As I write this, I’m sitting at the front of a classroom on the last day of the Pennwriters Conference. I’ve been tasked with leading a writing sprint.
For those who don’t know what that is, the writing sprint is a concept that has been around for ages with different names. But the fabulous late Ramona DeFelice Long made it a “thing.” She created variously named Facebook groups where members logged in and pledged to write for an hour or set a word or page goal.
|Ramona (far right) with a few of her regular sprinters|
And then we unplug. No email. No online research. Nothing but one hour of writing. One. Hour.
A lot of us often think we don’t have time to write. We need large blocks of time, and without that large block of time, why bother?
Ramona proved this wrong. With a focused, no-distraction hour—ONE HOUR—a day, we can create a novel in a year or less. When I was struggling to meet my deadlines of my early contracts, these one-hour sprints saved my bacon. I honestly believe I’d have never completed those first books without Ramona and her sprints.
Eventually, that one sacred hour of writing time became ingrained in my DNA. Now, I write multiple sprints per day. But I still like the concept of one hour. By then, my Fitbit is buzzing, so I get up and stretch, walk around, rest my eyes…and then I sit back down and write for another hour.
Of course, I can’t always do these multiple sprints. Some days, life has other plans. But I still sign in on Ramona’s Sprint Club’s page and sit down at my computer for one hour. Afterward, I can go about my tasks and obligations, content that I’ve put words on the page. Content that I’ve made progress on the WIP. Content that I’ve kept my head in the story.
Maybe for you, an hour is more time than you have in a day. That’s okay. Make it a half hour. Make it fifteen minutes! The idea is to simply create a period of time EVERY DAY. Your writing time is sacred. Those emails can wait. The online research rabbit holes can wait.
Here’s the thing: if you decide you only have fifteen minutes, and you sit down to write, when you come up for air, you might discover you’ve been there for much longer.
For those of you who aren’t writers, this same trick can work for whatever passion you have that you don’t have time for.
For those of you who ARE writers, do you set aside a sacred hour (or half hour or quarter hour) each day?
And if you feel this is something that might work for you, join us at Ramona’s Sprint Club!