NaNo: The Writing Sprint

I mentioned earlier this month that I had a rough start, plugging away blindly nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantusing an unfinished story as a guide. Then I hit a dead end. Being Sagittarius, I work best with a goal, so shot my imaginary arrow, and I wrote a more detailed outline during a writing sprint.

New to me.

I’ve been doing a fair share of online write-ins and I discovered sprinting. I’m sure most of you know what it is. For those of you that don’t, it is a period of time when you write nonstop. Some measure time like the NaNoWriMo Sprint Page and others measure word count like Write or Die.

Either way, it is just short bursts of writing which you can do throughout an hour, an afternoon, or over a day.

What to do.

Set the time for 500 wordsβ€”about 20 minutesβ€”and write until you’re done.

I’m finding it much easier than doing the daily word count all at once. I give myself five to ten minutes between sprints to regroup.

drug-1300052_640As of today, I’ve managed a new record of 29k and don’t feel the usual exhaustion. Not only that, but my story seems to be more coherent and I’m sticking to my plotline.

Not sure what’s going on, but I like it.

What have you been doing that works? Any tips I should incorporate into my daily routine?

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36 responses to “NaNo: The Writing Sprint

  1. I’m glad you found something that works for you, Anna. Go girl!!

  2. Sprinting would never work for me. My thoughts just aren’t organized enough. And it wouldn’t be long before I hit a spot where I’d know I took a wrong turn, a mistake that would mean everything I wrote after that point would have to be totally tossed, so there wouldn’t be any point in writing any more until I fixed that spot.

    Glad it helps you out, though.

    • It really does. I do the same thing where I go off base, but it is only 500 words so I try again instead of going in the wrong direction 2k or more.

      I think you’re right though. I’m writing more coherently these days and it helps when sprinting.

  3. I am on Team Holly this time around in NaNo. I have found timed writing stifling a bit, but Holly created a e-Chat where we can join in all together at same time and this group timed writing is fun. I have found that motivating and helpful. I am now reconsidering trying timed writing for myself again I have had Write to Die thru several versions and used it off and on but did not find I would stick with it, so may pull the program out again and try again.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • I think when doing anything, being in a group makes it more fun. And I don’t know if I’ll peter out after a few months or not. I guess when it comes to that only time will tell. πŸ™‚

  4. The writing life is not a sprint but a marathon; not a fad diet but a lifestyle. One page carefully crafted daily will create the best novel you can make in a year. But NaNo is a grand way for writers to bond and feel not quite so alone. Go with what works for you. Best of fun, Roland

  5. Hi Anna. The only tip I can think of right now is to go and visit Chrys Fey’s blog. She’s got a pdf of 100 marketing tools to giveaway to everyone. Thanks for your tips. I’m going to give them a try.

  6. Sorry about that, brain tired. About NaNo, I would write freehand, as you say, then when I got stuck, I’d sit quietly and play what I had so far like a video in my head. I’d let it move past where I left off until it couldn’t play any longer. It won’t maintain the momentum but you can speed type thru it, maybe? Also read Alex Sokoloff’s blog. She teaches NaNo sprint writing.

  7. We did something similar to this when I was in school. It really was effective.

  8. Different strokes for different folks. Glad it’s working for you.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  9. Glad you found something that is working for you!

  10. Write or Die is hilarious and really helpful for some people. That’s cool that sprints are helping you. I try to just start writing right when I get home from work so I’m still in “work mode”. For me, that works. And this year music is helping me, because my story relates to a particular band.

  11. I sort of do both. I don’t set short time goals, but I have a time period and during that time, even with a break added in, I try to write up to a certain word count.

  12. Interesting. I haven’t tried that approach, but it sounds like a winner. I like to dive in and stay…probably because it’s so hard to get there in the first place. =)

  13. Excellent, Anna! I sometimes do something similar – set myself a half hour and write as fast and as much as I can in that time. It usually helps me get unstuck, and at the very least, I get some words in. πŸ™‚

  14. I like word sprints too. Find it easier to do a bunch of word sprints throughout the day. It’s less daunting than looking at a blank page and wondering how you’ll fill it it 1,666+ words.

  15. I’ve been doing timed sprints for a while. They’re so helpful in keeping me focused on writing, and it also guarantees that I’ll get some words in every day, even if I’m too tired/busy to write a lot.

  16. Wow, good on you, Anna! I love it when I feel that rush of productivity. Isn’t this job the best in the world! Keep going πŸ˜€

  17. Way to go! That’s awesome. Word sprints do work. I’ve incorporated them into my routine too. I also find chocolate or cookies a good motivator. πŸ™‚

If you're new to writing, ask me anything and if you're experienced, feel free to share what you know. Learning something new in the craft is always welcome.

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