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Word wars can be played by yourself or with another person, or against up to forty or so people. Probably more. Here’s how it works:

  1. Set a timer.
  2. Write.

Here’s how it actually works:

  1. Procrastinate.
  2. If in a group: chat a bit. Chat a bit more.
  3. Realize your writing time is going away like that last few minutes between the alarm going off in the morning and the time you actually HAVE TO BE UP AND MOVING NOW NOW NOW.
  4. Decide on a time. Fifteen minutes is good. Five minutes is good. Sixty minutes is a marathon but if you’ve never scooped your brain out with a teaspoon, you can give it a try.
  5. Procrastinate.
  6. Realize the timer is going.
  7. Write.

Realistic tips:

  1. Set a timer for 5-25 minutes.
  2. If you are working by yourself, allow for 5 minute breaks between wars.
  3. Before the timer starts, write down your beginning word count.
  4. Double check your inner editor. This is no time to talk to yourself, so put a gag on it. You are here to get ink on the page or pixels on the screen.
  5. Press start.
  6. Write.
  7. Do not look back.
  8. If you get stuck or are trying to think of that one minor character’s name or if a gun really weighs this much, write an easily locatable symbol and move on. I use [xx].
    A. Later, I will find every [xx] and replace or remove it as necessary.
    B. If you ever read a work I have written and you stumble upon [xx], I meant to put it there. Don’t worry about it.
  9. Stop when the timer goes ding!
  10. Write down your ending word count. Subtract your beginning word count from your ending word count.
  11. Set the timer. Your goal is to beat whatever was calculated in step 9.


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