So we did it. We wrote, we stayed awake, and we did it. A full twenty-four hours of writing.
That makes it sound so easy, doesn’t it? Staying up all night and writing. It’s something we’ve all done on occasion. Three in the morning is a good time to quit when the muses are singing. Even five in the morning when the sun still isn’t up is a good time to throw in the towel and get some sleep. But we pushed past all that and attempted to keep going through the ungodly hour of six, when the sun still hadn’t made an appearance, and right the way through until lunch time.
It wasn’t easy.
In preparation for staying up all night I did a test run. Not with the writing, but with the staying awake. I saw dawn come in and felt fine. But all I had done all night was stare at the television and talk to people. I hadn’t had to think. So this in no way prepared me for the write in.
Now we all started off strong. Excitement filled the air as we counted the minutes until we started. The shout went out that midday was upon us, and it was all heads down, fingers tapping away.
An hour in and we all cheered! One hour down! We’d done an hour!
Hour two and we were still on track. Two down, and we didn’t care how many left to go. The adrenaline was still racing through us, spurring on our fingers, bringing forth the words. Even at three hours and four we were still excited and racing away.
When it got to the six hour in mark, we all heaved a sigh of relief. One quarter of the way down.
Then things start to get somewhat blurry. Nine hours in we ordered food, ate it faster than anything I’ve ever seen, and went back to writing. At midnight we raised our glasses and toasted to the half way point as it passed us by.
But three hours later and we all started to lose it. We’d been sat for hours, staring at a screen, willing forward words of brilliance. And it was starting to show. Still we carried on, forcing the words, relying on the dares to get past those dreaded humps, referring to notes as though they were the only way forward and without them we would perish.
For the most part it worked. Until the lack of sleep set in and the realisation that the sun hadn’t even come up had us all watching out the window waiting for the faint shadows of light to filter down.
Now, we’d only been at it for seventeen hours, and most of us have stayed up for that long in the past without any problems. I remember days of twelve hour shifts when I was working. I remember coming home and vegging in front of the television for an hour or so and then going to bed.
So what was different here? Well, we’d all been up to get to the café. We all had to get there before it started in order to set up and claim our seats. So there was already a couple of hours on the total for number of hours we’d been awake. And then there is the big thing. The one that really kicked us all in the teeth and left us bleeding.
We were having to concentrate. We had no breaks. We had no veg time in front of a television. We had nothing but writing and concentration. Slowly but surely this killed out brains. It took our sanity and wandered off with it at such a leisurely pace that we thought we were along for the ride, only to realise later that we’d been getting left behind from the start.
Enter the hallucinations. Dancing squirrels. Foot tall men wandering around on the windowsills. And a pigeon.
That was before the sun came up. Once the light had finally made an attempt to get up and remind us that we should have been sleeping, the hysteria set in. For me that meant sitting in a sleeping back, curled over my laptop, alternating every few seconds between laughing and crying.
Thanks to several hugs, I pushed through it and carried on.
We all did. Through all of our tears, clock watching, writer’s block, and everything else the night through at us, we all pushed through.
Our combined final word count? 140,000 words. In a day. Between eight pople.
My word count? 51,233 of which I am very proud.
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