Train for JuNo Like You Would a 5K – Stepping Up Your Writing Game

Could you go from couch potato to running a 5K? Nah, neither could we. No judgment. You know what the 5K of the writing world is? Writing a novel in a month. Well, that might actually be more like a marathon, but we’re going to go with 5K because it’s less intimidating.

But in the same way you couldn’t go from Netflix-and-snack to running several miles in one get-off-the-couch move, we don’t expect you to go from not writing to putting down 50,000 words in a month. 

Maybe you used our list of inspirational videos and meditation exercises to pull yourself out of a writing rut—possibly even a pandemic-induced writing rut. Either way, good for you! You should take a moment to give yourself the proverbial pat on the back. Or take a rewarding trip to the bookstore (safely, with masks and social distancing). 

But then come back to your computer or notebook and realize there’s more prep work to do. In this post, we’ll give you a four-week plan to get up to writing 1,667 words a day (the number you need daily for 30 days to hit 50,000 words).

Week One

For the first week, you’re going to aim to get up to 100 words a day. That may seem paltry, but don’t worry—we’ll be turning up the heat soon, and before you know it, you’ll be in prime shape for JuNoWriMo 2021.

For each day, you can write a new micro-story or work toward a single, longer story. Here’s the plan:

Day 1: Write 25 words. No sweat, right?

Day 2: Write 30 words. Still pretty small.

Day 3: Write 45 words. Oh we’re getting closer to elevator-pitch length!

Day 4: Write 65 words. You’re more than halfway there!

Day 5: Write 80 words. So close!

Day 6: Write 95 words.

Day 7: Write 100 words! Way to go! Celebrate somehow.

Week Two

Last week was a nice experience of wading back into writing. This week, we’re going to aim to get you to 500 words by the end. Same rules apply: You can write a different bit of micro-fiction each day, or work toward a longer story.

Day 1: Write 105 words. Already writing more than last week!

Day 2: Write 150 words.

Day 3: Write 225 words.

Day 4: Write 275 words. More than halfway there!

Day 5: Write 350 words.

Day 6: Write 435 words. You’re so close!

Day 7: Write 500 words. You did it! Celebrate bigger than you did last week.

Week Three

This week’s goal is to get you above 1,000. Why make such a big jump in week three? Two reasons: The more days you write closer to goal, the easier it will be in June—and we don’t want flagging motivation in week four to stop you from reaching 1,667 words a day.

Same rules as weeks one and two. Ready? Set? Write!

Day 1: Write 505 words.

Day 2: Write 600 words.

Day 3: Write 700 words. A big jump, but you can handle it! We believe in you.

Day 4: Write 775 words. You’re halfway through the week, and more than halfway past your daily word goal!

Day 5: Write 850 words.

Day 6: Write 920 words. Less than 100 to go to reach your daily goal!

Day 7: Write 1,000 words. Woohoo! You did it! You’re so close to writing the daily minimum to reach 50k in 30 days! Do something really nice for yourself.

Week Four

Here we are in the home stretch. You’ve done really well. There’s not much more work to do now—you’ll just be working up to adding those final 667 words per day. You’re already writing 1,000 words per day, so this should be a walk in the park or a piece of cake or whatever reward-based idiom you want to use.

Same rules. Here we go!

Day 1: Write 1,001 words. You’ve got this. It’s just one more word than you wrote yesterday.

Day 2: Write 1,055 words.

Day 3: Write 1,225 words.

Day 4: Write 1,350 words. You’re more than halfway to this week’s goal! Keep chugging along.

Day 5: Write 1,450 words.

Day 6: Write 1,550 words. You’re so close. Can you feel it?

Day 7: Write 1,667 words. You made it! You’re totally ready for the vigor of writing 50K in 30 days now. Do something super fun to celebrate!

You Made It…What Next?

How does it feel to be writing 1,667 words a day? We always knew you had it in you. By the end of this challenge, you’ve written 17,128 words, which is almost 35% of a JuNoWriMo challenge. Add that to what you’ll write in June and that’s 67,128 words. At an average of 250 words per page (standard for many novels), that would be a book of almost 270 pages. Not too shabby, right?

Best of all, you’re now writing 1,667 words a day. If you timed this right, you can just keep going at that pace through June. If not, you’ll end up with even more stories or words written—and that’s not a bad thing, either.

Good luck and happy writing for JuNoWriMo 2021!

Author & Author Accelerator Certified book coach Margaret McNellis holds an MFA in fiction, an M.A. in English & creative writing, and a B.A. in art history. She writes historical fiction for adult and young adult readers. Her debut YA novel, THE RED FLETCH, will be released on 9/18/21. Margaret’s short fiction has been published in several markets, including Assignment Magazine, where she was the 2019 student fiction contest winner. Margaret loves the beach when it’s empty, the forest in the fall, blasting Mozart’s piano sonatas, and baking bread.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.