Can you write a book in a week? – Day 5

Okay, folks, we made it. Day 5, and I stuck it out all week long.  Now I realize that book in a week implies 7 days, but I have tix to a show tomorrow (which I’d purchased long before I knew about this challenge), and I NEED A BREAK.

Not whining. I promise. I’ve loved this experience, and as my wonderful stable of blog comment-folk has pointed out, I’ve learned a ton about myself, my writing and, of course, my new novel.

I learned that I can be ridiculously more productive if I make my writing a priority.  That means not cutting into my writing time with time-wasters like the Internet or solitaire (and in the future I plan to schedule my Internet checks for morning, lunch time, and a final check at the end of the day). It also means scheduling chores around my writing week.  Sure, it may feel casual and relaxed to do stuff all week long, but if writing is my full-time job (which it is), then what the heck am I doing paying bills and cleaning and other dreadful crap like that during my weekday work time?

Shifting things around takes a bit of planning and commitment. I learned that people will cooperate with you if they know you have an important goal.  Take note, fellow scribes: if you tell people in your life you aren’t available for 2 weeks for coffee or lunch or that meeting, they will deal with it and LIFE WILL GO ON.  Gotta respect the writing.

I also learned that by giving over a huge chunk of my mental space to my novel, that I became more creative with it. I was able to get into the world I’d written much faster, because I never really left it. Working to keep the worries of the real world at bay is a challenge, but definitely worthwhile.  No sense obsessing about something when you could be writing…and obsessing about it later.

I learned the glories of the dry erase board…flexible and spontaneous plotting!  I learned the true value of fresh air and brisk walks…great for blurry eye re-focusing, great for the joints, great for getting the creative juices rolling.

I also realized that the excitement of this does wear off after a while.  Each day I found I was getting to work just a little bit later. That the plotting problems were getting a little stickier.  That my internal critic was trying to rear her ugly head just a little bit more.  But that’s the beauty of this challenge. I kept telling myself: suck it up – it’s only a few days.  And so I did.

So, can you write a book in a week?  Maybe if you have sold your soul to the devil. Or if you don’t eat or sleep. Or if Redbull is in the mix.  But here’s what I think, at least from my point of view: You can write half a book in a week, and that includes the complete bones of the novel.  I started out with zero words. While I didn’t write every scene leading up to it, I did finish by drafting the book’s final page, which will be important later when I fill in the rest.  My plan is to take just a little bit of a break, and then go to it once again. Another five days on just this project.  By the end of that, I should have a completed first draft. In two weeks? I can definitely live with that.  Then the editing will begin.  But let’s not go there mentally just yet, okay?

In addition to telling my family and friends that I was doing this challenge, I made a point of telling the world! Through this blog, in my email away message, on my facebook, and in various group sites I belong to. I even told my agent.  Why? So I would be accountable.  I couldn’t go quietly into the night without shame…and believe me, there was a point I thought of trying just that.

Today’s word count: 3,459 words
Today’s page count: 14 pages
Overall word count: 25,329 words
Overall page count: 109 pages

So, gentle reader, it’s time for this writer to pack this experiment in. A successful experiment. One that will now, I hope, become part of my regular regimen when I want to devote time to just a novel and to nothing and no one else.  See? I put that thought out there.  I’m accountable to it, right? (Okay, I did slip in the word ‘hope,’ but still.)

Why don’t you try this with your own writing? You can do it. You should do it.

Happy. Satisfied. Book in a Week, baby! (Or, Nearly Half a Book in a Week, baby!)  Woot!

Over and out.

8 thoughts on “Can you write a book in a week? – Day 5

  1. Congratulations! A few months ago, I quit my day job just to finish my novel (I planned and saved for this) and I found that suddenly I had NO discipline at all. I had 24/7 time to write but the first month, I ended up taking 3 hour lunches, going online, etc etc. Then, I woke up and thought: If this was a paying job and I had a boss, I would have lost the job ages ago. So I set up a daily routine with daily goals and I stick to it. I found myself much more productive.

    Congrats again, I am looking forward to hearing about what this novel is about and I’m also waiting to hear about Drawn because that has me very intrigued.

    • Good for you for committing yourself to your work and taking it so seriously! It’s definitely a process. I’ve been through exactly what you have.

      It’s tough being self-disciplined, but that is what it all comes down to, so congrats on taking charge of your writing life. Proud of you!

      And thanks, again, for all the kind words…DRAWN is out in the world right now. Send good thoughts to Manhattan!


  2. Wow, what an accomplishment! And you learned a lot too, which is probably even more important for your future writing.

    What you said about creative space in the mind struck a chord with me. I find that working on my book every day really helps to clear out more mental space for thinking about my writing.

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