Results of My First-Ever 10K Day

By Milli Thornton

The reason we have a regular 10K event here at the FoW blog is because, five years ago, my friend Jenny Turner invited me to do a 10K Day with her. I don’t know where Jenny first heard of it, but back then the procedure was to keep in touch by email. It was just Jenny and me that day—but that was enough to give me my first amazing taste of the camaraderie that comes with a good 10K Day.

Thanks, Jenny!

With our two 10K Days coming up next week, I went back in the archives to February, 2006 and relived a post I wrote about my first-ever 10K Day. Thought I’d share it with you.

First, I’d like to say that . . .

. . . I had very low expectations on myself in terms of productivity. I had been too busy to get much writing done and I simply wanted to feel creative again and have some fun. I made a list of writing to work on, but I didn’t set a word count for myself. I vaguely had it in my mind that I would be over the moon to get 5,000 words done.

What I discovered was that this exercise pulled things out of me I didn’t know I was capable of. Even though I cheated by getting up late (it was Sunday and I wanted to sleep in), once I got there I stuck to the routine and it worked like a charm. I ended up with 10,277 words.

I had never been one for productivity over creativity. But there’s something about the routine of the 10-K Day that produces super-human efforts—but with much less strain and resistance than I ever thought possible.

A 10-K Day is not about perfect writing. You’re inevitably going to rewrite or even completely cut some of the words you’ve written—as it should be. “The art of writing is in the rewriting.”

(Who said that? I don’t remember, but I’m a believer!)

My Surprised Conclusions

For me, the 10-K Day has been a gigantic eye-opener. We tend to go through life believing we’re capable of much less than we really are. I’ve compared myself to more “prolific” writers so often I actually came to believe they were born that way and I wasn’t.

Now I know.

Not that I now believe in the value of productivity over creativity. Instead I made a quantum leap into believing both are possible. They don’t always have to be in the same moment, or even the same day. But there are days when we can live the life of a genius—if we do a little preparation and stick to a proven formula.

Geniuses are geniuses, in part, because they produce a lot of ideas and then try them out.

So it can be with writing. It all starts with an idea.

Milli Thornton, Fear of Writing Blog | Fear of Writing Online Course

Milli Thornton


Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse.

5 Responses to Results of My First-Ever 10K Day
  1. purplekangaroos
    May 13, 2011 | 1:14 PM

    This is exactly the way I felt after my first 10K day last November! “I had never been one for productivity over creativity. But there’s something about the routine of the 10-K Day that produces super-human efforts—but with much less strain and resistance than I ever thought possible.”

    I was so determined to reach 10K to prove to myself I could, but once I started writing I forgot all about that because I was just in the groove.

    I love this post, Milli! It really nails the whole thing about “why can’t we have it all?” Productivity and creativity merging together are glorious. We don’t have to do it all the time, but when we do it’s such a gratification!

    Thanks for all your insights. They are really thought provoking.

    …And just like every time I plan to show up, I can’t wait for this coming Wed. 10K day!

    catherine 🙂

    • @fearofwriting
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      May 13, 2011 | 1:35 PM

      Thanks, Catherine! I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I enjoyed your comment equally as much. 🙂

      I love hearing that you still look forward to the 10K Days just as much as ever, even though you’re now one of our 10K veterans.

      ~ Milli

  2. j
    May 13, 2011 | 6:30 PM

    I heard an interview with Jon Stewart once where he said that if people saw how the Daily Show gets put together, they’d be amazed because it’s all about schedules and routines and sitting down and doing the work. (Not at all high flying creatively comic antics!) I think the 10k days work (in part) because they’re scheduled, because you make a commitment to yourself to sit down and do the work. (And if you sit there long enough… something happens.) 😉

    • @fearofwriting
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      May 13, 2011 | 7:00 PM

      Great anecdote, j. 🙂

      Reminds me of a guy show I watch with Brian sometimes: Top Gear from the UK. One of the world’s most popular shows—and outwardly it’s because they’re funny and do outrageous things. But I can tell that a ton of scripting goes into it (even when the incident appears to be a blooper) and they must have a non-stop filming schedule to have five episodes a week. Same as what you’re saying about the Daily Show.

  3. John
    February 20, 2012 | 5:44 AM

    Milli, congratulation on achieving 10,277 words on your first-ever 10K. It is difficult for me to think of a time when you would of had a problem coming up with an abundance of words or low expectation of yourself. Your article was inspirational. I enjoyed reading about your quantum leaving leap into believing in both, productivity and creativity. I have to say that I have categorize you among my list of prolific writers, having read your book and many of your articles. John

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