By Dane Cobain
I’m a freelance writer by day and an indie author by night, so I spend a lot of time writing. But sometimes you need an excuse to go in hard.
For me, that excuse was WordsOnThePageAthon, and it came along at just the right time. The idea behind it is pretty simple. You write as much as you can over a 24 hour period, and it took place from midnight to midnight on a Saturday for those who are busy during the week with a day job.
As an aside, the readathon is headed up by Angela Hart, who I know through BookTube. She created a cozy mystery book tag and was looking for people to tag in it, so I volunteered. We’ve been firm friends ever since. Internet friends are the best because you’re under no pressure to actually leave the house if you want to hang out with them.
On Saturday 6th January, I didn’t leave the house. Instead, I wrote 12,000 words, including a song, a poem, some flash fiction and a journal entry. But those were just by-the-by, the kind of stuff that I’d write on a normal day and more like an afterthought.
No, for the majority of the writeathon, I focused my efforts on two projects. The first was the rewrites I needed to do on Netflix and Kill, the upcoming sequel to Driven, my detective novel. I got it back from my editor with the first round of edits a week or so before, which was just enough time for me to handle the minor rewrites and to isolate and identify what needed doing for the more major rewrites where entire scenes needed to be added.
Thanks to the WordsOnThePageAthon, I finished all of those rewrites in pretty much one sitting, which meant that I could crack on with the edits – but not until after it was over.
After that, I moved on to the first draft of Meat, a novel that I’m working on which is set on a factory farm. I’d hit a stumbling block of sorts and I wasn’t sure how I was going to resolve a huge chunk of the story. But I still had eight hours left or so, and by the time that those eight hours were up, I’d written through it and come out the other side. I’ve been making pretty good progress ever since and it’s now up to 70k words despite not quite being two thirds of the way through. Yeah, it’s a long one.
I write every day, and so I didn’t need the WordsOnThePageAthon to actually push me to put words on the page. What it did do, though, was give me an opportunity to dedicate 24 hours specifically to writing, rather than diluting my writing time with editing, marketing and other tasks that take up time. And from that point of view, it was a huge success.
So when Angela dropped me a message to ask me if I wanted to write a guest post, I said yes – and it was pretty obvious what I ought to write about. The WordsOnThePageAthon isn’t necessarily mandatory, and I can write just fine without it. But it is a fantastic excuse to put in a sudden burst of effort, a sudden sprint in the marathon that is writing and editing a novel.
It was a pleasure to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to the next one. I hope you’ll join me.