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#FirstDraft60 Day 36 — Timer Tuesday (#1k1h Writing-Sprint Day)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comLast week, we discussed 1k1h writing sprints and how useful they can be in helping us build our word count and our story’s momentum when doing a marathon writing challenge like this. On Tuesdays, the challenge will be scheduling and completing at least one 1k1h writing sprint some time during the day.

Today, I will be doing two 1k1h sprints and will start and end them on Twitter using the #FirstDraft60 hashtag at 3:30 p.m. (Central) and 7:30 p.m. (Central).

I’d love to make these writing sprints (or at least one a week) a “team” effort with as many of you participating as possible. The more support (and accountability) there is, the more successful we’ll all be! But if those times don’t work for you, go ahead and pick the times that work best for you.

1k1h Tips for Success

  1. Let anyone within your household know that you need one uninterrupted hour to try to head off at the pass any interruptions.
  2. Set a timer. This is most important. Don’t do this by just watching the clock. You’ll find yourself only watching the clock and not getting anything written. Setting a timer allows you to forget about the time and concentrate fully on writing.
  3. Prepare yourself before starting your timer. Re-read the last few pages you wrote (without editing/revising!) to get your head back into the story and figure out where you need to pick up. Review your outline and/or character pages in your Story Bible. And then put all of that away so you don’t use those to procrastinate during the hour.
  4. If you listen to music while writing (I recommend instrumental so that you don’t get distracted by the lyrics), have it set up and playing before starting your timer. Use earphones, even if you’re working at home, to block out any sounds that might pull you out of your story.
  5. If you can’t listen to music while writing, I recommend wearing the earphones anyway. People are less likely to interrupt you (at home or working somewhere like a coffee shop) if you have them in/on—and they help block out those distracting sounds.
  6. Make sure your writing space (both physical and mental) is set up and ready to go before you start your timer.
  7. In other words, make sure that about five to ten minutes before you start the 1k1h sprint, you’re in the process of getting ready to write.
  8. Silence or turn off your cell phone (unless you’re using it as your timer—then don’t turn it off). Close your Internet browser. Close Facebook and Twitter (as soon as I give the “start” signal, of course). Close your email program if you use something like Outlook that isn’t web-based. Eliminate all distractions!

Don’t Know How to Start Writing?
If you aren’t sure how to start writing when the hour starts, even after re-reading what you’ve previously written, here are a few suggestions.

  • Which character had the viewpoint in the last scene you wrote? Start with a different character in this scene.
  • Still not sure what to write? Try this prompt:
    Character walked into the room. Character saw a piece of paper tacked to the wall on the other side of the room. Character walked across the room and took the piece of paper down. Character read the piece of paper. The piece of paper said . . .
  • If that prompt doesn’t work, try the exercise of taking your character to the market to buy food.
  • If you can’t think of what the “next” scene is that comes after the one you just left off with in your previous writing session, start writing something you know comes later in the story that you already have a good idea for. Though I recommend writing your story in linear fashion (from beginning to end) instead of jumping around, sometimes you need to write stuff that comes later if you already have a clear idea of the scene in your head, just to make sure you don’t lose it. And that can also help you figure out what comes between what you’ve written so far and that future scene and help you to fill in the gap next time.

Hopefully, I’ll “see” you at 3:30 and 7:30 (Central) this afternoon/evening. If not, don’t forget to check in with your progress and how you do with your own 1k1h sprint(s) today!

For a 75,000-word manuscript, today’s cumulative word-count should be at least 15,000 words.

  1. Tuesday, October 6, 2015 5:17 pm

    Because I had an afternoon appointment that ran long today, I ended up starting my first 1k1h at 4 p.m. And I ended up writing an extra ten minutes, because I was right in the middle of a conversation I didn’t want to lose track of. So in 70 minutes of writing, I completed 2,325 words. Almost the full word-count needed for the day!

    But I’m still going to do another one at 7:30 p.m. (Central) tonight if anyone else wants to join in.


  2. Tuesday, October 6, 2015 8:32 pm

    Well, I ended up cutting my second 1k1h sprint about five minutes short—because I’d reached the end of the chapter and it was as good a stopping point as any. Total words written today: 3,621.

    Will they all survive the “red pen” in the revision process? No way! But if I don’t write, I can’t fix it later.


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