writing prompts, writing sprints
The Writing Process

Writing Sprints: What They Are, How to Do Them, and Why You Should!

writing prompts, writing sprints

There are two writing woes that affect our writing more than than anything else—writer’s block, and editing when we should be freeform writing. Sometimes writing prompts can help infuse life back into a dry spell, but the newest writing trend is an activity called writing sprints (also known as word sprints), and they can actually help with both writer’s block and taming our inner editors.

What Are Writing Sprints?

Writing sprints are short bursts of focused writing time that can be done alone or with a group. Twitter and Instagram are also growing in popularity for writing sprints. Anyone can join in a sprint on Twitter by following hashtags like #writingsprints and #wordsprints. Instagram users have started using the “Live” feature when they want to connect with other writers during a word sprint.

How to Get Started?

First, you’ll need a piece of writing you’re currently working on (or you can use one of many writing prompts available online). Sprinters use a timer to set the amount of time they want to dedicate to their writing; the most common time increments are fifteen to thirty minutes, up to one hour. During this time, writers turn off all distractions and race against the clock to increase their word counts. If you’re going to sprint alone, all you need is yourself and your writing tools of choice—computer or old-fashioned pen and paper. If accountability is more important, seek out other writers at church or in your circle of friends and start a word sprinting group.

5 Tips to Maximize Your Word Sprints

  1. Find the writing environment that works for you—at home in silence or a coffee shop with background noise.
  2. Note your pre-sprint word count.
  3. Don’t use your phone as a timer. Instead, use a good old-fashioned kitchen timer—it’s less distracting.
  4. Once you set your timer, immediately move it out of sight so you aren’t checking the time you have left when you should be writing.
  5. When you’re done, compare your post-sprint word count to where you started.

Why Should You Do Writing Sprints?

You may be asking yourself if you could benefit from writing sprints, and the answer is “yes.” Here are a few ways your writing life will improve:

Efficient use of time—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 thirty minutes of your lunch to writing sprints and you automatically incorporate two and a half hours of writing into your schedule every week.

Variation produces results—Writing routines are great, but too much structure can choke out creativity. By varying the amount of time you use to write, you train your brain to produce, whether you have five minutes or five hours—which means less writer’s block and more productivity.

Results are in the numbers—On average, a slow sprinter is going to produce about 400 words in 30 minutes and an experienced sprinter can work his or her way to 1,000 words in a 45-minute window. At 1,000 words a day, that’s 30,000 words in just 30 days.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your latest work (or borrow one of our writing prompts), and get sprinting!



Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on XulonPress.Substack.com.

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