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What is a Writing Sprint?

Writing sprints are all the rage with writers and authors. It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or non-fiction. They work whatever genre or sub-genre you write. 

A writing sprint is a closely focused period of time spent writing. Some writers do twenty-minute sprints. Others prefer half an hour or forty minutes. Most authors find that their words start running dry after this time period, but some keep going for an hour. There’s no right or wrong in this. Writers are human too (honestly!) and we are all different.

The benefit of writing in sprints is that it makes you get the words out. You know what happens to your writing time otherwise. You stare at the screen for ten minutes. Then you get up for a cup of tea. Then you decide to edit what you wrote yesterday (big mistake). You change three words. Then you change them back.

Or you decide you’re going to write the scene, produce twenty words, then go down a research rabbit hole about something. You spend an hour on websites searching for the perfect name for a character you’ve just invented.

You meant to get loads of writing done, didn’t you? You’ve got maybe another couple of hundred words to show for it. At this rate, you’ll be ninety before you complete this book.

How do I know this? Because I do it too. If I don’t sit down and set a timer, I’m done for.

How to do a Writing Sprint

Sprints are easy to do on your own. Decide what you’re writing and what you want to achieve (this fight scene between your Lead and Opposition; that arrival scene on the planet Norbling). Set a timer for a realistic period. Nothing fancy required – just your phone. Write for that period of time. When the time is up, check your progress against your goal. 

Maybe you’ve achieved your writing goal entirely. Maybe you managed half the scene. It doesn’t matter. Progress is progress. Let yourself feel good about it. Give yourself a reward or a break (that cup of tea; put the washing on if you care about such things). If your day allows it, come back and do another sprint, then another and another. It depends on your schedule/children/work/dog/mother-in-law and so on.

Sprints don’t have to be lonely…

I’m fortunate to collaborate with the fabulous author Hazel Hitchins (writing as Siwan Freeman) in my Facebook group, The Storytellers’ Academy. Hazel runs group sprints to help everyone in there get those words down. My new association with Hazel means that I can offer these wonderful sprint sessions as a bonus to members of my Storytellers Elite group or to writers who purchase one of my courses on Teachable – these routes are how you get invited into The Storytellers’ Academy.

The Storytellers’ Academy

I keep this Facebook group quite small. It’s a space where writers feel safe to share their early drafts, to celebrate their wins, to get feedback (I run weekend challenges) and to be part of a supportive community of writers who care about writing.

Writing doesn’t have to be lonely.

Joining Storytellers Elite gives you the accountability, guidance and community you’ve been looking for. If you're a writer with long term goals, find out how to become a member. Or you can join in as a guest at our next monthly online meeting to try it out first.