I am struggling for time again. I missed my writespiration by a day last week, and I am writing this post far too late on Sunday night. Time is a constant problem for me. How do I balance, full time employment, with being a mum, wife, keeping a house, trying to stay fit and healthy so I don’t have a heart attack, write novels, and keep a blog? Basically I can’t, much as I like to think it, I am not actually super woman.
I’ve written before about being more efficient as a writer, 10 Life Hacks For The Efficient Writer. But with the onset of some sleepless nights with our toddler I am waning more than somewhat. Posts are late or, non existent and so is my motivation. So my writing BFF Ali and I have been trying something new together. Sprint writing.
How do you sprint write?
- Get a timer or stop watch
- Choose a time you want to sprint for. Note – for best results choose a time UNDER 20 minutes. This is for various reasons. I’ve tried half hour and hour long sprints, but I’ve found I slow down part way through, I start to edit and my mind wonders. The shorter the time, the harder and faster I can sustain the burn for! I usually choose 10-15 minutes.
- Write. Hard and fast. No editing, no stopping. Worry about editing and corrections after you finish.
- Repeat – for best results, repeat 15 minutes sprints 4 times. (sounds like a recipe now!)
- As an added incentive – sprint with a buddy. It applies just that little bit extra pressure to ensure you stay focused, because someone will want to know your word count at the end.
Over the course of a normal hour, I will write maybe 6-700 words. In the course of a 15 minute sprint, I can write 350-400 words. Multiply that by 4 sprints in one hour (ok just over an hour when you take a couple minute break) and at worst I have 1400 words, at best 1600. Over double my usual rate of writing. Even with editing, this is still a faster pace than I can normally achieve.
The best bit for me is, you don’t get distracted by social media, because you don’t have time. I am a slave to social media, so this distraction free writing is ideal, and massively productive.
I am competitive, I like to beat myself, constantly. So each sprint I write faster and faster. I set target word counts that are just a few words out of reach, and then type at the speed of light to break them.
What I love about this is that it is perfect for people with no time. What’s your work break like? I get a half hour lunch – thats two sprints. 700 words before I even get home and get my laptop out. 3,500 words over the course of a weeks lunch breaks… that’s a chapter and a half of a novel…! I dare you to tell me you don’t need sprints in your life! :p
Somehow, Adultland has made it to over 11,600 words because of sprint writing in the last couple of weeks. I have also made the decision to write it as a novel. So I have been busy editing the first three chapters and writing considerably more. I honestly think, sprint writing will enable me to finish the first draft before the year is out. Given that it took me almost a year to write my first novel, three months is some going.
Try it out. Let me know if it works for you. How do you find more writing time in your day?