Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Write-a-Thon **NEWS** and Tips

by Annette Lyon

Are you ready for Thursday evening?

You know what I'm talking about, right? The big Precision Editing Group Write-a-Thon!

You know the basics:
  • Write for FOUR hours between 4:00 pm and midnight, Thursday, April 8, MDT.
  • Enter your start time and beginning word count (if applicable) on the post that will be up then, titled, "The Write-a-Thon Starts Now!"
  • Track your 4-hour block (set a timer if you need to so you don't go over).
  • Come back and post your finishing time and your total words written during the 4 hours.

PRIZES: So here's the fun part!
  • The person who writes the MOST words will receive a $50 gift certificate to OR a 50-page content edit from Precision Editing Group.
  • One participant (selected at random) will receive a $30 gift certificate to
To encourage as many people as possible to participate, we've added a third prize, courtesy Pendragon's Bookbinding, who hand-sew blank journals. (Check out their website HERE. Their work really is a nearly lost art.)

One participant, again chosen at random, will win BOTH a copy of my There, They're Their: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd AND a hand-bound blank journal from Pendragon's Bookbinding . . . IF . . .

Yes, there's a catch: The journal (a writer's best friend, no?) and my grammar guide will be awarded ONLY if all participants' word counts written during the 4-hour marathon add up to more than 100,000 words.

That means in order for anyone to win a third prize, we need lots of participants!

So spread the word far and wide on your blog, via Twitter, and Facebook! Let's get as many people doing this as we can so someone can win prize #3!

Write-a-Thon TIPS:
I've done a few all-day writing marathons (8-10 hours each), and here are a few things I've learned that can make the time more productive than if you sit down and plunk your fingers on the keyboard cold:
  • Think ahead, very specifically, to what you'll be writing. Consider going so far as writing a list of scenes you know are coming. A few key words or a sentence that will trigger your memory is plenty.
  • Make your scene list 50% longer than you think it needs to be. This helps in two ways: not only will you have plenty to work with and not run out of material at 3.5 hours, but if you end up stuck on one scene, you can easily abandon it and jump to another one--without losing valuable time trying to work through a block.
  • Have snacks and water nearby. You may think you won't need them, but four hours can (actually, WILL) result in brain fry and low blood sugar. Small snacks like cut-up apples, a little container of raisins, something with protein like nuts, or (because who are we kidding) some chocolate can help you keep writing . . . and prevent you from getting up to check the pantry.
  • Plan on tiny breaks, then take them, but make them brief. Yes, technically you may lose 5 minutes here and there if you get up to walk around. But I've found that simply pacing the house for a few minutes is enough to get the juices flowing again. It helps your muscles AND your brain unkink, making you more productive when you sit back down (and more than making up for lost minutes).
  • Do NOT use breaks for replenishing snacks. Mini breaks are meant to get your brain and body back into gear. If you spend them staring into the fridge, you'll not only get sidetracked, but your brain won't be taking the pit stop it needs (instead, it'll be contemplating salami versus bologna, Monterey jack versus cheddar).
  • Write with a buddy. As long as the two of your are both committed to writing and not chatting, a buddy can keep you on track. Hearing another person's keyboard clicking away can be just enough to keep your fingers going (much like having a buddy in a race can keep you taking the next step and the next).

I can't wait to get started on my write-a-thon, and I hope we have lots of participants.

Good luck, everyone! Let's crack 100,000 together!


Krista said...

I'll be on the road during this! I won't be able to check in my start or finish... Hmmm.

Josi said...
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Josi said...
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Josi said...

Krista, if you're able to write 'on the road' you can call or text me with your numbers, I'll post them for you. e-mail me off list if you want my cell #.

Anonymous said...

At first I wasn't sure if I'd be able to swing this, but now I'm committed. I'm so excited to get some serious writing done. Thanks for the challenge. I'll see you tomorrow night for check-in!!!

Taffy said...

Let's go!

Heather Justesen said...

Man, I have critique smack dab in the middle of this time (not to mention drive time). I hope you break the 100,000 word barrier!

Robin said...

I'm in. Sounds like fun. Been struggling to get a large segment of my novel done so perhaps this will provide the necessary push. Fun stuff.

Karen Hoover said...

I've been looking forward to this all week! Can hardly wait to get started. Thanks for the tips, Annette. I wouldn't have thought of a lot of that.

Annette Lyon said...

Heather, As much as I value my critique group, I'm skipping it this week just for the write-a-thon. I think it's worth it!

Krista said...

Thanks for working with me, Josi! I'm excited!

Heather B. Moore said...

I won't get a full four hours in, but when I start, I'll be writing like the wind :-)

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli said...

I wish I could play, but I'm going to be in the car, driving to Page, AZ, from noon to 7:00 p.m. and I know I won't have time to write once I get there. Maybe next time!

Queen of Chaos said...

I'm going for it! Leftovers for dinner...or hubby can get in his kitchen on. ;)

Anonymous said...

Is this open to Canadians? :)

Josi said...

Yes, it's open to canadians :-) Canada and the US use the same time zones so it shouldn't be to hard to figure out. Here's a time zone link to help you out.

Amy said...

Yay! Pizza for dinner tonight. Going to lock myself in, turn off my phone, and just soak myself into this project!
So excited!

Jennifer said...

This is a fabulous idea. My sister and I are excited to be a part of it.

Julie Belnap said...

Gah! It's already past four and I don't see any blog saying that it is up! ahh! let's do it! I've got my easter basket and idea notebooks at my side!

Precision Editing Group said...

Julie, it's up now!