Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Writing Sprint by Annette Dashofy

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
Those groups eventually morphed into what is now Ramona’s Sprint Club. Before Ramona passed, she turned over the reins to Wende Dikec, who continues to host the group.

Wende posts a welcome message every morning at 7:00 a.m. The rest of us sign in when we can. Once we’ve said, “good morning,” some of us state what we’re working on or list a goal for the day.

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! 


  1. I love this club and that it works for so many writers. The fact that these writers are producing books I love is just an added bonus.

  2. Mark, the talent in the Sprint Club is amazing, isn't it??? I think Ramona is smiling down on us every single day.

  3. Right there with you in Ramona's sprint club! It's the best start to the writer's day I can possibly imagine. And the support from the community is amazing.

    I might add that some sprinters can't do the seven AM. They might check in at that time but sprint during their day job lunch hour. Or they're in a different time zone and check in at their own seven AM. It's all good, it all works.

  4. Absolutely, Edith. And there are those of us who jump in and start writing earlier and forget to check in until later as well.

  5. I'm glad this club is still going strong. Keep on sprinting and writing.

  6. I think somewhere Ramona is just tickled that "her writers" have kept the Sprint Club going. My hour varies, although it's usually the lunch hour. I don't think I'd get anything done without it.

  7. Good morning! I love Ramona's Sprint Club. Checking in every day keeps me on track!

  8. Dru, me too!

    Liz, I absolutely believe that.

    Martha, I hate to think what my writing life would be like had I not found this group.

  9. Just to note that post is 7:00 am Eastern time. That works great for me. I live in the Central Time Zone and am an earlier riser!

  10. I miss Ramona and her daily updates. Sprinting in 3..2..1

  11. Jim, yes, it's 7 eastern. But as has been pointed out, the time isn't important. What is is declaring one hour, whatever the time, to devote to writing.

    Margaret, I know. I miss Ramona every day.

  12. Inspiring post. However, I think I need more than a morning nudge--more like a stick of dynamite.

  13. Grace, I know that feeling well!

  14. Ramona left a huge legacy. I miss her to this day. I’m a member of the Sprint Club and sometimes I think that’s the only thing that keeps me getting words on the page. It’s so easy to fall down rabbit holes and get distracted by daily life. It’s important to note that you don’t have to devote that hour to writing. Editing, Continuity reading, research, all the bits that make up writing are appropriate. And for the times when words aren’t going to happen, cheering on your fellow sprinters is perfect.