Good morning! Did everyone enjoy the sprint this weekend? I was otherwise engaged, unfortunately, but I am looking forward to being able to participate in another. So, let’s talk about sprints.

Where I come from (NaNoWriMo Land), a sprint is a pre-arranged span of time during which a group of writers joins to write furiously until the clock runs out, and then they compare notes and horror stories about word choice and panics over whether to use a colon or a semi-colon and really who even knows? Sprints can be hell. Really, they’re probably one of the Seven Circles. You’re just always caught in a sprint with no access to a Thesaurus so you just stare blankly at one sentence for the rest of eternity. Ouch.

I have a love/hate relationship with writing sprints. On the one hand, it’s easy enough to use a quick fifteen-minute window to test out a scene you’ve had churning in your head. On the other hand, if you’ve come unprepared, it becomes a uniquely trivial pursuit. I’ve found myself, on more than one occasion, filling the remaining time by very literally typing whatever comes into my head. The end result is typically terrifying and completely off-topic. I come into the sprint writing about soldiers in a foxhole and by the end they’ve adopted a gorilla and they’re bickering over whether to dress it in “people clothes”. It harkens me back to the days when my classmates would occupy the middle portions of ten-page essay reports by copying and pasting song lyrics and famous speeches into the body of the paper just to fill space. Their theory was, “The teacher doesn’t read them all the way through anyway.” I never tried that. I preferred borderline delirious rambling.

Are you a natural sprinter, or do your prefer the low-pressure marathon?


The May contest is a unique departure from our familiar form, and can be perused here for those of you who need reminding, or who would like to watch the fun.

The current sprint is up and accessible — come play!


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