Friday Night Writes

Since my realization that I need to get my act together if I plan on finishing a first draft by December 31, I’ve been looking for ways to up my word-count game. I work well under deadlines, always have, and I was pretty good this last week — sneaking in 20-minute writing intervals here and there. But as every writer knows, to really get the word count cranked out, you need to devote a good chunk of time to it.

Of course, when a good chunk of time presents itself, it’s so easy to lay on the couch and watch all the new fall shows. Or catch up on some reading. Or go grab dinner with friends. You know, anything except sitting in isolation at a computer for hours on end. That “isolation” part is sometimes the hardest thing about being a writer — at the end of the day, writing is a solitary act. You need to be able to hold yourself accountable to get the work done. But sometimes, camaraderie helps.

As a relative Twitter newbie, I started noticing the same hashtag trending every Friday night: #writeclub. I was… both surprised and confused that anything related to writing couple possibly be trending on Twitter (I mean, there’s a LOT of teenagers out there who tweet about the Bieber, you guys). So I put on my detective hat and found that this #writeclub thing was under the directive of Friday Night Writes.

My first thought, naturally was this:

But nope, not related. Friday Night Writes is the collective username for the folks who organize Write Club. They tweet the start and stop times for 30-minute “writing sprints” on Friday nights. Everyone starts writing at a specific time, and you don’t stop until 30 minutes have passed. You get a 10 minute break, then the whole thing starts over again.

So, I decided to give it a shot. I had nothing going on this past Friday night, so instead of re-watching Scrubs for the zillionth time, I sat down at the computer, watched my Twitter feed and waited for the next writing sprint. (Is it human nature to love a countdown? Even if it’s just for writing, it gets you all psyched up.)

After two writing sprints had passed, I tallied up my total word count — and whoa. I had cranked out almost 2,000 words. In a little over an hour. YES PLEASE.

Now, are those quality words? I’m not sure yet. The whole experience reminds me a bit of NaNoWriMo, where the focus is more on quantity than quality — silencing the inner editor in favor of getting words on the page. But I’m sort of ok with that. I’m at the point where I just need to get the first draft out. Editing can come later.

I won’t be able to participate in Write Club this upcoming Friday (because I’m GOING TO A MARGARET ATWOOD READING AAAAAH), but I’ll definitely be giving it a shot again. It’s somehow nice to know that all across the world, at the same time, other writers are toiling away alongside me.

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