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Thursday, November 19, 2009

One - No, Wait, Two - of my Best Secrets...

Last year, as I questioned my sanity for committing to write 25K words on my work-in-progress, I accidently hit on Secret #1 and had my first 5K day ever...

Cracking the Whip with Cherry Caramels.

Ok, so the caramels were great, but they weren't the secret. The secret is this:

I set the timer. For 15 minutes. With a modest goal, 300 words. I usually hit 400 or more, and within an hour, I had over 1500! By the end of the day, I'd hit 5K.

I've been singing the praises of this method ever since. I mentioned the strategy to a new Facebook friend, and here's what she had to say:

I did the egg timer thing and my goodness. It started slow with 96 words in my first 15. The second yielded 193 and so on and so on. My most recent in 15 minutes... 338 words! I was overjoyed.

My crit partner and I have started doing timed writing online at night and comparing counts before dueling again. It's fun for her and working wonders for me.

...Which leads to Secret #2: find a friend to crack the whip with you. For me, this happened accidentally. I posted about my 5k day, and the next day, Jolie decided to do it, too. The challenge was on!

Jolie is Better Than Bum Glue.

This is the exchange, by the way, that led to the Summer Revision Smackdown, where you will find all kinds of excellent tips from favorite authors.

If you try it, let me know how it works!


  1. My first testimonial! I'm glad it provided good segue for your secrets. The timer really does force you to focus and churn out the words.

  2. Was just reminiscing about all this the other day! Such memories. Such fun. Such productivity. And always better with a friend.

    You know what, Cupala? WE NEED ANOTHER PLAYDATE!

  3. Great post, Holly!

    We are JacketFlap friends and I came by to check out your blog - love it! Count me in as a new follower and regular visitor! :)

  4. i want a crack friend! oh wait that doesnt sound right does it? cheery caramels - do tell!

  5. I've had the same wonderful results from participating in this year's NaNoWriMo! I worried that challenging myself to meet word count goals would result in sloppy writing, but the passages I've allowed myself to go back and read have been pleasantly surprising - though frightfully filled with misspellings. I know now that I need the challenge to get me going. When November is over, I will arm myself with an egg timer and a box of caramels. Thanks for the great idea, Holly.

  6. S.F. is the one! (Though I didn't want to out you without permission, lol.)

    I'm so glad it's working for others! I know for me, it shuts up the critic. She can't keep up, and I can get into the flow of my character's thoughts in a way I can't if I'm agonizing over every step forward.

    Shelli, here are Cherry Caramels from Route 29:

    Welcome, Shannon and Genevieve! I'm so glad you dropped by.

  7. Thanks for this idea, Holly. My comment will be quick. I am going out to buy a timer... Stasia

  8. That's it. I need an egg timer! And someone to crack a whip!

    This is great.