Over the weekend, I participated in a couple of "writing sprints" with other writers on Twitter. Stuff like this is one of the many reasons I've fallen quite in love with the Twitter #amwriting community. Not only have I found a lot of opportunities for query contests, but I've found a query critique partner, connected with other writers for beta reading swaps, and now...the sprints.
To be honest, I found it a little difficult to write last month. June was outrageously busy at work, which was great for my budget but not so awesome for making the time to write. And I do mean "making." Over the last two years I've learned that I am a couch potato at heart, and if I try to rely on "finding" the time to write (like an extra couple of hours in the day is just hiding under a rock in my yard) I never seem to manage to do it. Not when there are agents to research and submissions to obsess over. Not when I have a pile of books to read and an entire season of Jessica Jones to catch up on. No, if I want to write, I have to set aside time. I have to prioritize it over socializing, over video games, and even over cleaning my house. (Not that I mind that last one.)
But sometimes I only have a small amount of time to set aside. Maybe an hour in the morning, or two hours just before bed. Sometimes, only a half an hour while I'm downing a sandwich. Writing sprints have really come in handy, especially if I follow this simple rule:
- No distractions!
No distractions means no going down Wikipedia rabbit holes while "researching" ancient blacksmithing techniques or the frequency of meteor showers, no social media, no music unless I really need it to feel like I'm wherever the scene takes place. To accomplish this I have to do a few things...
- Close every program on my computer except for Scrivener
- Shut off my laptop's wifi connection
- Hide my cell phone in the kitchen
And I have to just sit down and WRITE.
This is why I love writing sprints, especially if I'm doing one at the same time as another writer on Twitter. It makes me feel accountable, like I have to really buckle down and focus because I know someone else out there--a teammate--is doing the same thing. I don't want to let down the team.
If you're ever looking for a writing sprint partner, tweet me! Or tweet using the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter and let folks out there know when you'll be sprinting, in case anyone wants to join you.
And just so all of you out there can help keep me honest: work has slowed back down to the usual amount of craziness (which is still a lot, but much more manageable), so I'm now able to dedicate big, luxurious, multi-hour blocks of time to writing each day. My current goal is to finish the 1st draft of my work-in-progress by the end of July. So...help keep me honest!