How I Wrote 12,000 Words in Six Days

I have just finished running the Writing Week Retreat with my fellow writer, editor and coach, Isobelle (of Inspired Creative Co.), and it was wonderful. We had some fantastic writers join us from around the world, and overall, the final word count for the week was over 50,000 words between us. That’s an amazing achievement for six days! Let’s talk about how we did it.

1 – Community

For me, there is nothing as powerful as community support when it comes to writing. I thrive when surrounded by writers, whether in real life or virtually, and I have witnessed the impact on others, too. During the retreat, we had two hour-long writing sprints a day. Having that dedicated time meant we could focus on our words with others.

Your Task: Find your community. 

2 – Goals

My goal at the start of every hour-long writing sprint was to write as much as I knew I could – 1000 words in one hour. I know that I can write this because this is my creative data (if you’re not sure what I mean, check this blog post out!), and so I pushed myself to achieve this goal. This meant that my 12000 word achievement was my goal all along, and I am delighted to have made it!

Your task: Discover your creative data and set realistic goals. 

3 – Plans

I’m a dedicated plotter, but during the retreat, I tried something completely different. I had an idea of where I wanted my story to go, and I discussed it with others, but overall I allowed myself to be a discovery writer. This means that the characters took me where they wanted to go, and out of that came a story I absolutely love. While it does differ from my original idea, I am loving the new tale, and the process is exciting and really fun.

Your task: Don’t be too rigid in terms of plans, allow yourself to discover too!

4 – Vision

To help visualise my finished book, I played with title ideas and covers on Canva. The mocked-up image is below! This sort of thing really helps when it comes to picturing the finished novel, which helps motivate me to create and write more.

Your task: Give your work in progress a title and a cover. It doesn’t have to be final.

5 – Craft 

Despite having spent eight years in higher education learning the craft of Creative Writing, there is always more to learn. That’s why one of my values is education! During the retreat, Isobelle and I ran classes on everything from character arcs to raising the stakes, and our focus on that craft element helped tighten up my prose.

Your task: Don’t be afraid to improve your craft and take a class. 

Are you looking for community, creativity, and craft advice? Well, stay tuned. We have more planned and can’t wait to share it with you.

If you still need to grab your copy of the Story Development Workbook (unfortunately, we have had issues with Etsy on their end!), it is now available. Click here to learn more because this workbook is jam-packed with help, and you don’t want to miss it!

Coaching Productivity

How Understanding Your Creative Data Can Lead to Literary Success

Before we move onto how it can help us reach literary success, what is Creative Data? You may not know, and that’s okay because it can mean different things to different people.

I developed this idea after learning the concept of ‘data over emotion’ when it comes to marketing. This means paying attention to what is working for your audience, as opposed to posting based on emotion and moment. I thought that this was interesting and wondered what the writing equivalent would be. So, Creative Data, after some analysis, was developed.

Creative Data can be broken down into the following elements:

1) When you feel you are at your most creative.
2) How much you can write during a typical hour on a typical day. 

Armed with this information, you are able to make a decision based on data over emotion. For example, when we say ‘I don’t have the time to write,’ this is often an emotional response to feeling busy and overwhelmed. This is perfectly valid too, by the way, and if this is the case, it might be that you need some rest. But, if you want to get some writing done, Creative Data can help. It enables us to look at our diaries and calendars and say, ‘Okay, I do have the time to write, and I can see that I can get around 1000 words down on Wednesday.’

So, how can understanding our Creative Data lead us to literary success? 

Great question. Knowing that we are most productive at a particular time of day is the first step to moving forward with a routine that works for us. If we add this to understanding how much we can write in one hour, we are left with information that can really help us move forward with our novels.

During National Novel Writing Month (November), the name of the game is to prioritise our novels for one month. That’s fantastic, and a lot of people get a lot written during that time. But in an average month, it can be a recipe for burnout to push for 50,000 words during those four weeks. That’s why Creative Data can help both plotters, pantsers and plantsers! Here’s an example of my Creative Data:

1) I write best in the morning, after a cup of coffee when the house is quiet.
2) I can write around 2,000 words in one hour.
3) I know I have a tendency to be distracted by the internet, so I set a stopwatch while I’m writing to keep me on track. 

Armed with this knowledge, I am able to look at my week objectively. Because I time block, I can slot in an hour two/three times a week for writing, and I know that this will yield around 4,000-6000 words. Therefore, I can set realistic writing deadlines that I can stick to, leading me to literary success.

So, what is your Creative Data?

Looking for a similar read? Check out the Productivity page of my blog posts! There’s lots to see.