Writing routines help train our brains to be able to write when we need to be productive. We can stumble into a slump when our writing becomes tied to a routine that’s too structured and rigid. The goal of a writer is to be able to write anywhere at any time, and that’s where writing sprints come into play. This trending writing exercise can teach your brain to produce up to 350 words in 15 minutes.

What Are Writing Sprints?

Just like runners cover more ground when they sprint, writers build their word counts faster with writing sprints, which are timed bursts of focused writing. These sprints can be done solo or in a group. And while the internet can be a black abyss of distraction for writers, both Twitter and Instagram are great places to connect with writers from around the world, which can provide a sense of competition and accountability during word sprints. Search hashtags like #writingsprints or #wordsprints to find your next group sprint online.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Sprints

While the concept of writing sprints is simple, incorporating these tips can make your time a smashing success.

  1. Decide if you’re working on a writing prompt or if you are writing for a specific project.
  2. Note your pre-sprint word count.
  3. Set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes, or up to one hour.
  4. If you’re using Twitter for a live word sprint, start by tweeting: “Starting a 30-minute #wordsprint in 10 minutes, who’s joining me? My goal is to write 500 words. #amwriting”
  5. If Instagram is your social media of choice, you can use the “Live” or “IGTV” features to connect with other writers during writing sprints.
  6. Turn off phone notifications and also avoid using your phone as your timer.
  7. A kitchen timer works best for distraction-free writing; place it out of sight after the timer starts so you aren’t checking your time when you should be writing.

What Do Writing Sprints Do For You?

Two of the biggest hurdles writers face are writer’s block and time constraints, and writing sprints can help with both. Writer’s block is defined as the inability to think of what to write, but a writing prompt and a competitive word sprint on Twitter can turn a blank page into a full one in just 15 minutes.

The second most common complaint for writers is time. Not every writer is a well-known author whose sole career is writing New York Times’ bestsellers. More often than not, writers are trying to sneak in a chapter here and there between full-time jobs, family responsibilities, time with friends, and hobbies. Writing sprints are a huge boost for writers with busy lives. If you work five days a week and take a one-hour lunch every day, reallocate 30 minutes of your lunch to writing sprints and you automatically incorporate two and a half hours of writing into your schedule every week.

Tell us, have you tried writing sprints before? If so, what did you think of the exercise?