Sprints!

Um, are we saying that I belong in a museum too? Oh, I’m saying that! Okay.

A while back, I wrote a post about writing with pen and paper. Recently, I’ve participated in my first two writing sprints with some of the other authors from Astraea Press. The winner gets bragging rights and a bunch of virtual chocolate. 🙂

Yeah, that winner will never be me…

After an hour of writing, the superstars cranked out 1500 -2300 words. WOW! This past week’s winner was Heather Gray. Who, by the way, just released a new short story Late for the Ball? With 2300 words in an hour, no wonder she has two books scheduled for release this summer and one for this fall!

My grand total? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, … yeah, had to count by hand too. Oooh! A whopping 596! Twelve words short of the week before, but the pen I chose ran out of ink and I had to stop and find a new one.

I’ll just pull over to let the Corvette pass me. I’m quite comfortable in my Model A. Um, I like the way it drives. Yeah. I, uh, love to take my time… looking at the scenery…

Don’t get me wrong, the other authors were super sweet when I posted my meager number. They knew I was writing by hand. I knew I had no chance of winning. Winning wasn’t my goal. My goal was to write with my comrades for an hour and see how many words I could manage.

But maybe I’m too nostalgic?

Right now, I think that it’s awesome that I’m writing this particular book in a red leather-bound journal. After I got started on it, and then was doing some research on Irish faeries, I found that the color red was a significant magical color in the stories. That was completely unplanned.

I’m totally writing about a red leather-bound book of faery magic spells IN a red leather-bound book!

Ooooh! My book of magic! It's almost full...

Ooooh! My book of magic! It’s almost full of my scribbles…

Sometimes I go to the journal section of the book store and just study the beautiful bindings and think, “Hmm, maybe that one next… is it worth $30 though? But it’s just soooo pretty!!”

I wonder if there’s a way for me to un-see the hand written copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre when I went to the British Museum in London. Maybe that was too influential. My nerdy heart fluttered wildly when I was looking down at her penmanship.

*snaps fingers in face* “Er, Shea? You’re not anywhere near the level of Charlotte Bronte.”

The thing is, I knew that writing this way is slow. But until these sprints, I never quite realized just how slow. I think for my next book, I’ll try to break out of my comfort zone. I just hope I don’t end up staring at a blinking cursor for hours.

Maybe one day, I’ll do a sprint and actually be a contender. 😀

What are your thoughts? Do you think that there are just some things that need to be done more efficiently? Have you been screaming at me as you read this post, “Get with the program?”

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Sprints!

  1. There is something spectacular about writing by hand. I still write letters by hand most of the time, and I try to take the time to drop people notes (via handwritten note card) now and then too. There’s something good and honest and real about doing things the old-fashioned way. It feels more personal when I write that way — for me and, I assume, for the person receiving it. Manuscripts, though…I’ll stick to my computer. The person on the other end doesn’t get to see the “personal touch” I put into it. (Plus I type a LOT faster than I write!) But here’s a thought for you if you’re torn on how to approach your next book. If you write an outline or do any planning, note-taking, etc. — why don’t you do that by hand in a gorgeous journal — and then do the actual manuscript via computer. A little of both to help keep you tethered to your roots, the part of your process that inspires you and feeds your imagination, while giving you the tools to soar… 🙂

    • Thanks Heather! That’s actually a fantastic suggestion. Right now, I do it the other way round. My notes and things are done on the computer, though I don’t really do outlines. I’m more of a “springboard from an idea” kind of writer. But you’re right, switching it up may help to transition me to typing my first draft. 😀

  2. jeff7salter

    One of my favorite fiction authors who also received considerable acclaim was Walker Percy, who won the national book award in 1961. All his novels were bestsellers as well as critical successes. He happened to live in my home town of Covington LA, and was friends of my parents. I encountered him many times and he was always gracious and attentive. We even corresponded for a while.
    But my point here: Walker wrote all his 8 bestselling novels in long-hand on yellow tablets.
    So, Shea, I say to you: if it was good enough for my friend Walker Percy, it’s good enough for you. Keep writing!

    • Thanks so much for that encouragement Jeff! 😀 It means a lot that I don’t have to feel discouraged if “modernizing” doesn’t work for me.

      • jeff7salter

        Never let anyone else discourage your efforts … or attempt to control your methods.
        We all learn differently and we all create differently. That’s where some teachers have missed the boat in past generations … trying to make everybody function the same.

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