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writingSo for anyone who likes to write and has therefore read too-many-to-count articles on ‘The Secrets Of Writing’ or ‘The Seven Most Important Things You Will Ever Need To Know To Be A Successful Writer’ etc. you’ll know that one of the rules/ points/ paragraphs is always: "Write every day." But as many writers know, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. In the world we live in today, everyone’s life is on hectic mess. Even the four year old down the street because she has nursery school five days a week, ballet class 3 on three evenings, piano classes, spanish classes, and of course the dreaded playdate with the boy who eats paste and thinks that ‘see food’ joke is funny.

So, then we try for a couple days, deliberately scheduling ‘writing time’ where we hunch over in a corner and write a couple words, lament over the state of our writing, edit the bajesus over whatever we wrote the day before and today, and effectively delete more words than we’ve actually written for the day. Then something huge comes up, disrupting our delicate schedule, which proceeds to crumble around our heads for the next few days until it has been irreparably damaged with the bits being carried off by passing winds. And of course the piece of work we so lovingly constructed is abandoned.

Sound familiar?

I’m sure we’ve all tired of this process. Of trying and seemingly failing over and over again. First of all, there is no such thing as failure when it comes to your writing. Why? Because every written word constitutes a lesson. And also because in order to call ourselves writers we must persevere and this means we get up, dust off the wreck, and try again.

Many people find a solution to their problems. I congratulate them. I have not yet mastered the write-every-day quandary but I have found a close alternative and this is what I have come to share with you guys today. Not because I’ll hope you’ll all adopt my methods but because it’ll give you hope to get back out there and find what works for you.

I like word sprints mainly because they’re fun. They don’t make writing into a chore and they help me streamline my thoughts and get everything that I’m thinking down onto the proverbial paper. I don’t feel alone when doing them because I always have at least one partner, which is a big thing for me because ‘feeling alone’ can prove to be a huge distraction. Finally, they bring out my competitive side in that I’m racing against time and myself to write more than I’ve written before. Of course what I’ll write will be rough. Of course it will have inconsistencies. It will prove lacking in certain areas and when I do word sprints I feel able to accept that. Because what I’m writing is a first draft. And first drafts are never perfect.

Have any of you tried word sprints? I started doing them for NaNoWriMo and that’s where I fell in love with them. I don’t do them everyday. But any day that I do them, I feel like I’ve accomplished something which is better than nothing..

What do you guys do when you’re trying to write?