Of Writing Sprints and FebNoWriMo

I was reading over Twitter about a year back and I came across the account from Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson).  Her career has the power to make me cry with envy.  As a producer she’s worked on such shows as Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and Once Upon a Time.  She’s doing amazing things with her current project Husbands.  And there she was!  On Twitter!

Almost at once she sent out a tweet, asking anyone who saw it to participate in a writing sprint with her.  I thought it was a wonderful idea!  Just one problem.  What’s a sprint?

It turns out a “writing sprint” is when a group of writers gather together, either physically or in cyberspace, to totally ignore each other and everything around them.  We do one thing, and one thing only – we WRITE, at least for that designated amount of time.  The typical sprint is anywhere from 15-30 minutes.  After that you break and compare word counts, which hopefully will motivate you to focus while you’re writing.

I found out quickly I’m not a great fan of writing “sprints”.  For me 15 minutes is just getting started.  Even an hour is a drop in the bucket.  And while I love being in such illustrious company, Ms. Espenson can only host a sprint when her schedule allows.  So we both have to hopefully be on at the same time.

I went in search of another group.  Fortunately, I found a great one pretty quickly on Facebook – Endurance Writers.  Now THESE guys speak my language!!  Forget this 15 minute stuff – they’re hardcore.  The shortest “sprint” I’ve ever seen this group schedule is 2 hours, with a 7 minute break in between.  The longest I’ve seen is 6 hours, with different members hosting part of the session.  It’s fantastic!!  Not to mention productive.

This group has decided to find out if we can re-enact Nanowrimo this month.  Since it’s 30 days long in November, it will extend 1 day in both directions, beginning January 31st, and ending on my birthday, March 1st.  I didn’t have to think long before I agreed to join.  Writing with others is a fantastic motivation, but when they try for a word count of 50,000 in 30 days, it’s possible to make serious progress.

To that end I’ve included a new word count widget on the sidebar, which will track my progress this month.  Wish me luck!