The Education of Intern Sara: Writing Discoveries
My First Writing Sprint, Actually, My First Six
The last time the Undead Duo, plus one (that’s me) met, I received a piece of writing advice from the lovely Julie Hutchings. She introduced me to the concept of writing sprints, told me the various options and suggested I give it a try.
I had never heard of writing sprints and had lots of questions. Well, it turns out that you can use social media, usually Twitter, to gather a group of writers who write at the same time, for a set amount of time. Sometimes a writing prompt is given and you as a writer can chose to use it as inspiration or work on your current project. When the sprint ends, everyone reports back with their word count and cheers each other on. I was completely intrigued by this idea, and decided that this was something I definitely needed to try and so I did.
I may not have known what a writing sprint was a couple of weeks ago, but I can preach the gospel about them now. Writing sprints are the greatest gift that social media has given me to date. The greatest.
Last Saturday, I decided that I was ready to do this writing-sprint-thing. I got on Twitter and searched out #writeclub, #writingsprint, and #nanowordsprints. I can’t remember what time I went on but I felt like I had missed all of the writing sprints and I was committed to sprinting then and there. I decided to just go for it and lead one of my own. I’m not sure that I did it exactly right, but I invited the Twitter Universe to join me for a one-hour sprint and told them the start time. A lovely writer accepted my invitation and I was ready to go. I had 15 minutes to myself before my first foray into writing with a stranger so I pulled up my document, got a snack, and found a Will & Grace marathon to keep me company.
I’m not quite sure that I led the sprint correctly. I probably didn’t give enough warnings and I’m not sure I even hash-tagged it correctly but I figure, whatever I did worked. For one blissful hour I was writing, I knew that I had company, and nothing could distract me. It felt great to know that I was doing this with someone else but at the same time I enjoyed all of the benefits of working by myself. No one could complain that my audio-cocktail of music and television dialogue was distracting them, or that they hated my choice of music and no one paid attention when I got up half way through to get some cheese and crackers. No one even knew that I was doing those things because I WAS BY MYSELF. It was FANTASTIC!!! I would liken it to the rush you get when you start writing a 20 page paper at 2am knowing it’s due at 9am. I was working with the rush of knowing I only had so much time and had a lot to accomplish and that my writing buddy would expect a respectable word count. I ended up with 1098 words and it may well have been the most enjoyable writing I’ve done so far. With this great first experience under my belt, I decided to do nothing but sprints for the week. I released myself from my self-imposed 1500 word-a-day diet and just watched to see what would happen. I decided to mix it up by leading some sprints, following some, doing a couple in the morning, a couple in the evening… And these are the results (so far).
Saturday 1098 words
Sunday 666 words
Monday 1180 words and then another 1991 words
Tuesday 784 words
Wednesday 558 words
Thursday 1047 words
The total for 6 days was 7324 words. That’s about 1220 words a day. Not too far off from my usual goal but far more enjoyable. I’m certain that if I had regular sprinting buddies, I could easily get my 1500 words. So now that I’ve officially professed my love for word sprints, I invite you to join me. You can find me on Twitter. @sarachaudhary.