Tuesday, August 20, 2019

How to Start a Writer's Sprint Group by Shannon Moore Redmon

Ever struggle to get your bum in the writer’s seat several times a week to complete that long-awaited deadline?

You’re not the only one.

In the evenings after a long hard day of work, my brain doesn’t want to be creative and balks at the idea of trying to construct a story. Often times, I find myself curled up with the TV remote in hand, wishing I would muster up the stamina to get a few words on the white screen, mocking me in its glow.

Enter my writer friend Sami Abrams, a fun-loving, extroverted writer (yes, they do exist) who wanted to get some friends together and write. She suggested we meet online, chat about our stories for a few minutes and then write as many words as possible in a fifteen-minute time slot. I loved the idea and our Writer Sprint group was born. A shout out to the amazing authors who participate with me: Sami A. Abrams, Ginger Vaughn, Darlene L Turner, Dana R. Lynn, and Loretta Eidson.

Five easy steps to start a Writer Sprint group

1) Select how many times you want to meet. Our group meets two to three evenings a week. We each come from a different area of the country—from the west to east coast and deep south to Canada. Make sure to take into account different time zones when scheduling. Six writers take part in our group, usually not all at one time. The most we’ve had in a meeting at once has been four people. Limiting the number of writers to a smaller group, allows for each person to get the individualized help they need with the scenes they are writing.

2) Decide on a host to oversee each meeting. We take turns doing this or volunteer for a specific day of the week to lead. Our host for the night will post three Zoom links to the group Facebook page. Zoom links only provide a forty-minute window for a free account. (Not sure about other web-conference services). When the timer runs out, we exit the meeting and go to the next link. Sometimes Zoom will grant us a gift and provide unlimited time, which is nice.

3) Sprint Write. The host moderates our fifteen-minute limit and activates our start time. We all disperse to our works in progress to write as many words as possible. Although, some authors use the time to brainstorm or edit a chapter. Whatever they need. Then our host calls us back over audio to the video meeting when time is up.

4) Celebrate Victories. We compare word counts and celebrate all writing progress. We also use this time to hash out any sticky spots that might have cropped up. This is not the time to critique work. Only to write, edit or brainstorm.

5) Repeat. A group can determine how many sessions they want to do in a sprint. Depends on availability of the writers. We’ve found that two to three sessions work best for our group.

Benefits of Writer Sprints

1) Evening writing. I wasn’t doing much during this timeframe of the day, because my creativity is more active in the morning. By starting a group, our brains learned to let go of workday struggles and allow the story juices to flow again.

2) Increased writing speed and completed goals. I’m not as fast as some members in the group (Ginger Vaughn 😊), but trying to write as many words in a fifteen-minute period helps us let go of perfection and just write the scene. Get the words down. We can always go back and edit later. Our group writes anywhere from five-hundred to two thousand words a night per writer. Five-hundred words written every day will accomplish a completed novel in six months. That’s progress!

3) Provides encouragement. When we write alone, our enemy has a way of getting into our heads and filling it with all kinds of negative thoughts... We can’t do this. We’ll never finish. Our writing is terrible. Sound familiar? But with Godly brothers and sisters surrounding us, we inspire, encourage and lift each other up in our writing. We talk through our plot ideas that don’t work or find knowledge in others to make a scene plausible. We flesh out our characters and help create authentic storylines with depth. By writing together, we not only benefit from a well written story, but our readers will too.

Time to gather up a few friends, put on our writing brains and start a Writer’s Sprint group!

With Godly brothers and sisters surrounding us, we inspire, encourage and lift each other up in our writing. @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #SeriouslyWrite

Time to gather up a few friends, put on our writing brains and start a Writer’s Sprint group! @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #SeriouslyWrite

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown up book she checked out from the neighborhood book mobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.
There’s nothing better than the power of a captivating novel, a moving song or zeal for a performance that punches souls with awe. A rainbow displayed after a horrific storm or expansive views on a mountaintop bring nuggets of joy into our lives. Shannon hopes her stories immerse readers into that same kind of amazement, encouraging faith, hope and love, guiding our hearts to the One who created us all.

Shannon’s writing has been published in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, the Lightning Blog, The Horse of My Dreams compilation book, and the Seriously Write blog. Her stories have been selected as a semi-finalist and finalist of the ACFW Genesis Contest and won first place in the Foundation’s Awards. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. The StoryMoore Blog is named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.

Connect with Shannon:
The StoryMoore Blog
FB: https://www.facebook.com/shannon.redmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannon_redmon
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonredmon/