It’s crunch time. You’re behind on your writing. You don’t know how it happened, but everything just piled up on you at once, and your writing has paid the price by being placed on the back-burner of life’s other priorities. We’ve all been there, and it sucks. What can you do when you’ve fallen that far behind?
A writing blitz! Buckle your seatbelts, bitches, ’cause you’re gonna write SO GOD DAMN HARD!!
What is a writing blitz? That’s when you set aside some time and a place, and you buckle down on your work – hard! Think pulling a college finals all-nighter while jumped-up on four Red Bulls, and the invisible whip of your professor’s deadline is cracking over your head. The glow of the sun is rising in the east, and class starts in 2 hours! The fate of the universe hangs in the balance, and they want 5,000 words! GO! GO! GO!
A writing blitz puts you in a mental-space of intense focus, where nothing else matters but reaching your short-term goals. Finish so many pages. Finish so many chapters. Finish the entire book by this real, or even arbitrary, deadline, and whatever you do, don’t let ANYTHING get in your way, not even YOU!
First of all, if you’re a procrastinator, a writing blitz might be exactly what you need to help you get off your butt and start working. Setting a deadline and a word/page/chapter goal means that you have an achievement to work towards. Without short-term goals, it’s always easy for one’s writing to take a back seat to life’s distractions.
The difference between regular writing short-term goals and blitz goals is you have to get a LOT more writing done than you normally manage but in nearly the same amount of time. Maybe you average 1,500 words a week? Double it, triple it. Set aside an extra hour a day or a whole day on the weekend, and get ready to bust your ass.
But how does one achieve such zen-like focus?
These tips will help you successfully survive a writing blitz.
-Set goals; how many words you want to write, or chapters you want to finish, and when you need to have them finished. You don’t have to be completely unrealistic. A good way to set a realistic goal is to take your word count average, and instead of your average, focus on what you know, you can do on your above-average days. Those days when you’re really on fire! Maybe you normally do 1/3 of a chapter on average, but on a good day, you can do a whole chapter every day, then your blitz goal is going to be a whole chapter every single day. Even if you fall short and only manage half a chapter or 2/3 of a chapter, guess what? You still wrote way more than on an average day, so the blitz is working!
-Set aside a free day/days or even an hour or a few hours every day. Put it on a calendar, and don’t let ANY other plans encroach on that time. For example, I usually work best in the evening (I’m one of those people who always gets their most creative ideas at late hours). I always set aside a few hours every night for writing, but if I need to blitz, maybe I’ll force myself to start an hour or two earlier or stay up an hour or two later. I might set aside one night when I can stay up late writing and sleep in the next morning.
-Go somewhere quiet where you can work alone, whether that’s a library, a cafe, or a room with a lock on the door. Shut off your phone, disconnect your wifi, and tell your friends and family that unless they’re on fire, they can piss off.
-Don’t sacrifice too much sleep! Making yourself exhausted WILL NOT HELP YOU! If you get too tired too fast, you’ll burn out quickly, and you’ll quit. A blitz is intense and may feel like a college all-nighter, but the good news is you don’t have to get THAT crazy. Get a good night’s rest (or if you sleep during the day, get a good day’s rest).
-Have some caffeinated coffee, tea, or soda, but NOT a ton. Again, don’t go full college all-nighter and pound 4 Red Bulls, at least not at the start of your blitz. You want just enough stimulant to make you alert but not jittery. When some people drink too much caffeine, they start to become unfocused. If you are one of those people who works best after downing an entire pot of coffee (or four Red Bulls), then by all means, go for it. Just make sure you work a decent amount of sleep into your routine and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. A writing blitz can come to a crashing halt if you make yourself sick.
-Now, if you work best at night and doing an all-nighter feels comfortable and natural to you, by all means, work that into your blitz, but please be sure you make up for any lost sleep during the day, or it will start to take a toll.
-Get comfy! My husband likes to say I need a zen garden just to write – WELL MAYBE I DO! If you’re going to blitz, you need to be focused, and it’s hard to focus when you’re uncomfortable in your environment or if something’s distracting you. Clean your desk or your room first if you work better in a tidy environment. If it’s hot, get a fan or open a window. If it’s cold, get a space heater or a blanket, or select a spot by the fireplace if you have one. Fix yourself a drink; water, tea, cocoa, coffee, whiskey, whatever you like, and set a few snacks within arm’s reach. Avoid snacks and drinks that make you drowsy! Do you work better with music? Make a playlist! I LOVE working next to an open window. Whatever comforts you need in your writing space, get them arranged, and get to work!
-Does this sound too stressful? Don’t worry. The point of a blitz is to increase your productivity. If you fall short of your goals but are more productive than you are on average, you win! You wrote more than you would have otherwise, and that’s the point.
So are you ready to do the blitz?