the same day. This turned out to be the hardest part of the day. I needed to rest up my brain, but I couldn’t. On the upside, I got to edit a little as I typed and that mostly improved the work. My handwriting is so awful I couldn’t risk leaving it overnight because likely I wouldn’t be able to read what I’d scratched down.
I didn’t worry about writing well or writing badly. I just got the basic story down. I didn’t polish much at all, as I had no idea what I would keep and what I would consign to the trash. This helped me to keep moving forward with the plot.
Now and again I did do minor changes from previous days work when the story took a shift. When the deviations were huge from what I’d already written I simply made a note to look at it and moved on.
Now it’s done, I’m glad I did it. Here are some things to consider if you ever try it:
Don’t decide to give up your night out for a glass with friends. I did this for two weeks, felt very virtuous, then thought to heck with it, I need that. Life improved and so did my eagerness to write.
Don’t put on the dinner and think you will write just while it’s cooking. I burned a few of perfectly good meals and ended up scrubbing way too many pots doing that.
Don’t look at the dust bunnies as they turn into sheep and gallop across the floor. It only encourages them.
Don’t put off that shower first thing in the morning. Trust me on this. It could days before you remember it again.
Don’t leave the house before you check that you clothes are on properly.
Don’t forget to take a little time to daydream. It helps the characters sort themselves out and makes it easier for you to figure out what devious devils they are.