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#FirstDraft60 |
To coincide with the 2016 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo/NaNo), a new round of #FirstDraft60 started on October 2, 2016—you can catch up with each day’s posts below. And at the very bottom of the page, there’s a link to last year’s posts, if you want to see what else we’ll be digging into this year—though there will be some changes, too! Hope you’ll stick around and participate!


Inspired in part by the book Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt and in part by my own personal need to get back into writing, I created the #FirstDraft60 challenge in order to challenge myself to plan and write a complete first draft of a manuscript in 60 days.

FirstDraft60 Schedule
30 Days of Prep Work
Days 1–5
Prep work. Figuring out what project you’re going to work on in the next 60 days and doing some advanced prep work before digging in.

Days 6–12
Digging in with your characters to get to know as much as possible about them before you start writing.

Days 13–18
Reviewing tips for draft/marathon writing, and planning goals and for meeting/overcoming obstacles and challenges. Use this week to catch up on/continue working on your character development from last week.

Days 19–25
After solidifying your premise and brainstorming plot points, you’ll write an outline of your story to help keep you on track as you write next month. Writing one-sentence and one-paragraph summaries will help focus you on your main plot as well as your story’s tone and theme(s). Plus we’ll look at your setting and determine what research you need to do before you start writing.

Days 26–30
Determine how you will organize your draft, state your goals and determine how you will approach the challenge, and review everything you’ve done throughout these 30 days, update your guides/notebooks, and write down any new ideas that come to you.

30 Days of Writing
In order to complete a 55–75,000-word first draft, you’ll need to average 1,667–2,500 words per day for the next 30 days. Obviously, I know not everyone is going to be working toward the same goal; NaNo has you work on a goal of 50,000; some of you may want to shoot for a 30–35,000-word novella; or, like me, you may have already started writing something and need to finish it and aren’t sure how many words you need, which means a daily goal will be more important than an arbitrary total goal.

Whatever your overall word-count goal is, divide that by 30 to see what your daily word count should average to meet it. (You can write it in on the printable calendar PDF, linked below.)

Each day during November, in addition to writing, we will have a specific focus here on the blog:

Sunday Reflections: Reflection with guided questions.

Monday Motivation: I’ll share some motivational words to get us geared up and ready for the week to come.

Timer Tuesday: On Tuesdays, you’ll be challenged to do at least one 1k1h writing challenge.

Wednesday Work Files Update: Schedule a quick review of your story bible, revision notebook, and style guide to see if you need to update them.

THORsday: Thursdays, we’ll challenge ourselves to Timed, Handwritten, Offline, and Remote writing. (Further explanation to come when it’s time to write.)

Friday SWAT Day: It’s time to brag on yourself. Check in with your Self-evaluation, Word count, Awesome accomplishments, and Tidbits to share from the past week.

Saturday Catch-Up: Saturdays give us time to figure out if we need to do any catch up with our word count, or if we need to readjust our goals for the next week.

Printable 2016 FirstDraft60 Calendar
(PDF, will open in a new tab)

The Complete 2015 FirstDraft60 Challenge Guide

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