Sometimes it seems as though there are as many types of word sprint and hashtag out there as there are word sprinters. #WritingSprint. #WriteClub. #WordScrim. #1k1hr. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, whether you’ve just started sprinting or have the battle-hardened fingers of a word war veteran.
What draws people towards specific types of word sprint? What do all these hashtags mean? And what’s the perfect word sprint and its hashtag for you? Just read on to find out…
The ‘Lightning’ Sprint
If you’re easily distracted or find that you write lots in short bursts, but flag when writing continuously for longer periods, then lightning word sprints are probably your thing. They’re fast, they’re frantic and they’re frequent.
What constitutes a ‘short’ or ‘lightning’ sprint varies from person to person, but, generally speaking, they fall between 5 and 20 minutes, with 10 and 15 minute word sprints being the most common.
There’s no specific hashtag for sprints of this length, but the following are usually used when short bursts of sprinting are called for:
The ‘Mid-Length’ Sprint
Because lightning sprints are so short, they’re also held frequently. You might find, however, that stopping to report your word counts every 10-20 minutes is distracting, stops you getting into ‘The Zone’ or tosses you out of it most unceremoniously when you finally achieve that mystical state. If that’s the case, mid-length sprints may be more to your tastes.
A mid-length word sprint is around 30 minutes long. Many pre-planned, formal word sprints, such as Write Club, are this length, but spontaneous 30 minute sprints are still common.
Some of the hashtags you can use to join or host your own mid-length word sprints are:
- #WriteClub—these word sprints are held every Friday and run for at least 12 hours, starting from 7 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST. They last for 30 minutes, followed by a 10 minute break. Rinse and repeat. (Find out more about Write Club here.)
- #WordScrim—held predominantly by Virtual Writers, Inc. and The Prompt Fairy, a #wordscrim follows the pattern of most word sprints (write as much as you can in the set time period), except that the person with the highest word count is declared the winner. Wordscrims usually last 30 minutes. (Find out more about WordScrims here.)
- #WordMongering—each word mongering session begins on the hour, every hour, and lasts for half an hour. So that means furious writing from :00 to :30, followed by a 30 minute break. Then the cycle starts again. (Find out more about Word Mongering here.)
The ‘Long-Haul’ Sprint
What if you’re a person who revels in the continuous rush of words—someone who loves to lose themselves in a story for more than just 30 short minutes? If that’s you, then a long-haul sprint may be more your style.
These long sprints—so long I consider them ‘marathons’ instead—are generally an hour in length, but can go up to 90 minutes—or more. There tend to be fewer people who take part in these marathons, but those who do usually gravitate towards one particular hashtag: #1k1hr.
Short for ‘1000 words in 1 hour’, this challenge is for those who write consistently over long stretches. If you struggle to remain focused or keep up that pace for longer than a mid-length sprint, then this probably isn’t for you. If, however, you want to submerge yourself in the world of your imagination, but keep your pace and motivation high, then this hour long challenge could be perfect for you.
Some of the hashtags that you can find and host long sprints with are:
If you don’t already know which word sprint is for you, try out a few sprints of different lengths. Which ones keep you writing and feel the most enjoyable? Which ones are most appropriate for the amount of time you have available? And which ones allow you to write the most?
So now that you know what types of word sprints there are, how long they last, and what kind of sprinter they’re best suited to, there’s just one question to ask: what’s your perfect word sprint?
Interested in trying out a few word sprints? Pop over to the Sprinting Resources page and check out our list of the many writing and sprinting hashtags, events and websites. Then come join us on Twitter, where we host a variety of word sprints from @TheSprintShack, host your own sprint, or check out the Upcoming Sprints page to find out what wordy challenges are just around the corner.
Until then, happy writing!