Every November, thousands of writers from around the world sit down at their computers to pound out a 50,000 word book in a single month. This is called NaNoWriMo for National Novel Writing Month. Many authors successfully produce a complete novel or enough of one that they can finish after the month is over. It seems like an impossible feat to complete an entire book in such a short time span.
There’s another popular writing exercise called Book in a Week. This is exactly what the title implies; authors attempt to write their entire book in one week. Some authors can do it. If you do the math, to complete a 50,000 word book in 7 days would require writing 7,143 words daily. If you stretch the week to include weekends at each end (9 days for Saturday through the following Sunday), an author would need to produce 5,556 words every day. Whew!
My RWA Regency historical chapter the Beau Monde recently started a monthly Book in a Week challenge for its members. The third week of the month, seven days are set aside to write. I registered in May for my first attempt at this program.
We were asked to give a word count goal. I wanted to have a success (positive reinforcement,) and I wanted progress on my manuscript. 4,000 words would be my aim. That would finish off one chapter and get me halfway through the next.
None of the participants chose a word count high enough to start and finish a whole book in one week, although one author did complete her current manuscript. I used BIAW as an incentive to produce.
Each night we e-mailed the co-coordinator our daily word counts, and she entered them in a spreadsheet. We could see how our efforts matched our goal and how the others were doing. Knowing I had to report at the end of the day gave me the necessary kick in the pants to write. No zeroes for me! My totals were:
Sunday was such a low day because it’s Family Day, when I telephone my mother and children. I also wrote my weekly blog post of 452 words. Those words didn’t count because they weren’t in my manuscript. Other words that didn’t count were in the five letters I hand wrote. Yes, I still mail letters. I’ve noticed people continue to check their mailboxes, and they aren’t looking for ads or bills.
Friday I pushed hard in order to reach my goal, and then I got into a writing zone. Another author had had an amazing word count day of 3,240. When she reported it, she noted it was possible only because she’d locked herself in her family’s camper, away from distractions.
Listening to music helps me produce. I typed my 4,000th word for the week while listening to Jonathan Antoine’s “Love Changes Everything” song. As he hit the last note (which lasts for 16 bars,) my fingers went faster and faster. Then I kept going, filled with inspiration. What a way to end the week!
The Beau Monde chapter will be doing another Book in a Week in June. Already I’m looking forward to it. Maybe I’ll even have a new manuscript to start.