Sprinting for Words

From time to time you might see me using Twitter hashtags for #writeclub or #1k1hr, or you might just see me refer to “word sprints” – all three of these things have the same basic meaning.

  • Set a timer.
  • Write like the wind.
  • Count how many words you have written in the given time.
  • Report that word count back to the group of writers doing the same thing with you.

The idea of a word sprint is to get down as many words as possible without agonizing over the quality of the tale. It’s a rough drafting technique, and it’s more about getting to the page.  It assumes heavy revision will follow.   This is similar to the month-long exercises of NaNoWriMo, but much shorter bursts, and much more isolated process.

I like it because it is done in bite-sized chunks of time.   I like it because there is a teamwork feel to doing this with other writers on Twitter. I also like it because it gets me to the page for concentrated periods of time.

One kind of word sprint is available via Write or Die, but I don’t need that much pressure. The friendly social support and pressure available on Twitter are enough.

In case you’r wondering, #WriteClub is organized by @FriNightWrites – it goes on every Friday evening (because writers have no social lives?). 30 minute sprints with 10 minute breaks and a ton of zany Twitter people joining in.

1K1Hr stands for 1,000 words in one hour, and can be shouted out at any time by anyone. “I’m doing a 1k1hr at the :00 anyone joining me?” is a common tweet.

This is how I know my average writing pace, (and also why I get frustrated when I delete stuff as I go and net out with sprint counts of 200 words or so).

I like sprinting for words. I do well at it. I just need to keep doing my training jogs, too.


3 thoughts on “Sprinting for Words

  1. Tremendously effective technique. I’d tried it on my own several times with varied success. But there’s nothing like community effort (and a smidge of friendly competition?) to push me along. So glad I found this…and you!

    Cheers…and Happy Writing!

  2. NaNoWriMo writers do the same thing to help each other keep on track during the month. We call them “Word Wars” because we’re also desperately trying to beat the other person.

    I’ve always liked them because I don’t work at a steady pace. I zone and I think even while the word document is open. Calling it a word war (or sprint) gives me permission to take breaks and then buckle down and then take breaks again.

  3. Pingback: Novel ideas | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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