10K Day: Rules of the Game

10K days are FUN! It’s a fabulous way to find out you’re capable of a lot more than you think.

The goal is to challenge yourself to write 10,000 words . . . but the camaraderie and the spirit of trying will beat anything your Inner Critic coughs up to try to discourage you.

Mission statement:

The purpose of a 10K Day is to try to write 10,000 words.

The spirit of a 10K Day is to liberate myself and celebrate my creativity!

Here are the guidelines that have proven to produce the best results:

1. No editing or rewriting.

2. No looking back over what you’ve written. Keep forging ahead.

3. No rummaging—either in notebooks or in your computer files—for writing you did some other time.

4. No research. Make it up.

5. Don’t fuss about the rules of writing. Just write.

6. Don’t fuss with structure. You can format, add chapter headings (or whatever) some other time.

7. No struggling. (“Allow yourself to be crappy.” ~ J.R. Turner)

8. Take a 15-minute break every two hours. Use this break to refresh your body, brain and spirit.

9. Report to your writing companions during your break. Use the check-in page that shows the correct date for the event you’re attending.

10. No agonizing over your word count. Yes, the goal is 10,000 words, but not at the cost of your peace of mind. This is not a competition—not even with yourself! Have fun instead.

Adapted with permission from 10K in a Day by J.R. Turner

10K Day for writers - got a question?If you have any questions, leave a comment below or click on the question mark
for a personalized email response. Milli is always glad to help.


Peachebean,  10K Day participant

Peachebean, 10K Day participant

All I can say is just try it out. I have done Milli’s last two 10K’s and I have been surprised at how much I have gotten done. It is so rewarding to check in and see what every one else is struggling with or what successes they’ve had.

I started a book! Actually I starting by writing stories about my Mikey dog from the prompts in Milli’s book “Fear Of Writing” at our writing circle in the Texas Hill Country. I never really thought I’d write a book, but the 10K days are giving me the boost I need to blast away at the keyboard. Before I know it, I’ve written 1000 words.

This format is so good for me and I have felt such a sense of accomplishment (even though the last time I was about 600 words short of my goal for the day). Now that Milli is adding a Saturday I may do both days.

Now I feel like I am really writing a BOOK! Me! OMG! Thanks Milli this is the perfect venue for me. I love the support but I still don’t feel chained to my PC. And I can write in my jammies!

See you there,

(Blog comment Aug 1, 2009)

9 Responses to Our (Fun) Rules
  1. John
    February 17, 2012 | 11:49 AM

    I had to smile at the artist’s rendition of a bird next to the mission statement. The rules contained here allows for the ultimate freedom for all levels of writers. It is a paradigm for anyone who is wanting to optimized their creative side, without fearing the agony, that is associated with defeated. In all competition, there are winners and losers. Based on your rules for the 10K program, there can only be winners. In addition to winning, I see in rule nine, that you are able to stay in contact with your writing companions throughout the day. It appears to me that all the rules are predicated on the principle of win, win.

    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      February 17, 2012 | 12:31 PM

      John, I’m pleased you enjoyed the fountain pen bird image that I chose to go with our fun rules. I felt it was perfect to visually represent a writer taking flight for creative freedom during the 10K Day.

      I’m also glad that the win-win comes across as much as I was hoping. Really appreciate your comment!

      ~ Milli

  2. Liam Carton
    May 18, 2012 | 5:34 PM


    I love the idea, but geesh! I am currently working on a book. And the BEST I have ever managed is just shy of 5,000 in a day! And that is my BEST! Mostly I get about 2,000 in an average day. If I get over 4k I feel I have done well.

    But those days I end up with the tips of my fingers numb, and my wrists have nearly locked tight!

    I have been working on my book for a bit over 3 months, and in that time I have worn a flat patch on the wrist rest of my notebook, and have a permanent bruise on my right wrist from where it rest on the keyboard. (The left one is not so bad, perhaps because I use that to hold my cancer stick, while typing. Oh yeah, please don’t tell me that smoking is killing my typing, as well as my lungs 😉 But, seriously, guys! how do you do it!?!?

    I know that it is less important to write ‘fast’, than to write ‘good’. Still, I cannot imagine cranking out 60,000 characters in a day. That is just awesome. More power to your elbow (or fingers, maybe). And yes, I can type at about 65 wpm from a dictation, I just can’t keep it up AND think, all at the same time, for more than a few minutes.

