Monday, 18 November 2019
Writing Sprints - The Creative Process
I feel like I've been living under a rock because for a long time, while I knew about writing sprints, I didn't really think they did much. I'd never tried them and kinda saw them more as another solitary part of writing that didn't appeal to me. And then, while on a deadline and needing to finish the chapter I was on, I hopped on youtube and joined a livestream chat where sprints were going on.
And boom! My mind was opened to the whole thing, and it allowed me to get a bunch of words written, finish the chapter and still have some time spare. And it just opened my eyes to the whole process. I didn't partake in the chat, but it was there if I wanted it. On top of that, having a whole group of other people trying to do the same thing I was, was empowering in a way I hadn't realised before.
So what are writing sprints and where do you find them? The first is an easy answer, writing sprints are basically when a group of writers get together and set a timer with the plan to write as many words as they can in that time. It's a fun activity and can help you connect with writing buddies, find a writing family and are especially useful during NaNoWriMo and other times when you want that personal connection, but also need to get some words written.
Where do you find them? ALL over the internet! From Twitter to YouTube and beyond. I'm sure there are loads on Discord too, though it's not a platform that I've been able to use to any success because it slows my computer down. However, when you find some good ones, you'll usually discover that there's a schedule as to when they're posted and how often. You'll get the occasional people who livestream often, and then those who only do it for special occasions, but however you find your writing buddies sprints are a super helpful resource.
Here are some of the reasons I can think of as to why they are helpful!
#1 - WRITING IS USUALLY LONELY
Generally speaking, most people who write do so alone. There's always exceptions to that rule, but I'm thinking mostly of myself and the writers that I know. We might have a loved one with us if we're writing in bed or at home, but the act of writing is done in solitude. Sprints and livestreams make you connect with people who have a common goal. The internet has made it so easy for people to bridge the gaps over the miles between them and make good friends who they can then write with online. This is a HUGE positive!
#2 - COMPETING WITH YOURSELF HELPS PRODUCTIVITY
It's not just the thought of beating yourself in the writing sprint, but having people around you to celebrate when you do. Yes, you can compete against the others in the sprint, but so long as it's a nice and friendly one, there shouldn't be a problem. Overall, being around people who are excited and happy about your project will make you want to write more, and not doing it alone, will add to that.
#3 - CHATTING IT THROUGH CAN HELP WORK OUT PLOT HOLES
Let's face it, there will be times when you can't think of what happens next, or how to deal with a plot hole, and having other writers, who completely get that, is going to help you move forward. I'm not someone who really suffers from writer's block any more. I used to be, and I did a piece about that here, though I plan to update that in the new year, but my point is, that having people to talk things through with both adds to the enjoyment and gives you a chance to talk it through and work from there.
And finally, #4 - FRIENDS ARE ALWAYS A BONUS!
This is a big one. For a long time I just didn't have writing friends who I could actually chat with. I knew people who were authors and I would sometimes speak to them on Facebook in comments and such, but I didn't have a writing group, my people who I could go to and talk about anything with. I tried on Twitter, but I kept doing it wrong, and I tried elsewhere and just ended up a bit of a loner when it came to writing.
Enter Authortube (channel here) and even then I didn't really manage to make any friends there. I was more active on Twitter and I made a few friends there, and then they joined Authortube and from there it all blossomed. On top of that, I did signings which made me friends there as well. All in all, having friends in the writing community are only a good thing. Having people you can talk to about either writing or anything else, is great, especially when they're coming from a similar position or even if they're not. Variety is a good thing!
So there we have it, my awakening towards writing sprints and all you can learn from them. Try and give them ago during NaNoWriMo and of course, may the writing go easy!
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