So the kids are in bed, the cats are fed, the wife/hubby is watching The Bachelor/a game of football (or whatever variation on this theme is relevant to you) and you finally have a couple of hours to yourself to begin Project October. I always try to set aside two hours at a minimum when I know I won’t have interruptions. For me, this generally ends up being after 9.00pm at night. For you, it might be from 5.00am to 7.00am. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent with a toddler who naps between 1.00pm and 3.00pm before you have to do the school run. There are no hard and fast rules about when to write, except for this: write whenever you can, as long as you write every day over the next month.
It’s good if you already have a rough idea of what will be happening in the chapters you want to write because planning contributes nothing to your daily word count. In the novel I am working on, the book is in three parts and each part explores the same two week period from the perspective of a different character. Part one is complete and I’m working on part two, which means I know what happens and when the characters interact. It’s just the stuff that happens when they are apart that I have to fill in. It’s much less difficult than trying to come up with the entire story on the spot.
If you don’t have the luxury of a structure that helps out like this, then part of your preparation prior to beginning Project October should be comprehensive notes on what is going to happen, what you are going to write about. You can always deviate from them as your writing progresses but prompts like this can be important in preventing umming and ahhing and indecisiveness and a big fat zero in the tally of your daily word count.
Just in case you think it’s always full steam ahead in week one, there were two days in which I wrote nothing. But I wrote enough on the other days to exceed my minimum weekly target by 291 words. Just made it. But made it nonetheless. This is why it’s super important not to stop just because you reach your minimum or even your maximum. Write for as long as the words keep coming. Because no matter how well you think you’re doing, there will always be something that will do its best to get in your way.
My week one target: Between 3,500 and 7,000 words
My week one total: 3,791 words