Writing Exercise: Let’s Do This (Part One)

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Who all has made New Year’s Resolutions promising to “finish that book” or just to “write more”? Okay, I see more than one hand up. The question is: How do you write more? How do you become the writer you want to be?

First rule of a writer is write, second rule is write more, third rule is write regularly, and fourth is writing something to completion.

To do this professionally means producing words with consistency and commitment, the question is how best to deliver yourself for BIC (butt in chair) HOK (hand on keyboard). Especially while working a day job, meeting family commitments, and (maybe) having enough social life to maintain the requirements for sanity.

Each month for the next three months, I will introduce two methods, and the writing challenge will be testing one of the two to see if it works for you. For January, let’s do a quick trip back to National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) for two tools for your writing chest.

First. Word Sprints. The National Novel Writing Month gold standard.

Five minute, fifteen minutes, or thirty minute typing or scribing crunches. Getting words on paper as fast as possible. This technique is used by many to destroy a writer’s block. Can’t write, then stop thinking about writing and just do it. Get words out, in any order. Don’t edit. Don’t worry. Just open the tap and get the water flowing, however rusty it is. People swear by word sprint.

So you don’t have to watch the time while typing, go to your phone’s alarm clock function. Many of them have a countdown alarm. Set it to the length you will be sprinting, click start to make sure it is actually counting down, flip it over so you can’t see the countdown, and GO.

Second. Every.Single.Day.

Just sit down at the keyboard or in your favorite chair, and do it. If nothing happens after five minutes, get up and walk away. But what matters is you tried. Day-in and day-out. You sat in the chair at some point with the intent to write. Commitment made.

WRITING EXERCISE: Try one of the two techniques.

(A) Every.Single.Day – for one week try the E.S.D. method. BICHOK.

(B) Word Sprint – For either one week, or for three weekends in January/February, do word sprints. Choose a length of time to work with and just type away or scribble in a notebook until the time is up.

Evaluate. Did you ENJOY the technique you tried? Did you feel COMMITTED while working on it? Did you PRODUCE a good product? (note – good product is a first draft you can edit later, not a finished product worthy of publication)


My Attempts

Every.Single.Day – I started the year with the intent to write E.S.D. Then a work convention happened the second week and I didn’t have time for three days. This always happens. I usually have too many irons in the fire and suddenly I miss a day, then a month. The simple goal of E.S.D. doesn’t make me happy; while writing is work, it shouldn’t be a toil. 

Word Sprints – I tried them once, but instead of swearing by them like some NaNo writers, I swear at them. I cannot shut off my inner editor enough and writing just to write doesn’t work for me, not even to break a writer’s block. Going outside and mowing the lawn and weeding the garden is ten times a better use of my time. But what doesn’t work for me, might work for you so try it out.