When the words don’t want to flow, a word sprint can help. Here’s how they work:
- Set a timer for 15-30 minutes.
- Write as fast as you can without breaks or backspacing until the timer goes off.
- Repeat whenever you want!
For writers short on time, regardless of fiction or non-fiction form, word sprints challenge you to focus on output and work those cobwebs out. Freeflow writing without criticizing yourself forces you to concentrate on your story, remembering that revision comes later.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It shouldn’t be if you’re in the first draft stage, either. You can compete with friends or use the NaNoWordSprints Twitter account to keep you accountable. Or just do it on your own.
Word sprints originated from the NaNoWriMo event, an annual competition celebrating National Novel Writing Month. But you don’t have to write a novel to participate in sprints. Simply adapt them to your needs and write. I enjoy them because it forces me to work on my main work-in-progress without self-editing and ongoing critique. I won’t look at any of my sprint-work until much later. The only thing I double-check is that my sprint pieces flow together, since I’m using them for my book (picking up where I left off from my last sprint). But you don’t have to do that! A sprint’s beauty is in its flexibility.
Feel free to check back in and let me know if you sprinted! I hope you enjoy today’s challenge–check back next week for another one.