Morning Writing Challenge Tips 5 & 6

Welcome back to the Morning Writing Challenge Tips series.
 
If you haven’t joined the challenge, it’s not too late to join us. Find all the details here. 
 
Either way, these tips are useful for building and sustaining a lasting writing practice. 
 
 

Morning Writing Challenge Tips #5 & #6

Today I’m sharing two new tips, #5 & #6.
 
 

Tip #5: Boost your focus with timed writing sprints.

 
If you haven’t tried timed writing sprints, please give this a try.
 
A timed writing sprint is a short, focused period of writing time, tracked with a timer. In advance, you’ll decide on a length of time you’ll be writing for (and ideally a start time like we’re doing with the Morning Writing Challenge). Then, you write, doing nothing else, for your planned duration of time.
 
A timed writing sprint can be as short as one minute and as long as about 90 minutes (we need to get up and move our bodies periodically after all). You get to decide. If you’re not sure how long to sprint for, try 15 minutes as an experimental place to start.
 
Since the pandemic began (and writing seemed to get a whole lot harder), I started writing in 25 minute increments rather than in 60 minute sprints. Oddly enough, I usually do two 25-minute sprints back-to-back. It’s just a Jedi mind trick, but it works for me right now because my brain trusts that I can handle 25 minutes of writing without getting distracted. Then I’m usually in the flow enough that I just hit the timer button again for another 25 minutes, until I’ve put in a total of 50 minutes. I also find that when I participate in group writing sprints (more on this in Tip #6, below), which are often 60 minutes long, aiming for 50 minutes gives me a little wiggle room for getting an extra cup of tea, taking a bathroom break, or things like dealing with unexpected kid interruptions without feeling “behind.”
 
The VERY cool thing about using a timer is that there’s this sense of hitting a “Go” or “Start Now” button when starting it. And it makes it harder to stop when you know there’s a clock counting down your writing minutes!
 
Ready to give this a try? Next time you sit down to write, decide how long you’ll be writing (suggestion: 5 to 15 minutes for your first time out), set a timer, and write!
 
Pro tip: This gets even more powerful when you also TRACK your writing time, which means logging and paying attention to how much time you’re investing in your writing. I’m currently a fan of the Forest App for both tracking and timing. Another good one is the Block and Flow App
 
 

Tip #6: Supercharge your writing with group writing sprints.

 
If you want to quintuple your writing sprint experience, try participating in group writing sprints. 
 
We run group writing sprints in our Called to Write community several times each day on weekdays and have weekend sprints too. You may also sometimes find on-the-fly group writing sprints happening on Twitter. (John August periodically leads them and I’ve seen others doing the same.)
 
With this Morning Writing Challenge, we’re experiencing a variation on this idea; a kind of asynchronous group sprint where we’re all writing based on our own local morning time, and cheering for each other by finding each other’s posts online.
 
Inside Called to Write, the way our group writing sprints work is that we gather in on online private chat room at the same time, tell each other what we’re going to do, kick off at our official start time, and all go write on our own. At the official end time, we come back into the chat room and celebrate what went well together (even if what went well is simply showing up). Note: We aren’t sharing our writing with each other but rather the camaraderie and support for each other’s writing.
 
Our members tell us that these sprints are grounding and have been simply life-saving during the pandemic. 
 
At Called to Write, we’re currently writing together at 6 a.m. PT, 7 a.m. PT, 9 a.m. PT, and 3 p.m. PT on weekdays, and 9 a.m. PT on weekends. 
 
Ways to try group writing sprints: Whether you join us, find group sprints on Twitter, or create your own writing sprints with your writing buddies via text or Zoom, I encourage you to try this! The shared group energy is incredibly motivating, fun, and inspiring. Plus when you do them consistently, you can create a regular writing habit almost without even trying. :) 
 
 
 

Join the Morning Writing Challenge!

Sign up for details, tips, and prizes, here:
 

Morning Writing Challenge Tips 3 & 4

Welcome back to the Morning Writing Challenge Tips series.   If you haven’t joined the challenge, it’s not too late to join us. Find all the details here.    Either way, these tips are useful for building and sustaining a lasting writing practice.      Morning Writing Challenge Tips #3 & #4 Today I’m sharing […]

Why I Started Writing Early In the Morning + The Morning Writing Challenge Tips 1 & 2

  Huzzah! The Morning Writing Challenge starts tomorrow, Monday, November 2.      Today I’m sharing some tips to help you rock the challenge, but first… …a few thoughts on WHY writing in the morning is so very awesome: When our first son was 2 or 3 years old, I wanted to write, but I […]

Use the End of Daylight Saving to Create More Time to Write

If you’ve been wanting to establish a morning writing habit, I’m going to challenge you to give it a go starting on November 2 with my #MorningWritingChallenge.  But first, let me tell you why now is the PERFECT time to do this. With the end of Daylight Saving Time, we’ll be getting a natural boost […]

6 Steps to Tackling a Major Script Revision – on the Final Draft blog

Despite everything that’s going on I’m thrilled to have finished a major revision of the first act of my script. While there’s more to go, getting the first act sorted for the new vision for the storyline has been a big undertaking. This article goes into my methodology for tackling a major script revision, much […]

6 Tips To Keep Writing When It Feels Like the World Is Falling Apart – on the Final Draft blog

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to keep writing when the world is both literally and figuratively on fire, which led to this week’s article on the Final Draft blog. It was in part inspired by a Twitter conversation I stumbled across where writers were sharing how unproductive they were feeling. Since I’m finding that […]

Is It Time For a Writing Coach? – on the Final Draft blog

This week I’ve written a piece for the Final Draft blog about working with a writing coach. Sometimes you really need someone on your team to help navigate the challenges, decisions, and process. This week’s article talks about some of the times you might need that kind of assistance and what you can expect to get […]

5 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome — on the Final Draft blog

  “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ ” —Maya Angelou This week I’ve written a piece for the Final Draft blog about impostor syndrome. It can be paralyzing, and it stops […]

How to Thrive While Receiving Feedback On Your Script — on the Final Draft Blog

This week I’ve written a piece for the Final Draft blog about thriving while receiving feedback, which can often be emotionally perilous. I hope you find it helpful. “You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.” ― Ed Catmull Receiving quality feedback on your screenplay […]

7 Creative Strategies to Survive Distance Learning and Keep Writing This Fall — on the Final Draft blog

Last week I wrote a piece for the Final Draft blog about 7 creative strategies to survive distance learning AND keep writing this fall. Like many parents, school is majorly on my mind right now, so I’ve been thinking about how best to work with the situation as best I can. One thing I didn’t include in […]