Something absolutely incredible happened last night: I reached 10,000 words on the novel that I’m currently working on. It might not seem like a huge deal and I still have a long way to go – and it’s just my first draft! – but I couldn’t be more proud.
If you read my previous writing post, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling to pass 2,000 words on any of the projects I’ve been working on, so after a big writing kick on Sunday with the help of some of my lovely friends on Twitter (extra big thanks to Sally!), I pushed past the 2K barrier and wrote 3,500 words in a single day. I don’t think that’s ever happened before!
There were a few things that contributed to this, which I’ve decided to call my Writing Recipe!
One: An OUTLINE!
I’ve always had a rough idea of plot, but never taken the time to sit down and actually write a step-by-step plot outline, with character details and a basic idea of what the final scene will look like. Now that I’ve got one it’s so easy to see the direction I’m heading in and my character arcs. I wish I’d started outlining sooner!
Two: Determination and Motivation
I had to give myself a serious pep talk by telling myself that I CAN DO THIS. It’s okay wanting to write, but wanting and actually doing are two entirely different things when you’re facing a blank word document.
I’m constantly setting myself new targets and working with my project, rather than fighting against it. I know I can’t write 3,000 words every day, but I can still try to write as much as I possibly can. Being prepared to rework targets is always a good skill to have when it comes to writing!
Three: Write in short bursts
I’ve been setting myself challenges of writing for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, which seems to have worked. This has worked best when I’m beginning a new chapter or scene so that I can initially splurge all the words down, but as I progress through a scene I try to spend more time on crafting the scene in my head to try to follow a general direction. I’ve tried to work in bursts of half an hours but I spend too much time procrastinating when I do this. All the baby steps add up!
Four: Writing partners!
On Sunday morning, my friend Sally and I started a hashtag on Twitter called #SundayWritealong where we held writing sprints and it was so much fun to work with other people – having other people as motivators can really help because you can feel as if you’re working towards something more… and my competitive streak comes out too!
Five: I really, really, really love this project.
I initially wrote a list of everything I wanted to include in a novel and tried to incorporate all of them into this project… which has meant that I basically get to write all day about books!
I’m also super in love with my characters, especially two of my secondary characters who are lots of fun to write. I’m especially looking forward to the parts later on when I can mess them up and set them against each other. Mwahahaha! 😉
I’m researching as I go along, but research for this project is especially fun because it has meant actually going to the settings and getting to walk around, seeing the places as my characters would. I’ll have a few more blog posts on this coming up in the next few weeks!
I’m planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo in July, which I am incredibly excited for. I’m aiming to write 35,000 words during the month as I’d like to finish my first draft by the end of the summer, but it would be nice to reach the full target of 50,000 – just to see if I can do it! I’ve never won NaNoWriMo before so it will be a challenge but I am ready to BRING IT.
Emma15 June, 2016 at 11:25 am
These things help so much. I personally really love outlining. I commonly go overboard with it thought, and make my story boring to me before I even start writing. It really does help to know what you love about novels so you can be sure to incorporate those parts into what you are writing.
Kyra Morris15 June, 2016 at 10:36 pm
EEK congrats, Lucy! It’s the best feeling when your word count reaches a high number! *_* I have a novel that I haven’t worked on since the end of last year but this has really motivate me to try to work on it again. Thanks and best of luck with this writing project!<3
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Jesse Owen22 June, 2016 at 9:50 pm
Congratulations Lucy, 10,000 words is a huge number of words (I usually stop somewhere around the 1,000 word mark) and these look like really good tips. Especially like the one researching, getting to visit the places you are going to write about must be so inspiring! 🙂
Jess9 July, 2016 at 3:23 pm
This is sooo helpful! Thank you so much for your advice. I’ve written about 2,500 words of my current project, but I really need to write an outline, because at the mo it’s all kind of messy in my head. Congratulations on reaching 10,000 words!!! That’s incredible!! Good luck with it – I hope it gets published so we can all read it!! Hehe
Ellen20 July, 2016 at 10:26 am
Great tips!! And I’ll keep an eye on your #SundayWritealong as well 🙂