Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today. Hope you’re enjoying this chilly, um, frigid February. Perfect weather for staying indoors to write.
You’re near the end. You can see the end in sight. You want so badly to cross the finish line and celebrate having the first draft of your manuscript completed.
But there are obstacles in the way. Life doesn’t stop because you’re a writer. There are family obligations and some of us work full-time jobs. Most of us blog and connect with readers and other writers through various forms of social media. And if you’re like me, you enjoy reading and want to build time into your schedule for that.
Is it any wonder we often stumble?
I’m nearing the end of a long-overdue 80K plus manuscript. I planned to finish the first draft sometime last year, but it didn’t happen.
Despite my eagerness to complete this project, there are times when I simply don’t want to write. This usually happens when I come to a hard-to-write scene. I know what I want to say but getting it done is another matter. It doesn’t help that I tend to edit as I go and want to get things pretty much right the first time.
A few weeks ago, I had a holiday, and I planned to pen a lot of words. My husband and I had some morning errands to take care of that morning. Naturally, these things took longer than planned. Before I knew it, it was already 3:30 in the afternoon and I hadn’t written ONE SINGLE WORD.
Not good. But instead of opening Scrivener, I started
chatting commiserating with Staci via social media. Neither of us had made our word count for the day. But then she challenged me to a writing sprint. An hour later, I’d written over 1300 words and she had written over 1700.
Writing sprints are great ways to achieve your goals. You can do them on your own or partner up with another writer or group of writers. Here’s a few tips to help you be successful.
- Set aside a specific amount of time to write. It can be thirty minutes, an hour, or even two hours. I don’t recommend longer than two hours, because we all need to take breaks to stretch our legs and clear our minds. I usually set one-hour increments.
- Tune out everything. Don’t answer your phone, turn off all message notifications, and stay away from social media and the internet. Resist the urge to stop in order to look up a word or research a particular item. I’ve been known to go down a lot of rabbit trails this way and end up not accomplishing anything. If you don’t know the word you want to use, just type a blank space, then go back and fill it in later.
- Don’t edit. Just write. Easier said than done for some of us but the goal is to get the words down.
- Having a partner or partners is helpful but remember you aren’t in competition with one another. They are there to cheer you on and vice-versa. If you only write 1000 words and your partner writes 2000, it’s okay. He or she may be at a different level of experience and some people are naturally faster at writing than others.
- Do not chat with your partners until the designated time is up. Then it’s time to share your success.
- If you do a sprint without someone else, challenge yourself to write more words than your last one.
A few writing sprints interspersed throughout your day can help you achieve big results. Before you know it, you’re crossing the finish line.
How about you? Have you ever done a writing sprint with someone? On your own? What tips would you offer?