Craft: Sprinting

Get ready, get set, go…… sprint! No, I don’t mean running but using sprint sessions to propel your writing forward.    

I have found especially in the last June Challenge organised by our lovely Sandie and Diane (50ks in 30 days Challenge), that sprinting sessions are a benefit to my writing. I can switch off the internal editor and go for it, and since I’m a pantser /flimmer/mister/freestyler – that is all right by me. It also fits into my routine (well my life I should say) and the way my mind works.

So how does it work? – well while I can do individual sprints, I have noticed it’s best when there is at least one other person sprinting at the same time (waves to the Bootcamp 101ers who did continue sprinting in July). The encouragement we give each other is a  real boost.

We meet in the relevant chat room, have a quick chat and set a time period for how long we want to sprint for – either 15 mins or 30 mins. We crack the whip! and away we go… That’s the whip in the chat room folks, I don’t know what you all were thinking. 😀

We sprint for the time period and come back to report. We may debrief and do some brainstorming and have a little chat, but usually we go for a second round.  Simple as that!

Because there is a start time and an end time it helps me move along and not waste time. I don’t look at emails, twitter, or other internet, & tell my family ‘I’m sprinting’ if they come into the room.

I managed over 17000 words in June, with my final week having a total of 10K. I finished off the first draft to my WIP in the first week of July and have been taking a break from first draft writing.  I do find it harder to edit in a sprint but have been known to try 🙂 but my first drafts seem to run smoother if I just chain up my internal editor. (La,la, la –  I can’t hear you internal editor!!!)

Once I’m in first draft mode again, I shall be on the track reading to sprint along.

What do you think of sprinting?

Leave a comment


  1. Nicky

     /  August 2, 2010

    Morning Eleni,

    I seem to be a bit of an odd duck as I don’t have that internal editor issue when writing. Making me go back is the struggle (hence I loathe the dirty draft –> first draft edits).

    I love the sprints for the social element. Writing can be so isolating that to have a bunch of people cracking whips and giving up wordcounts…I equate it to something akin to a sporting training session, where everyone is aiming for their personal best etc but in the company of others to support them through it.

    • So you actually need an internal editor when you go back to edit. I see the dirty draft like drawing the outline of a picture while the editing and polishing is the colouring in. 🙂

      Great analogy re the sporting training session Nicky.

  2. Morning Helen, great post!
    I think you’re right, sprinting can be very beneficial. My CP and I do them on occasion, but I’ve become good at sitting down and doing them myself anyway. And I find you can tell the difference in my writing, it seems to flow better when I’ve been spriting as my thoughts are continuous and not interupted by the types of things you mentioned, FB, twitter, email etc.
    I’m on the sprinting bandwagon! I love it.
    PS: this weekend, I got 7000 words written, mostly through sprints. I’m very pleased with myself. 😉

    • Woohoo – a sprinting success on the weekend Jess. Bravo! And you should be pleased with yourself 😉 I’m the same as you regarding the flow of the words – the brain just kicks up a gear and goes for it.

  3. Bec

     /  August 2, 2010

    Great topic Eleni. I love to sprint. I find that it helps me not feel i need a long stretch to be able to achieve something with the WIP.

  4. Hi Eleni.
    I really liked being a part of the 50k30d that RWA ran in June. I managed to finish my ms and start a new one. It was extremely helpful to walk away from Twitter and FB to just write, and knowing someone else was doing the same and totals were told afterwards, made me all the more focused. 😉
    Looking forward to Nov!

    • Fantastic job during June, Tam. I think it really is a time when people say – no, would love to chat but have to go write. Social networking can really take up time.

  5. Malvina

     /  August 2, 2010

    What an awesome – and yet fabulously simple – writing tool! Thankyou!

  6. Love the concept, Helen. I hadn’t thought of like that before, but sprinting may well be my normal writing habit…

    I’ve done NaNoWriMo for the last few years and it is by far the most productive month of the year for me. I end up spending 30 days snatching writing moments where I can. It does becomes more of marathon than a sprint by the end, but it works!

  7. You know, Eleni, I reckon this is the first time I”ve heard about sprinting in a writing sense other than my usual manic rush to deadline! Where have I been?

    Sounds like a fabulous tool to have in the writer’s toolkit and a great way to stay on track, especially when you can do it with a fellow writer.

    Thank you!

    And now it’s back to the wip and the deadline – le puff, le pant!

    • Really Trish? I echo your question – where have you been? 😉 Seriously I think I’ve used it for the last two Junes but more this past one. And it worked a treat. So I guess I better stick to it.

      Good luck with your deadline! 🙂

  8. Anita Joy

     /  August 3, 2010

    Coming in late (sorry Eleni), but I LURV to sprint. It’s social, fun and great for my word count. Looking forward to Nov when hopefully the winter ills won’t stop me from making it like they did this past June.

  9. Yay another fan. (And don’t be sorry for being late). See you on the sprinting track then 🙂

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