Have you ever joined a health club, gym, or work out facility? You begin with great intensions. You plan to go every day. You plan to go right after work. And you might do that for a week, or maybe two, but then something comes up and you miss a day. Then you miss the next day. And before you know it, you haven’t been to the gym in months. I have found that if I make a friend at the gym or have a friend who joins the gym with me, we keep each other moving and on track. When I don’t feel like going, she might say something like, “Come on. You have to go.” And so I’ll go. Or when she doesn’t want to go, I would do the same for her and I’ve found that we go more often than not because it made us accountable to someone.
What does this have to do with writing? Well, I’m going to tell you. Have you ever procrastinated so much that you haven’t written anything in days, weeks, months, or a year? You keep putting it off, finding other things that simply must be done. You keep finding distractions that keep you from putting some words down on paper? I think we all do. Well, I recently became involved with a small group of authors who are writing novellas for an anthology. It is a fast story, 25k words or less, but the deadline is coming up pretty darn quick. I started mine, but one of the gals in the group was having a little trouble getting her move on, so I thought of the gym scenario. Then I thought of the “writing sprints” that my writer’s group often does, so I suggested to her that we do writing sprints every night and it worked out great!
If you have never done one, here is how it works: You set a get in touch time, which for us was 8:00 p.m. She calls me on the phone and we briefly discuss where we are in our respective stories and we talk over our ideas for the scenes we’re writing. Then we set a time (30 minutes from when we hang up) and then we write. Thirty minutes later, we touch base again on the phone to read to each other what we have written.
It’s really worked out wonderfully for both of us because it made us be accountable to someone for getting the writing done. It doesn’t allow time for procrastination, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I finished my novella and my writing buddy is moving right along with hers. At the rate we’re going, she’ll be finished long before the deadline. Not only that, but having someone to listen to your writing as you read it aloud helps you hear the errors and also boosts the writer’s confidence when the listener tells you it’s good, or they like it, or they laugh in the proper places.
Have you ever done a writing sprint? If you are stuck in procrastination mode, I highly recommend that you try it. Find yourself an author friend, set your timers, place your butt in the chair, your hands on the keyboard, and write.