Hey Dabblers, I’m going to build a free writing sprint tool for the community. I know what a writing sprint is (basically), but I’ve never participated in one. I’ve got ideas about what I would like to do to make it epic, but I need your help.
Explain to me what exactly is a writing sprint. As if I were 10 years old. What elements are required, what is important, what is nice to have? Are there any tools you use today? How many people do you sprint with? Is there a goal or just a time limit? What are those limits? Anything you can think of.
Thank you so much!
I’ve been telling people that sprints are like pomodoro sessions where you do as much work as you can within a certain amount of minutes. I currently admin a discord sever of about 40 people but there’s usually about 5 or less sprinting at a time. I installed a sprint bot that keeps track of words and acts as a timer.
How can I join your Discord server?
Here’s the link
This is an open invitation to anyone who wants to join.
You basically need to incorporate a timer into the software. A sprint is just writing for a set period of time, you don’t stop not to edit for NOTHING! Can I say how excited I am about this!
Going by what I’ve seen of lots of sprints conducted by NaNoWriMo folks over the years (especially via Twitter), it’s usually a just time limit. Sometimes, the person running the sprint will suggest a random writing prompt, if an individual needs something to get them unstuck. This can be as elaborate as “incorporate X into your next scene” or as simple as “use X word somewhere.”
I’ve more commonly seen time limits used over word count goals, but that may well be for simplicity’s sake. I’ve sprinted with lots of people via Twitter, and with a handful using the kind of Discord bot mentioned.
And depending on how this is supposed to work, maybe somewhere to write the words? (Not sure if you’re looking at this as an external tool, something to integrate with Dabble, or a fully-fludged standalone, all-in-one sprint writing environment.) I hope all that made sense.
This is a very rough mockup I did a few months ago. The idea is that you would work together as a group and inspire each other to write more, faster, etc. It would be a standalone free service and you would then need to copy-paste the final output back into your writing tool (Dabble, Word, etc.) once you were done.
Would this be valuable, or should it just be the timer and reporting word count at the end manually?
I asked the people in discord for their input and they seemed to like the idea and are interested.
This would be useful as a both, though with the standalone, we’d be able to write with even those who don’t use Dabble.
Would there be a way maybe we could use our Dabble login that would then allow us to maybe export to a Dabble project at the end of the sprint? Like a button that says export to Dabble that would open up a popup with a dropdown to let us choose a book, then a second dropdown that would populate chapter numbers plus an option to create a new chapter from the work we did?
The way Jacob explained it to me was that you don’t need to be a Dabble member so you can write with people who don’t use Dabble.
Also there’s no import method for Dabble so you would have to copy & paste your words into your Dabble project.
This would likely be more complicated for people than simply copy-pasting into Dabble. If I did anything like that, I would front-load the process and have you load an existing scene before starting so you would just type into what you had already. Or perhaps bring the sprinting into Dabble so you can do it outside and inside while still collaborating with the group. But that would be a version 2 or later.
I gave participated in Fast Furious Fiction from Australian Writers Centre. These occur on first weekend of each month! They usually have Themes and specific words to be highlighted! Participants have 24 hours to submit 500 words. Monetary prizes offered!
Not exactly sprints but ideas here may be if use! Incentive for participating might be discounted access to Dabble Writer!
I really, really like this! I love the idea of having it be a separate thing, I love the idea of a group chat, the visible timer. This is very simple, very elegant, and looks like a lot of fun to use!
Typically there are two different kinds of sprint - Let’s call them a sprint and a war, for clarity’s sake.
For a sprint you are trying to read a goal (let’s say 500 words) in an amount of time (say 15 minutes). If you’re being competitive, the first one to make 500 words ‘wins’ and you record the time taken.
A war is more like (again, if you’re looking at it competitively) who can write the most in a time (again, say 15 minutes).
I know a lot of people don’t like to use them competitively (I’m one of the weird minority who does, I know), so I’m not saying it would have to become a competition. It’s just easier for me to explain it like that. It’s just as good if you’re using it for motivation or to beat a BP or anything else.
Really the only must have for a sprint is a timer. Everything else is up to the participants. Your mock up looks great Jacob, would it integrate with the projects in Dabble too?
It seems to me that one reason to do sprints or wars is to brainstorm. You sit there and focus entirely on what comes to your mind next. I suppose it’s a great tool for pantsers.
A few years ago I was exploring the FocusWriter tool. It has a distraction-free mode and you can theme your environment. That created for me a very conducive place for creative writing. I got a lot of ideas down on the “page” very quickly and pleasantly.
Dabble has a fairly nice looking theme too. Jacob has made the effort to consistently use a specific palate of colors that unifies the interface. So brainstorming comes easily because I’m able to stay mellow.
You do want to disable spell and grammar checking because any unexpected prompting will spoil your momentum.
I have liked the NaNoWriMo sprints on Twitter in the past.
I am certain, I would not use a simple timer for myself (see, for instance, NaNo’s timer on their website, I KNOW it exists…)
The aspect of company is important to me and with it the sharing of, e.g., the last sentence written or where your story/character is going. I’d be mildly competitive; when I am deep in the story, I might be faster, but I still put quality over quantity during sprints .
From those experiences, it was more important to me, to get some writing prompts with the sprints – be it as simple as a random color, word from a specific group (e.g. an emotion) or picture – and have some fun with friends.
I could organise an invite for Winnie Bot to run sprints for us on the Discord if people are interested, at least until our Dabble sprinter is up and running.
I’ve never even heard of Winnie Bot before. We use Sprinto Bot to run sprints in my server.
I’ve used Sprinto before but I’m not a big fan. In all fairness it could be because I used Winnie first and most, and have only used Sprinto a few times.
But it’s a similar principle, I just prefer the way Winnie runs sprints, and how you’re able to join in different regions with Winnie.