By day I work 60 hour weeks. At night I am a devoted father and husband to the world's greatest family. Somewhere in the non-existent time between the two, I am a writer. Join me from the beginning as I chronicle my adventures to become a successful published author.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 9 - Sprinting, Falling, and Sprinting Again

Karen Hoover ( from Author's Incognito recently set up a writer's "Sprinting" website. For those as ignorant of what this means as I was, the premise is simple: It's writing in set segments of time (the sprint)with other people doing it at the same time. There's a chat system for checking in, comments, etc, and someone keeps the time. Doing it as a group, even though you are working on your own thing, adds encouragement to make it through a session just as a workout partner does. Tonight I decided to give it a go.

I started off with my fingers flying across the keyboard, then suddenly stopped dead. It suddenly hit me. I needed to rewrite nearly an entire chapter. What happened? Dialog, or lack thereof.

Let it be known, that dialog is my Achilles' Heel. I write very intensive scenes. I think I am pretty awesome at body language and using the environment to evoke emotion, mood, tension, etc. My problem is that I have very little white space on my pages, and I've been thinking hard the last few days about how badly I need to fix that. My mind freezes when I think to hard on it, and that's what happened in the sprint. I was typing my usual heavy paragraphs, thinking the whole while about how I shouldn't be, and simply froze.

I committed then and there to rewrite the chapter properly. And so I did. Twenty minutes later. That's how long it took me to even know what the first sentence should be. I finished the first page, coming in at 340 words, right as the timer went off for the 50-minute run we were on. In one sense I feel like I accomplished so little. Some people wrote a few thousand words in that time. I didn't clear 500, but the time commitment forced me to take on my problem head on. It wasn't as insurmountable as before because I knew at a set time I would stop for the night, and it made all the difference. Tonight was a quality, not quantity night.

I want to be clear: my dialog needs a lot of work. I know I can and should do more, and I will. The story is still great, but now it's being told better. So I sprinted from the line, fell on my face, picked myself up, and pushed onward. I didn't finish first, but it was the race that counted tonight.

Thanks Karen, Tristi, and John for writing with me tonight.

Thanks also to Celtic Moon, my favorite radio station on for thinking and writing. Couldn't do it without you!


It was great to hang out with you tonight, Matt!

wasn't it awesome? such a great idea. I'll probably be hanging out there more often. sprinting is more fun when you have people to report back to!

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