    My best day (20 pages) was over ten hours of typing! And at the end I was invigorated, but no way could I type another page, never mind another twenty!

    Is there a secret? Are you all using voice recognition software, or something?

    Still, as I said. Love the idea. And if I ever manage to hit 7k, then maybe I’ll give it a shot.

    I know I won’t make it, but even if I fail, well, all the more reason to try again 😉


    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      May 18, 2012 | 6:15 PM

      Dear Liam,

      Thanks for your visit and your awesome comment on this page!

      There *are* some secrets to being able to write 10,000 words in one day. Many of them are practical. Some are about recognizing our own versions of self-sabotage and taking conscious steps to avoid those pitfalls on the day.

      In both those regards, I’ve developed an online course that presents a method of going over all the issues with a fine-tooth comb (both on the practical and the psychological side) using tailor-made lessons that give you reading material and written assignments. I find that this kind of info is so much easier for my students to apply when I get them to do written assignments about what they’re learning.

      The course is very new and I’ve had three students go through it so far. The first student went from averaging 2K during two previous attempts to busting 10K during his next attempt. Second student busted 10K at the April event a few days after taking the course. Third student wrote 6000+ words at the April event, despite insomnia the night before.

      Here’s the link to that course if you want to check it out:


      Your problems with the numb fingers, wrists locking tight, bruises, etc. are something else altogether. I would not recommend a 10K Day for you unless you resolved those issues first. I’ve had some problems in that area myself, but nothing to the severity you’ve described above.

      (I won’t even touch the cancer stick – sounds like a landmine to me. LOL!)

      Anyway, in your case, I actually *would* recommend voice recognition software. Here’s the site where you can check out what I’ve found to be the best, which is called Dragon Naturally Speaking. (By the way, you can get it cheaper on Ebay or Amazon.com – but be sure to buy an unopened box and be sure to only purchase the latest version. But you can use this site first to study the product info):


      Best of luck, Liam! If there’s anything I can do to help, just holler. You can check the Contact page and get my email address if you’d like to talk further about your dilemmas with your book-in-progress.

      Cheers ~ Milli

      P.S. Even for your general typing needs it might be a good idea to examine your work set-up. My own problems with a painful chafed arm (chafed by needing to lean on the arm of my chair while I typed) cleared up when I got the right keyboard. Plus I have a pull-out shelf that it sits on, so I don’t have to reach “up” to type. My wrists don’t have contact with the pad, only my palms (and it’s so gentle I don’t even notice). If you’re interested, email me and I’ll let you know what brand keyboard I use (which can be plugged into a laptop if that’s what you use).

  3. Liam Carton
    May 19, 2012 | 11:28 AM

    Hi Milli,

    Thanks for the speedy response, and your kind comments.

    I type on my notebook, and have never been able to set it up to my satisfaction with an external keyboard. I do have a truly lovely old IBM KB, that dates back to the ark, typeing on that is a joy. I used to use a Thinkpad, but the screen packed up and (being an IBM) it cost more to fix than I paid for it when it was new.

    I had not really thought about it, until you mentioned the set up, but your are absolutely correct. I never had numbness in the finger tips, and the front edge of the wrist rest was nicely rolled, so no bruing either, my my wrist still did tend to ‘lock’ up after more than five hours of typing.

    Maybe it’s because I also do a lot of coding, so I use far more symbols than the average typist (Lots of wist movement to reach them at the edges).

    Anyhow, I will try adjusting my seat, and as soon as I can afford it, I plan on spalasing out on an X301.

    Onece the book if finished (~ 2 weeks), I will have a bit more time, and will have a look at your course. Sounds interesting.

    Once again, thanks for the kind comments.



    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      May 19, 2012 | 12:21 PM

      Hi Liam,

      Coding? Now that makes sense. I had assumed you were a fiction writer and couldn’t figure out what you might be doing on your keyboard that could generate such massive war wounds. 😀

      Sounds like you might be writing a book for programmers. Best of luck with finishing the book in two weeks. I’m guessing that might be a publishing deadline.

      Speaking of which . . . you are totally welcome to attend one or both of this month’s 10K Day events to help you make progress on your book. (You don’t have to take the course first to participate in the free event.)

      Sounds like you’re already motivated enough to work on your book every day by yourself. But it can be highly inspirational (not to mention, fun!) to have some friendly and supportive companions who are also hacking through the jungle.

