Nano tools: Twitter

Despite its reputation as a time wasting distraction, Twitter can be a great help for productivity during NaNoWriMo. This particular tool can be a double edged sword: it’s easy to get drawn into the time-suck that is Twitter, but if you’re careful about how you use it, Twitter can be a big help.

Twitter can be a great place to find little bits of encouragement, but my favorite use for Twitter during Nano is finding sprint partners—and better yet, partners for word wars!

About 20 minutes seems to be a good length for a sprint, and the faster your sprint partners, the faster you seem to go. At my writers’ retreat last year, I had periods where I’d struggle to get a couple hundred words written in an hour or two—and then with a twenty minute sprint, I’d pound out almost 1300 (almost: 1299). I didn’t win, but I didn’t care! That was a heck of a lot better than I’d done in the last hour! The sense of accomplishment from pounding those words out makes it all worthwhile.

Since most of us don’t live with twenty writer friends full time, finding sprint partners can be a challenge, unless you turn to a place like Twitter.

If you’re worried about using writing as a competition, note that I actually really hate competition and the feeling of competitiveness. It’s a rush, but for me it’s not a good one: usually. But when I’m sprinting with someone—especially someone whom I know can write a LOT faster than me—it pushes me to go faster, and gives me a productivity boost that’s pretty hard to beat. And yes, it’s just plain fun.

My friend Julie Coulter Bellon is doing her first Nano, and she’s hosted a writing sprint on Twitter and her blog from 8 to 9 PM MST for the last two Wednesdays. I’m really hoping to be ready to write and join in next week!

Do you sprint? How do you find partners?

Twitter image by Scott Beale

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