ness writes about writing

How To Write Five Thousand Words In One Evening

how towritefivethousand

… though of course you can write five thousand words at any time of day that you so choose. Obviously.

Find a Comfortable Seat

This is important. I used my large soft toy as a back-rest. (Soft toys are very good as back-rests – an important fact.) If it’s cold, wrap a blanket around your shoulders.

Panic Not

Look – if you think writing 5k in one evening is impossible, you’ll find it impossible. So, when you start to write – cheer yourself on. Two hundred and fifty words down? That’s a quarter of a thousand! Wahoo! You can do it! Five thousand? Pfft, little brain. Just you wait till I write ten thousand in one day. Your brain will quiver with fear and do precisely as you wish after such a threat.

Thank You For the Music!

This is important. Don’t listen to music you are unfamiliar with. You want to sink into your writing with absolutely no distractions. I didn’t even use a playlist. I found one song and then I stuck it on repeat. If it’s familiar it will fade into the background.

Side effects: you’ll be heartily sick of your song afterwhile. So, when you take a break, choose another bit of music and play the stuffing out of that one too.

Make Goals.

Think to yourself – I’ll write two thousand and then I’ll take a break. Reach that goal, take a break and then return for more. Use the break to make tea, rest your eyes and gather your sanity from the far-flung regions it has fled to. It’s really not that bad.

Format That Word Document

You don’t want to be distracted by page numbers (oh bother, I’ve only written one page! ONE PAGE!). So eliminate them. Change your view from the Print Layout to Web Layout. This gives you the freedom to simply spill your words onto those pages without realising how many there are.

I find this tip to be really, really useful. I call it ‘Tricking My Brain To Doing What I Want Muhahahaha Bow To Me Story Of Mine’.

I took this picture in relieved triumph

Remember That Quantity Does Not Always Mean Quality

… and you know what? That doesn’t matter right now. You can come back and brutally butcher it all. This isn’t editing. This is writing. [Though obviously I like to believe that every word that drips from my fingers is golden and precious, full of diamond rainbows and glorious prose]

For The Fidgety Bits

Right now, it doesn’t matter if the people have a festival on this or that date, they use spears or bows as weapons or if a poodle really is a dog – pop all your questions, continuity issues and ideas into a separate word document. You are writing. Come back to that later.

Tell your story now.


So there you have it! All you need to write five thousand words in one evening. I managed to do it at the weekend, and now feel like a pompous expert on the matter.

Happy Writing!

(P.S Your wrist might ache jus’ a little bit afterwards. But what is a wrist ache to marvelous words?)

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