• Meagan

Why Writing Sprints Are the Best Thing Ever, Part 2

Today's post is dedicated to my #NaNoWriMo friends. Y'all are amazing. And a month-long writing sprint is a heroic feat you should all be proud of.

So in my last post, which was itself a dash to a deadline, I came up with a list of reasons why writing springs are the best thing ever. Here it is again, in case clicking that link requires more effort than you care to invest in this blog at the moment:

1) Building confidence

2) Breaking through writer's block

3) Making subconscious discoveries

4) Discovering your true voice

5) Getting shit done

6) Digging up new subject matter

Now, keep in mind, these are literally just thoughts I jotted down without self-editing. Looking at them now, I can see there's a bit of overlap. But I also think I was kinda on to something, especially with #4. Today I want to dig into that.

So as all three or four of you lovely dedicated readers know, I write true crime podcasts, which (as I mentioned in this post) require a ton of research. I usually have pretty short deadlines, so it's similar to the process of writing a news article: I do about a day and a half of intensive reading, watching videos, listening to interviews, etc., and then I have three and a half days to write.

Right at that day-and-a-half mark, once the research is done and I'm ready to start writing, there's a shift that has to take place. I have to take all these facts and roll them around in my brain and process them into something new. For some reason, that's incredibly difficult for me -- almost physically painful.

That's where the writing sprint comes in. Forcing myself to sit down and write without stopping for 15, 20 minutes or so gets me past that block. And in the process, it helps me discover my true voice.

In my experience, this is actually one of the hardest things in writing to do. We're constantly inundated with other people's ideas, images, and words. And because we're also continually comparing ourselves to others, their thoughts are often all we put down on the page.

What the hell is the point of that?

Your voice is unique and valuable, and that's what the world needs to hear (or read). Writing sprints create a special kind of magic to make that happen. They tap into something deeper. Some original font of creativity. The innate pulse that pushed you to put your first words down on paper, tell your first story, sing your first song, before people started telling you that you should do it a different way.

I'm an avid member of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. And I often see people tweeting about how they wish they could get that original spark back, reclaim the joy they once had in writing.

I honestly believe that writing sprints are a way to do that. In reality, you're not "forcing yourself" to do anything. You're forcing everybody else -- all the naysayers and critics and unsupportive family members and bullies -- to fuck off so you can be you and do what you were made to do.

And in the process, I'm convinced you'll discover that you had more worth saying and said it better than you ever imagined.

Got any thoughts to share on writing sprints? Had an interesting breakthrough... or breakdown? (Hopefully not the latter!) Tell me about it in the comments!

Meagan Daine is a television writer and podcast writer interested in cons, cults, and other ways people try to take over the world. Catch her latest podcasts at Parcast on Spotify, or follow her on Twitter/IG: @writeordienow

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