When I participated in high school track, I was a member of the distance crew. I could never be a sprinter because it took me too long to get warmed up. By the time I was ready to turn on the speed, the sprint was over.
In my writing life I function much the same way. I prefer to sit down for an endurance writing session – get lost in the world I’ve created and only re-emerge when my stomach is audibly growling, my muscles are cramping, and my head is utterly emptied. (Oddly enough, this is the same feeling I’d get after a long run!)
But my life doesn’t work like that. There are rare and wonderful days when I can lock myself away and write, but they’re the exception, not the norm. What I struggle with is how to get the most out of the stolen minutes that I smuggle and stack together to construct my writing time.
I’ve tried these tips:
* End your writing session with a half-finished sentence so you can pick up there tomorrow
* Start by reading and revising the previous two pages, then move forward
* End by creating a bulleted list of where you’d like to go next
None work all that well for me – I’m incapable of leaving a sentence half finished, I never want to go back just two pages, and once I start bulleting, I just want to write the scene. How can I teach myself to sprint when I want to run (er, write) a marathon?
How do you make the most of shorter writing sessions?