Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On your mark, get set... @LizFlaherty

Usually, when I hear ideas about how to get productive, my eyes kind of glaze over. I've been writing
since I was nine years old (on my aunt's Royal typewriter in those days; I don't know how it survived) and I've tried every trick of the trade there is. Some work and some don't. Some work for a while before fading to the wayside. Sometimes I'll read what a very successful author does and I'll think, Yes! That's what I need to do! Only I'm not Nora or Kristan or Maddie or Joan or... Nope, as Popeye said, "I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam."

Which is all very pompous and righteous and all that other good stuff, but it doesn't get words on the screen. So, just occasionally, mind you, I pay attention.

Lately, the last week or so, I've been "sprinting." RITA winner Alicia Rasley started a Facebook group called "Sprintwriters." There are two daily sprints, at 11:00 AM and 8:30 PM (I never make that one.) Better than that, though, any member can call a sprint whenever she likes as long as she gives a little warning so people can jump on the trolley with her. When you're done, you report back on what you're working on and how you've done.

It has been fun. And productive. My writing speed has slowed exponentially with my age--which I understand but still regret--but I've been able to do a full day's word count in a half-hour sprint more than once. I'm still writing outside the sprint, and I admit the lack of control in sprinting gets a little scary. Yesterday, at the panting end of my half-hour, I said in a post, "Who ARE these people?" and I wasn't kidding at all. When I write that fast, the characters tend to take off on their own. This can be good; it can also mean I have to fix things I never intended to have happen in the first place.

Messing around with Nora Roberts' famous quote, though, it beats the heck out of a blank page.

If you'd like to join the sprinters, just ask me either here or on Facebook and I'll invite you. There are no rules nor even that much conversation. Accountability is by choice. But it's a good time. Hope to see you there.

12 comments:

  1. SO true, Liz. I haven't yet found a particular tip that really helped, long-term. But, I do love this group. I think it will help tremendously. I wouldn't feel bad about the comparison of words completed. In my opinion, this is more about settling into a habit of writing each and every day, more than a few times a day, and being as productive as YOU can during those sprints. I tend to write way too fast when I'm doing a short sprint, then I have way too much to fix. I'm going to focus on a little more quality from now on. :)

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    1. Hi, Alicia. I've been surprised by how much fun it is, although, yes, I've got me some fixing to do, too. :-)

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  2. Liz, loved the post--and LOVE the Sprintwriters group! It's helpful to have others nudging you on in real time! See you there...

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    1. ...just finished! It was a good one, too. It's nice because even if the rest of your day is pretty full, you can get some work in in a very short time.

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  3. Fun! Can't wait to join sprintwriters when I get back on FB--I definitely need some inspiration!

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  4. Sprints are powerful. My best days start with a 10 minute sprint before I have my coffee. If I can do that, I seem to be primed to do even more later when I have more time.

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  5. You make the sprinting sound like fun! I'm glad to hear about the FB group, and the way writers are supportive of each other. Nice post!

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    1. It has been fun, and provided a definite bump to productivity. :-)

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  6. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing. I wish I wasn't such a saunterer.

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    1. Believe me, Kathleen, I am the rest of the time!

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