Sprinting while sitting down

Two HOT writers, getting ready to “sprint”

So. I went to the annual HOT (Heart of Texas) Romance Writers fall retreat last week. My writer friends and I took several days ahead of the official retreat and went out to the ranch to retreat early and get some writing done.

It was great! Great to be out there with friends, great to have the chance to write, great to just think, talk and breathe writing. Not so great–the up-close-and-personal encounters with bugs, and the temperature, which wavered from too cold to too hot and couldn’t really be fixed right. But bugs and heat can be endured.

The pond behind the “cabin” was way down, due to the drought, and a lot of the trees had died. It was sad to see them. Hopefully, there will be some rain–before next year, please–and the creeks will come back and new trees will grow.

One of the best things we did during the long weekend was “sprint” writing. We would set a timer for 20 minutes and Just Write. For 20 minutes. When the timer went off, we would see how many words we’d written, take a little break to walk around, go potty, grab more coffee, whatever, and five or so minutes later, we’d start the timer up again.

I was pretty consistent. Most times, I got about 250 words. One of the ladies sometimes got 1,000 words or so–but she was at the end of her story and knew exactly what was happening, who had the POV, where she was going–she was in race mode. Sometimes, one of us would get only 57 words, or 84. Not very many at all. But, the important thing was that for that 20 minutes, we didn’t do anything but write. We could focus, because we knew that when the bell went off, then we could check the e-mail, or look at the texts, or go to the restroom. It’s not hard to put something off for 20 minutes. And it’s surprising how much you can write in that length of time.

So, that’s what I brought home with me. I have a kitchen timer I carry around with me, to help me focus on what I’m doing. You know–the “I’m going to do this for the next 15 minutes” thing. Anyway, it works real well for helping me do the sprint writing. I got 15 pages written while I was in Valley Mills. Today, I got four done, in the hour and a half I wrote this morning. Oh, and since I wrote every day I was gone, that makes today Day 6 in the 100 words for 100 days challenge, which I haven’t gotten to 30 days yet. Maybe my challenge should be 100 words for 30 days…

I have to share the birds that have been poking around our neighborhood for the last couple of weeks. I’ve lived here four years now, and have never seen American white ibis (I looked them up) anywhere but out on the beach or in the marshes. But most afternoons, there they are, strolling around in the neighbors’ yards, hunting for food. I assume they’ve left their usual haunts because of the drought, like most everything else.

Pretty cool, huh?

Well, I thought so, anyway.

I am working on pulling some books together to get up on Amazon and Smashwords and B&N. Once I get the rights back to Heart’s Magic (Harry and Elinor’s story), I’ll probably e-pub it, too, but it’s a long slow process. Figuring out how to do the self-publishing is also a long, slow process, but I will get it licked!

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