4 Reasons Why Sprinting is the New Writing

4 Reasons Why Sprinting Is the New WritingI am struggling for time again. I missed my writespiration by a day last week, and I am writing this post far too late on Sunday night. Time is a constant problem for me. How do I balance, full time employment, with being a mum, wife, keeping a house, trying to stay fit and healthy so I don’t have a heart attack, write novels, and keep a blog? Basically I can’t, much as I like to think it,Β I am not actually super woman.

I’ve written before about being more efficient as a writer, 10 Life Hacks For The Efficient Writer. But with the onset of some sleepless nights with our toddler I am waning more than somewhat. Posts are late or, non existent and so is my motivation. So my writing BFF Ali and I have been trying something new together. Sprint writing.

How do you sprint write?

  1. Get a timer or stop watch
  2. Choose a time you want to sprint for. Note – for best results choose a time UNDER 20 minutes. This is for various reasons. I’ve tried half hour and hour long sprints, but I’ve found I slow down part way through, I start to edit and my mind wonders. The shorter the time, the harder and faster I can sustain the burn for! I usually choose 10-15 minutes.
  3. Write. Hard and fast. No editing, no stopping. Worry about editing and corrections after you finish.
  4. Repeat – for best results, repeat 15 minutes sprints 4 times. (sounds like a recipe now!)
  5. As an added incentive – sprint with a buddy. It applies just that little bit extra pressure to ensure you stay focused, because someone will want to know your word count at the end.

REASON ONE

Over the course of a normal hour, I will write maybe 6-700 words. In the course of a 15 minute sprint, I can write 350-400 words. Multiply that by 4 sprints in one hour (ok just over an hour when you take a couple minute break) and at worst I have 1400 words, at best 1600. Over double my usual rate of writing. Even with editing, this is still a faster pace than I can normally achieve.

REASON TWO

The best bit for me is, you don’t get distracted by social media, because you don’t have time. I am a slave to social media, so this distraction free writing is ideal, and massively productive.

REASON THREE

I am competitive, I like to beat myself, constantly. So each sprint I write faster and faster. I set target word counts that are just a few words out of reach, and then type at the speed of light to break them.

REASON FOUR

What I love about this is that it is perfect for people with no time. What’s your work break like? I get a half hour lunch – thats two sprints. 700 words before I even get home and get my laptop out. 3,500 words over the course of a weeks lunch breaks… that’s a chapter and a half of a novel…! I dare you to tell me you don’t need sprints in your life! :p

Somehow, Adultland has made it to over 11,600 words because of sprint writing in the last couple of weeks. I have also made the decision to write it as a novel. So I have been busy editing the first three chapters and writing considerably more. I honestly think, sprint writing will enable me to finish the first draft before the year is out. Given that it took me almost a year to write my first novel, three monthsΒ is some going.

Try it out. Let me know if it works for you. How do you find more writing time in your day?

46 comments

  1. Accepting your sprint writing challenge got me writing my new project, something I had actually found hard to get started on. Just write, you said, so I did. Normally, I edit as I go along, which really slows me, and actually offers up so many barriers to the writing process. I’m enjoying the sprints, and plan to use them regularly! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! The only thing that will remove that fear is tackling a major edit. Then you’ll see how fun it is, and how satisfying whipping that rampant wordy manuscript into a slick, polished novel ready for… gulp… formatting can be! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t normally sprint, but I have set timers for myself on days I was feeling more distracted than usual. Knowing you have a “deadline” just kind of scares your mind into getting the work done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh well I really hope it helps – the best bit for me is knowing I have someone to report to at the end of it – I don’t know if you have a writing buddy that would help like that, but its a major win for me. I hope it helps

      Like

      1. Hehe. I hid it under the more icon. (I think that’s the reblog button) Press the “W” and see what happens πŸ˜‰

        I had a few of my posts reblogged on strange websites that looked like all they did was reblog, so I hid it. Figured those who really want to reblog will find it. Or will ask.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes! You know I’ve been blogging about this. Wondering what to do. I’ve got to give this a try. It’s so crazy it might just work! πŸ˜‰ Brilliant, really. (I’ll let you know how it turns out.) I definitely need more writing time in my day and let’s not talk about ‘distracted by social media’. Good luck with the new novel! ❀ I have to go back and read the Adultland posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do. It’s true. I did think of you when I wrote that social media comment! Bloody social media. It’s so wonderful yet pesky at the same time. It is a bit mental, and its also DRAINING because you have to focus so intensely, and when you do the repeat sprints its really really knackering. BUT, you know what…. it bloody works!

      Ahh, don’t worry about reading them! I will only edit them into something decent anyway – they were all first draft type stuff!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Interestingly, I’ve been finding that in addition to writing, this approach works for other creative endeavors. I’m able to set 30 minutes stints for cutting fabrics for quilting, or sewing just a few seams. That constant search for the elusive block of time is what keeps us from moving forward. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great points here Sacha. We all feel smothered at times with the pressure we sometimes put on ourselves. Sprint writing sounds like a good plan. I personally like to plan my goals for each day, the night before. As I don’t have another job anymore (gratefully), I work at my writing at home every day, scheduling my time around ‘real life’ obligations and writing, reading, blogging etc. Whichever process we use, I believe it’s dedicated discipline that sustains our good habits. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thats seriously true – I always put ridiculous pressure on myself! which is crazy given the number of responsibilities I have at the minute, but you are right about goal setting, I think I will try that – doing it the night before – or maybe the week before πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on graemecummingdotnet and commented:
    It’s surprising how often you need to apply some psychology to yourself to get motivated. Sacha explains here a method she uses to make herself more productive as a writer. Although not quite the same, I think it’s worth sharing here my own technique for getting myself started.

    I am one of life’s great procrastinators, and tend to put things off until there’s a deadline. When it comes to sitting down and writing, I can also find lost of things to distract myself with – social media being high on the list. So when I do sit down to write – whether it’s a blog post, a review for my local theatre, or a story – I always have a note book beside me. And in that notebook I jot down the time. And below that time, I jot down the time in 5 minutes or 10 minutes (what can I say? I like variety), and repeat that for usually about an hour. So if the first time I write is 7:00, the last time will be 8:00. Then I start to write.

    At 7:10 (using the example above), I make a note of my word count. At 7:20, I do it again, and so forth. What always amazes me is how often the word count rises with each new 5/10 minute segment. And as that word count rises, so too does my sense of achievement and my motivation.

    It works for me, so it might also work for you. And so might Sacha’s approach. We’re all different, so it’s worth trying them both.

    Have fun with them

    Liked by 1 person

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