Friday, May 8, 2009

The Motivation to Write

It's six in the morning, and my alarm starts shouting at me to get my arse out of bed. I hit snooze and try to roll over, but then I remember I have a job to go to. I have to write.

And today, I'm accountable.

I just joined a group run by the amazingly prolific urban fantasy author C.E. Murphy, and the point of that group is word production. We're talking competition, timed writing sprints, and bragging rights at the end of each sprint. We're talking war.

We're talking writing wars.

For about the last month, writers from around the world have joined together at 9am Eastern Standard Time to battle for the highest word counts. The point is production - get as much on the page as possible - or for those in the editing stage, the point is to clean up as many pages as possible.

The amazing Ms. Murphy has written 90,000 words in five weeks using the Writing Wars. Robin Owens claims about 10,000 words in a week. Logging about 50 pages since this past Friday, Sharon Mignerey has declared the wars a success.

Why does it work so well for some? You can ask the other writers during the ten minute breaks between sprints, when we brag about how many words we just wrote, but I can tell you that it's nice feeling like I'm at the office. It's great to get a ton of work done, get up to stretch my legs and grab coffee, and feel like I'm glancing around the office to see who wants to meet me at the coffee maker. My own production has been fabulous in the three days since I started, though my work has mostly focused on the editing stage and in spite of the morning preschool chaos that ensues not long after the wars begin each morning. Of course, the wars aren't for everyone, but those who work well in a friendly atmosphere offering bragging rights, or who like messy first drafts that get the story on the page (what I call Vomit On The Page Draft), might find writing wars are just what they need.

Though the idea isn't new, the gathering point is. All are invited, and warlords often announce extracurricular writing sprints at the TooNoWriMo LiveJournal Community Page. As of yesterday, there is an effort afoot to keep rolling wars throughout the day to accommodate those of us with wee sprog units and morning chaos, or those in time zones that make the 9am EST meeting inconvenient. Check out the announcements to see when we're gathered to get some work done, or just pop in at the chat room.

Let the wars begin!

11 comments:

Edie said...

You go! I'm writing a detailed synopsis and next week I'm revising, so this is the wrong time for a writing war for me.

Good luck!

Ann said...

Go girl, go!

I'd join you, if only I didn't have this pesky day-job. Le sigh.

FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

It's a wonderful thing and not TOO competitive. Very supportive. Spread the word!

Oh, and Ann, there are occasionally evening wars, so check the link to the LJ page...

Robin

Audra Harders said...

I've heard of NaNoWriteMo or whatever it is. Thought about doing it for a while. Gathered my senses together and decided I will applaud all those capable of particpating.

Yay!!

Good going, KL! So, in three days, are you spewing new thoughts or just editing? Does it work well for editing?

Focus, focus, focus. Gotta focus on writing...

KL Grady said...

This is surprisingly working well for edits, Audra. I don't feel like I'm getting much done next to those who are whipping out anywhere from 10 to 800 words in half an hour, but I'm getting further than I would without the implicit encouragement in the chat room.

Leslie Ann said...

Hmmm, I wonder how this would work for screenwriting...it is writing after all. I'll drop in a check it out. Thanks KL.

~LA

Leslie Ann said...

Hmmm. maybe screenwriting isn't writing...make that "I'll drop in AND check it out."

~LA

Grace Bridges said...

Would love to be involved but as I'm in New Zealand and not a morning person, it looks like I'll miss all the action. How sad! Any takers for an EST late-evening war to coincide with my morning?

KL Grady said...

Grace - stop in or check out the LiveJournal community page to see if we're going to be in there. Looks like we're ending up in there off and on even through early evening EST.

Grace Bridges said...

9am in NZ - checking in. I'll leave the window open, I presume it'll make a noise at me if someone talks!

Sushiboofay said...

I keep threatening to try the Writing Wars....maybe when my day job slows down a bit more! :-)