April Weekend Writing Sprint Recap

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Community

Two weekends ago we hosted our second DIY MFA Weekend Writing Sprint, a weekend writing extravaganza! Around 200 writers joined this virtual writing retreat from around the globe. It was EPIC, though I’ll admit by the end of the weekend I felt a bit like the sea lions pictured on the right.

What impressed me most about the writing sprint was the dedication and diversity of the writers who participated. Some worked on short fiction, others on book-length projects. Some joined in for an hour or two, others camped out for the entire weekend. These amazing writers all had something in common: they’re seriously motivated and they got those words on the page.

This sprint was so much fun, it had me wondering why we don’t do these more often. So I’ve decided we need to do these once every month or so. My goal is to keep this awesome momentum going and also help writers (like you!) connect with other like-minded people and build an online support network. So save the date for our next Weekend Writing Sprint.

May 24-25, 2014
To get updates, sign up here.

Yes, it’s a holiday weekend in the USA, which is all the more reason to carve out an hour or two for your writing. We’re also going to try something a little different with the Grand Finale next time around, so stay tuned for that.

Awesome Writing Spaces

One of my favorite parts of the writing sprint this time around was that writers shared pictures of their writing spaces. Personally, I LOVE seeing how other writers do their best work. Even if their style is totally different from mine, I find it fascinating to learn about other writers’ creative processes. From libraries to comfy nooks, each writer in the sprint had a unique writing set-up. Here are a few workspace pictures from the writing sprint Twitter conversation. (I’ve included links to their Twitter profiles so we can all show these fabulous writers some love and follow them.)


@s_lovett started the trend by posting to Twitter with a picture of her writing set-up at a library.
Soon after other writers joined in and shared their own workspace pics.


@KimAlaine11 did the sprint from the table in this bright, colorful nook.


@LynnBlackmar worked from this desk, which reminds me a lot of my own writing space.


And @catherinekietsu worked in this comfy, cozy chair. Loved the knick-knacks on the shelf!

Productivity Practices

DIYMFAAs for me, I had grand plans of heading to my office and working at this space, but who was I kidding? I spent most of the weekend writing away from my mini-laptop on my bed with papers scattered everywhere and kitties snuggled up by my side. Perhaps not the most productive set-up but considering I’m now in my third trimester of baby-baking, it was nice to put my feed up for a few hours and write.

What I realized during this sprint was how important it is for writers to build habits and routines that work for them. All too often we’re bombarded with advice that ultimately squelches our creativity and engulfs us with guilt.

Here are a few gems I’ve been told in years past:

  • “Get up at 4am and write before going to work.”
  • “You must write 1000 words per day or you’re not really a writer.”
  • “Write from a computer that has no internet or you’ll be tempted to check email all day.

Baloney. It doesn’t matter what your routine is, what matters is that it works. Don’t try to fit yourself into someone else’s idea of a good writing practice, experiment and figure out what works for you. Writing practices are as diverse as the number of writers in the world. It’s just a matter of finding a routine and set of habits that fits your personal style.

Gear Up for Our Next Sprint

Want to give your writing a serious push? Sign up for email updates for the next writing sprint. (Note: this is a different list than the regular newsletter list.) When you sign up you’ll get a link to the super-secret headquarters page. We’ll be leaving the videos from the sprint up for another week (until April 23) so you can get a sneak peek before the next sprint.

BONUS! Since we had a bit of a technical glitch during the Grand Finale, I went ahead and recorded the presentation again and that will be available at the writing sprint headquarters for a limited time as well. Remember to save the date for the next sprint: May 24-25. Hope to see you there!


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