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There is a time and a place for writing sprints. Please don’t get me wrong, but I treat these writing sprints differently than I used to now that I’ve been writing professionally for a few years.

At the beginning of my writing career productivity was the goal. I would sit down, set up my timer for thirty minutes and write as fast as I could. I was hitting pretty high numbers too. 

Now I’m still a fast writer, I can type almost as fast as I think so it’s easy for me to bash out my word goals provided that I’ve scheduled everything in correctly. 

There is a big difference in how I approach my writing schedule now though, and while my writing session is still made up of sprints I do a few key things differently.

Treat writing like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

As I said, I used to race the clock, but I also wrote for shorter sessions overall. 

I would never recommend that anyone write the way that I was, instead, I suggest giving yourself a longer period of writing time per writing session to accomplish your goals. 

If you feel like you have to write a million words a minute in order to reach the writing goals you are doing one of two things wrong. 

  1. You are not scheduling in enough writing time
  2. You have not set yourself a realistic or sustainable goal

I give myself set breaks.

When you run for a long time you need to factor in water breaks, stretches, and snack breaks. You need to do the same for your writing.

I found that in these breaks time got away from me, it was mostly because I didn’t want to return to the chaos that was my writing routine. 

I knew that I would have a burst of productivity but then I would spend more time away from the page in breaks because I felt intimidated by the number of words I felt I had to write every session.

Going forward I gave myself start times and finish times that were practical so that I could finish my writing goals without feeling out of breath, pressured or burnt out. 

I have other goals.

Writing days are strange, they are never quite the same. 

I currently operate under a minimum and maximum goal system.

I set a minimum goal. For article writing days I write three articles. If I’m having a hard time or a bad day I know that if I reach three articles I’ve done enough. 

It keeps me on top of my publishing schedule so I don’t feel like I’ve fallen behind, and I find it relatively easy to accomplish.

I also set a medium goal. Again for days when I’m writing articles, I aim for around four or five articles. Anything over three is me spoiling myself and really enjoying that productive energy. 

My maximum goals are something that I don’t put a specific number on but they are anything over and above my medium goals. 

I set these goals because I don’t expect every day to be the exact same. Some articles need more research and will be slower, my chronic pain might be flaring up or I could’ve slept poorly the night before.

This kind method of goal setting really helps me return to the page and complete the bare minimum. After I’ve finished my minimum goal I have the option of taking some time off or pushing for more. 

Often the kick of accomplishing a smaller goal will push me forwards and I will write a few more articles. 

Be kind to yourself when building your schedule. The world needs your words so do everything you can to keep writing them. 

As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf.