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As I write this I am still exhausted, and this feat of which I speak too place a good week (maybe over) ago… and that’s just one reason as to why you might not want to attempt what I just did. I wrote around 120,000 words in just over five days; a full novel draft.
I did it because, like most writers, my main skill is procrastination, and because I’m probably a secret masochist, but mostly I did it because I wanted to prove I could (mirror, mirror on the walls, who has the biggest balls of them all? Me.).
As it says in the title, I would not recommend you do this, but if you want to, here’s how it did it;
You will need:
A writing device – laptop, notepad, typewriter (which I want so bad; this one in particular, isn’t it pretty?.. no, just me?)
Time – it’s really important that you actually set aside the days to write because if you want to hit that target you wont have time to do much else.
Provisions – get yourself snacks and food that doesn’t need preparation, or prepare food in advance, and for God’s sake make some of it healthy. This is advice given in hindsight after three pounds of weight gain and a general feeling of shitty-ness after this ordeal.
Fuel – by this I mean water and caffeine because HOO-BOY you will not be sleeping much if you want to hit this target. I stocked up on this coffee and this energy juice, but I would recommend picking one because my heart was breaking the sound barrier mid-challenge.
A nest – make yourself a comfy-ass nest, crawl in there and write. Just do it. Don’t look at it, don’t edit, just go.
How to do it…
The honest truth is it’s different for everyone, but what I found worked for me was a reward system; for every five thousand words I wrote I got to read a chapter of the book I’m on. It was a really good way to let my brain de-stress and relax. I had to hit over twenty-thousand words a day to get it done, too, so when I got to my halfway point I took an hours nap.
The hardest thing to do was to sleep; I was so preoccupied with getting the word count done that the first two days I overshot my goal, but I literally did not sleep. And you can imagine how that fucked with the rest of my plan. You see, I had intended to do the draft in four days, but on the third I slept for twelve hours and had to play catch up.
Set a bed-time and a wake up call, and stick to them.
This means you’ll need to work out a sustainable pace, but you need to sleep, and you need to drink water, so aim for two litres (half a gallon) of water a day MINIMUM.
Write. Write, write, write until your fingers ache and your eyes water and you want to cry or maybe die or maybe kill. That’s mainly how you write over 100,000 words in five days.
…and why you probably shouldn’t
Firstly, that shit was BAD for me. It hurt, and by the end of day five I couldn’t even celebrate because I just wanted to curl up and sleep forever. I made myself ill, and that’s not what writing is about.
Secondly, much more of what I wrote will go to the scrap-heap than might usually if I had taken my time. I haven’t begun editing yet, but I reckon when I print it off I’ll cut a solid third to half of what I produced. So really I only wrote 60,000 words, and most of that will be re-written.
Finally, this article is the first thing I have written since then. I write every day, and I type at a solid 120 words per minute on a good day, but it’s been over a week since I wrote, and this article has taken me all day. I’ve sickened myself with the whole concept of writing.
This was like a juice diet for writing; it got results, but most of it will be undone pretty quickly. Plus the experience was almost pure arse-opening terror interspersed with nausea and finger cramps.
Just do it the regular way, guys.