Some writers can sit down with pen & paper or a computer, & just… write. They can write many, many pages & be proud of their accomplishments. Others, like me, have a real hard time with concentration. We get distracted by social media & T.V, we fall down internet rabbit holes researching middle age apothecaries even though we only needed enough info for one paragraph. At the end of the day… we don’t get much writing done. Sometimes we need a little help.
This is where writing sprints come in handy. If you weren’t aware, writing sprints are little sessions that you time – could be 10 minutes, 20, or even half an hour – you set a timer for a short period where you can switch off all distractions & focus only on writing for that time. Doing it for a short period allows you to remain focused but not for so long that your concentration dwindles.
You can surprisingly fit a lot of words into a 15 minute writing sprint. I completed a sprint before writing this post & managed to write almost 550 words in 15 minutes! Success! It was over so quickly it didn’t even feel like work. If we think about it… I could do a 15 minute writing sprint once every hour if I really wanted too. I tend to begin ‘work’ once my son is at school & try to do some in the evening before chilling. If I do a sprint every hour between 9am & 8pm… that’s 5k in one day! A crazy word count that I could never achieve simply trying to write all day (believe me I know, because I’ve tried).
Obviously it’s not always practical to sprint every hour – life gets busy, we have to cook dinner, & do housework etc. but it’s super plausible to take 4 x 15 minute breaks in a day which would give me 2000 words – a pretty decent word count for most writers.
So if you struggle to sit & actually get words down, give writing sprints a go. They obviously aren’t for everyone but they are pretty handy. If you have writer friends (whether online or close by) get them involved! Hold sprints together, set yourself a timer & talk about what you’ve written once you’re done. Not only does it help to have other writers joining in, but you can support one another with feedback, emotional support, & ideas.
Prior to starting your sprint it’s good to take a minute to read the last paragraph or so, remind yourself what has just happened & take a moment to think of your first sentence so that when that timer starts you can dive straight in. It’s super important to begin immediately as the sprint itself is so short.
So give it a go, I’d love to know your thoughts on sprints – do they help you? Do you complete sprints alone or together? Do you hate writing sprints? Let me know in the comments!