How 30 Day Sprints Re-Energized My Writing

What are They?

I was introduced to 30 Day Sprints in my work environment. Working in a leadership position in a public school in South Australia, meant that I was always accountable to the projects I was running, what data I was gathering and analysing and how it was affecting the students and/or staff.

And what we would sometimes find is, if we / I proposed a new project, sometimes the enormity of it would be overwhelming and it would struggle to get off the floor.

So by being introduced to 30 Day Sprints, I began introducing new projects with a focus on modules, and those 30 Day Sprints would be broken up within the modules. I would employ the SMART goals writing tactic, ensuring I was Specific, Measured, Attainable, Realistic and Time Driven, and suddenly I had my projects running and was kicking goals left, right and centre!

Which made me realise…. why wasn’t I doing this with my writing?!

Fiona McIntosh Word Count Tactic

In 2018 I studied under the magnificent tutelage of Fiona McIntosh for a long weekend. It was a Mini Masterclass and I can’t rave about it enough. CLICK HERE to read all about it. One thing Fi is a big lover of, is her daily word count. And so for months I tried. And truthfully I really struggled. Philosophically I can completely understand the thinking and concepts behind it, in that it encourages you to write every day, you are constantly plugged in to your world and making progress. #ticktickright?
But working a full time job and all of the other things that come with living a kickass life #occasionalgymrat #eatinghealthysaywhat #socialisingisgoodright?
I found that this technique actually got me down more then it boosted me up. I found I would get anxious if I was physically, mentally or spiritually unable to meet those words, which while getting me down, allowed the little cranky gremlins in that would tell me all the time how it wasn’t worth my time. #butitis #begonenastygremlin
I encourage everyone to purchase Fi’s book and see how she broke down and gave you a personalised algorithm for writing your book with her daily word count. And for lots of people, it works. #fistbumpyougoodthing
But for me, not so much.
Which is where I started turning to different challenges, ideas, methods and strategies.
And for all I tried, as a first time novelist, the 30 Day Sprint worked the best for me.

Why Sprints Work for Me

30 Days.
30 days of ticking off goals and jobs where I can and where I know I can devote my full attention to, not in between marking, cooking or those moments we steal to recharge our soul.
For me, I have found this works.
If I say I want to write x amount of words in a month, I undercut what I really think I can, and always attempt to go over. #feelsgood
If I want to research about x y z, I specify that in my goals. Not just like – colonial Australia, but the wool industry in the 1830’s and how it affected the indigenous community? Now I have a SMART goal and I can tick it off once I’ve learnt the ins and outs, to then see if it has a place in my story.
30 Day Sprints are not determined by day or night, special teas or weekend retreats. They are the acknowledgement that in March, you know you are flat out with school or the wine industry or your children’s birthdays. So you’ll go easy on yourself that month.
But April? Not too much on the horizon, so you chisel out those in between moments and make them count. #consistency #justkeepswimming #smallsteps

How You Can Try It

Look at your diary.
Write a list of the things you would like to do.
Now let it sit while you hang out that washing or grab a cuppa.
Come back, and start crossing off those that are too big, need to be broken down further, or that you know you aren’t ready to tackle yet.
Sometimes just giving yourself time to think about a problem or process is a luxury we steal from ourselves and so acknowledging that can be a big enough thing for today!
Think of this as your monthly goals list, or your 30 Day Sprint. I don’t care. It is what works for you.
You might find that 30 Days is too much, so you cut it down to 7. (I do this, I write for my 30 days, then do a pencil plot in per week on where I think I can tackle each little component n my diary so I have that constant visual reminder)

Make it work for you

And remember this isn’t a race.
This isn’t a test.
You have time, if only you acknowledge it is there, hiding in the inbetweens.
Set yourself some small tasks or goals,
And go #smashem

Much Love Darlings
Shannon x

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