      You are not required to write 10,000 words every time you attend. That’s what we aim for – but as it says in our motto from the top of this page:

      “The spirit of a 10K Day is to liberate myself and celebrate my creativity!”

      (And we’re not just talking about fiction writing. Anything you’re writing that expresses your gifts and talents is in that category. A book for programmers totally qualifies.)

      Anyway, I definitely don’t want to add extra strain to your wrist injuries. So if you did sign on to join us next week (Wed or Sat), just do whatever word count feels comfortable for you. We are all excited for anybody who shows up and writes any amount of words.

      I’m assuming you’re in Ireland. Which means you wouldn’t be on exactly the same time frame as the U.S. writers – but we have participants from overseas all the time so don’t let that stop you. 🙂

      Here’s the link if you want to check out the RSVP protocol:


      Cheers ~ Milli

  4. Liam Carton
    May 19, 2012 | 6:55 PM

    Ah, Milli,

    Sadly, no, but I have written plenty of technical documents, never the less, this book is a *real* book!

    No coding, or any other other technical ‘stuff’.

    I entered the annual Listowel Irish writer’s competition some years ago, and caught the bug of writing from the heart (got a commendation for my story).

    So this book is my choices. The two weeks, it is not a deadline. I have completed 80% of it over the last 2 months, so I (g)estimate the rest will take me another two weeks. At that point, I plan to leave it to ‘ferment’ for a couple of weeks, then go back to edit it, one last time.

    I cannot imagine that anyone will ever ‘officially’ publish it as it is FAR too political, for it not to be *censored*.

    Still, I did not write it to make money. I feel like Eric Blair (oh the ego of it!), in a way, this book chose me to write it, and I had to accept that fact.

    Anyhow, I split my time maybe 50/50 between the book and my programming.

    The code keeps me sane, and the book drives me crazy. Yeah, I know, that makes me sound a little schizoid. But what ever!

    And, no (sadly) I no longer live in Ireland. I am stuck here in Belgium. Well, it is green, and it rains a lot, so it isn’t too bad ;-)))

    Anyhow, your kind comments have convinced me: I will pledge the following (OK, it is not quite what it is all about, but none the less:) I will aim to do two days (yes, a whole 2 days) of 5k per day on BOTH the 23rd and the 26th!

    The Saturday is going to be very hard, as my son will be coming over to stay with me, but I will try, I promise.

    And with that, I shall leave you, and as my childhood hero used to say “Thank you, and may your God go with you!”

    Truly, the best regards. And thank you for making me feel like it still counts!


  5. Fear of Writing
    Twitter: fearofwriting
    May 21, 2012 | 4:10 PM

    “The code keeps me sane, and the book drives me crazy.” Too funny!

    Thanks for coming back to share a little about your book and your writing. That’s beautiful about the commendation at the Listowel Irish writer’s competition. I’m glad it inspired you to continue.

    I’m thrilled to hear you plan to participate in this month’s 10K Days! Don’t forget to join us on the check-in page and post your updates roughly every two hours. That will remind you to take a break (one of the practical secrets for hanging in there all day) and get you in the groove with the camaraderie, which is one of the best things about the 10K Day.

    Just go to the home page of the blog on Wed Belgium time whenever you’re ready to start your writing day and it will be the top post.

    See you there!

    ~ Milli

    P.S. If you can’t make it on Saturday bcuz of your son visiting, fair enough. Family comes first. 🙂

  6. Liam Carton
    May 21, 2012 | 8:49 PM

    Hi, again Milli,

    It is great to hear back from you!

    And I’m glad you liked the humour 😉 Hey, it is our stock in trade!

    I have just started a new company, so I will probably be a little late in joining the compo. But, as the great man said: ‘better late than never’!

    I have just completed my first day at the new job, and I am completely banjaxed! But I still managed to put down another 7 pages (oh boy, is that all?!?).

    Despite the fatigue, I feel strangely enervated. If I can just put in these two, good solid days, then I think the book will be done this week!

    Sure, I will still need a few days to edit it, once I’m done. But the that feeling of ‘completion’ will do me proud, if you know what I mean.

    There is something truly empowering about setting yourself a goal, and then sticking to it! (Yeah, if I can actually manage it!)

    I cannot thank you enough for giving me that extra little push, to get me through it all.

    And so, once again, an little Irish aphorism: “May you be in heaven at least a half an hour before the devil even knows that you are dead.”

    Thanks again for all your support.


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