How to Do a Writing Sprint

by | Jul 12, 2018 | academic writing, time management, writer's retreat

You may have heard me talk about “tiger time.” That’s a term that I picked up from entrepreneur Amy Porterfield. The idea is that if you use your most focused and energized hours of the day, you don’t need big blocks of time to write. Instead, you can get more writing done in less time.

But everyone is different, and writing is a uniquely personal craft. So today I’m going to teach you another option to get writing done: sprinting.

Sprinting is what we do in my Virtual Writer’s Retreat course. Basically, we take two weeks and break down an almost-done writing project into all the tasks that need to be done to finish and submit the writing. The idea is to give your attention to just one writing project for only two weeks and sprint to the finish line.

You can use this sprinting technique even if you’re not working on an “almost done” article. For example, you could use a two-week sprint to get from outline to first draft, or from book idea to proposal.

How to do a writing sprint:

  1. Select the two weeks when you’ll do the sprint. Mark off 1-2 hours per day for each day of the sprint.
  2. Choose your writing project and define what it will mean for that project to be finished. Then make a list of all the things that have to be done to get you there. For example: write the abstract, finish the results section, add more sources to the lit review.
  3. Go back to your calendar and write in the tasks for each day of the sprint. Again, be realistic about how long it will take you to do things. If you finish early then yay! That’s much better than over-booking and feeling guilty for not finishing.

Writing sprint tips for success:

  1. ONLY focus on ONE writing project during the sprint and to FINISH that project (however you define “finish” for your particular project).
  2. I recommend working on your sprint 1-2 hours a day, maybe 3 tops. I just find that it is not realistic to block more time than that daily, even for just two weeks.
  3. When planning, try to be realistic and kind to yourself. It’s best not to plan a sprint during the busiest time in the semester.

What’s even better than doing a writing sprint to push your project out the door? Doing one together!

Join me for the next Virtual Writer’s Retreat here, where I’ve already planned out a writing sprint to get your almost-done article to submit. You’ll find it’s SO much more effectively to sprint with others!

Click here to sign up!


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