Alrighty. It’s Day 1 and we’re gonna smash this thing. We’re going on a writing journey, motherfruiters! So crack out your compass and map, whack your crampons on your backpack and suit up.

Where are we going?

Good question

Where do you want to go?

People can spend years looking for the answer to that question. And yeah sure the journey is fun, but at some point we all want to reach the end – the Holy Grail of a finished story, a finished book, an agent or a publishing deal. We want to enjoy the finished product and then head off on the next adventure.

So let’s see if we can figure out what the frick we’re all doing here and how the frick we’re going to get to where we want to be.

Today is an easy day – we’re only asking you to write for ten minutes – but we’re also challenging you to have a root around inside your brain and see if you can figure out what it is you want to achieve.

5,000 words a month?

5,000 words a week?

5,000 words a day?! 

(A little side note on personal goals: Remember this is your writing so your goal has to work for you. Old Boasty-Writer-McFace on Twitter might well be smashing through 50,000 words a week, but that’s what works for him. The quiet woman you did your last writing course with might have just won every single writing award and critical acclaim in the world, but that’s what’s working for her. It’s not a competition (well, sometimes it is, but not right now), it’s not a popularity contest (ahem ditto), it’s about focusing on your work, your routines, your goals, doing what makes you happy, and getting to where you want to be.)

Here we go guys, the reason we’re here. The course is called Couch to 5k Words. What does that even mean? Why have we done that? Are we writing 5,000 words EVERY SINGLE DAY?

Err no. Of course not.

That would be prettyyyy nutso, unless you’re like Barbara Cartland or something (seriously that woman was something else. She could turn out 50,000 word novels at a rate of two a month and published over 700 novels. Not to mention that she won an air industry award for her contribution to gliding that helped the military, and she was also a politician. HOW DID SHE DO ALL THESE THINGS I CAN BARELY GET OUT OF BED?).

We picked the 5,000 word figure because it’s a nice round number (and obviously jumping on the Couch to 5k running bandwagon).

It’s the length of a good, chunky short story.

It’s the length of a solid first draft of a book chapter.

It’s a super pleasing amount to have written.

5,000 words.

Gif of party poppers exploding to fill the number 5,000

How often would you like to write 5,000 words? Once a week? Once a fortnight? Once a month? Would you be happy if you wrote 5,000 words during the next 12 months?

Us here writers at Writers’ HQ aim to write 5,000 words every two weeks and here’s why:

We can’t write every single day, but we’re lucky that we can write most days. We aim to write 500 words, five days out of seven.

That’s 2,500 words in one week.

That’s 5,000 words every fortnight.

That’s 10,000 words a month.

That’s an 80,000-word novel in just eight months.

Plus it feels doable. Not too stressful, nothing completely outrageous and intimidating. And if we miss a day here or there it doesn’t matter. Even if we miss a whole week, 2,500 words is nothing we can’t catch up with at a writing retreat

So for us, 5k words a fortnight works.

What would you like to achieve? What regular output would be your ideal?

Set a timer for 5 minutes. Scribble some notes. What’s achievable for you? In your perfect world, how much would you write? Have a think, set a goal, and come tell us over on Facebook.

And that’s it. Day 1 in the bag. You’ve done it you magnificent writing beast!

Image of a gold star with caption: gold fucking star

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