Recently some of my writing friends were talking about sprints. If you aren’t familiar with the term is a sprint is a timed period of writing that gets you to put down words. It can be five minutes. It can be 40. You decided. But the goal is to sit and work for the entirety of the sprint.
Most often the term is used to describe a writing sprint. You write hard and fast. You don’t revise. You don’t worry about perfection. The goal is to gain words towards a finished scene or draft.
But my friend Renee decided to use a sprint a bit differently. As she explained in her blog post, she had finished the draft of her novel during NaNoWriMo 2021 but she had yet to manage a revision. She’d get part way and then just stall out.
So to get back into it, she gave herself just a few days to get as much done as possible. And it worked. By the end of her set time period, she had made it through a large portion of the novel, added about 500 words, and planned out some new scenes.
I looked at her sprint and wondered. I’d written my manuscript. I’d revised. Now I needed to get it to the right reading level.
And the next week, crickets.
It was amazing how many other projects I could find to do. So last week, I set up a two day revision sprint. I made it through three chapters. Yesterday I roughed part of a graphic sidebar. My goal it to finish the sidebars and revising to the correct reading level by May 26.
I do have other things to accomplish, but if I can find 20 minutes here and 30 minutes there, I can sprint. It worked last week and I think it will continue to work this week and next week as well. I need to recognize these brief blocks of time for what they are – an opportunity to spring.
Sure, many writers may use sprints to rough. But like Renee, I’m determined to use mine to revise. It may not be as fun as whipping through the first draft of a new manuscript, but it is necessary to get this manuscript out in to the world.
How do you use sprints?