When I’m in the middle of the book, there nearly always comes a time when I have to sit myself down and go all the way in—just write and write and write for 5 days straight, shutting out all outside distractions. I’m there now. I know a lot of what needs to happen, but there is a lot going on and I need to just go over into that world and let the story roll out. I need to do this without the distractions of my ordinary life, social media, or even my beloved partner.
I need to go all in.
My name for a week like this is a book blitz. When I posted on Facebook that I was going to do one this week, writer Lexi Ryan said she was going to do Camp Book, same idea, showing up for the book and letting other things go for the week. Loreth Anne White also said she had to do this, and she’d join in. She’s calling hers Book Boot Camp.
Whatever you call it, the idea is the same: for a period of a week, the book comes first, all day long. No appointments, no external commitments, just writing. Lexi is setting a time goal. I like a word count goal, something that’s much higher than I would ever do in an average day, in this case double my usual 2500 words per day, or 5000 words.
Some writers go for the full seven days, but you might, like me, find that too intimidating or exhausting. I go for five days, Monday through Friday, with the happy reward of getting the weekend off when I meet my goal.
The trick to making this work is to figure out what gets in your way, and then set yourself up for success. Some things to consider are family obligations, appointments that might break your concentration, and that old favorite, the Internet.
But the main stumbling block many of us face is simply not giving the time to writing that we give to other things. Drafting a novel is challenging work, and it requires a huge amount of mental and emotional focus. It’s exhausting to live all those lives, think the thoughts of all those people, arrange their tables and drive with them to their assignations and make love with them. A couple of hours is usually about all most of us can manage if we want to have any energy or emotion left for our real lives.
A blitz week reverses that equation. You give the book world all the mental and emotional energy, the focused attention, the physical showing up that your ordinarily save for your actual life. You let the housework and other mundane matters of real life go.
In a way, it’s a bit like NaNoWriMo, but a book blitz week is much more concentrated and demanding. It also only lasts a week, which is a lot more manageable. How do you go about setting such a week up for yourself? A few tips: