Reflections on the Winter Writing Festival 2013


It’s almost a week since the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival closed for 2013, and I hope you’re feeling good about the progress you made.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely missing the sprints. (For the time being, at least, the RSSWWF chat room remains open, so grab a buddy and get to work!)

For my part, I’m thinking about the RSSWWF for 2014, hoping to make it better than ever. I’m especially eager to know how to support folks who had trouble keeping up with their goals and ended up dropping out.

In the comments below, please share your ideas!!!

You might consider the following questions:

-What parts worked best for you?

-What might have helped you get more out of it?

-If you MADE YOUR GOALS, what factors were most important in making that happen?

-If you DIDN’T make your goals, what were the biggest obstacles?

-What advice would you give others for setting effective goals next year?

Chime in!! Give me some good ideas!

26 responses to “Reflections on the Winter Writing Festival 2013”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    My main concern is with helping keep folks GOING with the Festival. We always have a hearty band who make it through the whole 50 days and meet all their goals, but we also have a lot who start enthusiastically and fizzle out somewhere along the line.

    Two ideas I have so far:

    1. make a list of the emails of everyone who signs up and have some sort of “pep talk” or at least reminder email that goes out at least once or twice a week. (NaNo does this, and I find it helpful as a little boost/reminder.)

    2. Encourage people to include a way to earn a point on days when life just gets too crazy: like “If Life throws me a curve ball (getting the flu, family emergency, blizzard knocks my power out, whatever), I can earn a point that day just by opening my manuscript and looking at it for one minute” or something like that. People could set a limit for how many times they used that during the Festival, but it would help more people stay with us through the height of flu season, etc..


    • Addison Fox says:

      These are both great ideas, Elisa!!


    • Oh, I like the email idea – with NaNo, their little pep talks keep me upbeat about it all. I rarely made it to the festival site except to update points or use the chat room, so I’d forget there were pep talks over there. Maybe an email would be more effective? Hmmm…


      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Yeah…I suspect that a lot of people came to this site rather than that site. More of a PUSH model would help.

        Now I just have to REMEMBER to actually do this next year…LOL!


    • Rita Henuber says:

      Perhaps e-mail the inspirational thought for the day directly to everyone. A couple of years ago I was in a group that did that and I really looked forward to them every day.


  2. Addison Fox says:

    Something else I noticed just observing through some comments on the blog as well as some comments in the chat room was folks who joined the WWF with a friend often had a personal motivator in their corner as well.

    Obviously EVERYONE is welcome, regardless of the stage in their writing, but having someone accountable close by/who you see could also be another positive way to keep those pages adding up.



  3. Tamara Hogan says:

    In terms of goal-setting for the festival, I set a public goal that aligns with a goal I already consistently meet via my daily writing habit. Privately, I stretched myself by hosting Sunday afternoon sprints, which resulted in two additional hours of writing time per week. I got most of my next book plotted during this years’ sprints!


  4. Diana Layne says:

    Yeah, well, it didn’t work for me this year and nothing you coulda done woulda saved me. However, what if we could talk to someone like WriteWay Pro or Scrivener and see about getting discounts for their software for our winners like the NANO group?


  5. Elisa, I miss the sprints, too. They really helped me when I thought I couldn’t be productive.

    Another thing NaNo is doing lately that I like is the “camps.” I haven’t tried one, but I like the idea of being able to jump in and do one when I want. One of the online chapters I belong to does a week-long push (kind of like I did on our blog last fall, though that was 6 weeks, I think). We have a loop, someone writes a motivating message to kick us off, and two teams “compete” (though, not really) for a week, reporting their word count daily to a team captain. We could do a week or two during the summer, or maybe one each season? This chapter I belong to does a week every three months, so you know it’s coming up and can put it on your calendar. It’s fun and motivating. Sometimes, when the word count goals seem impossible, biting off a chunk of that goal for a week seems more manageable. And I think it’s a good way to keep momentum from the festival going throughout the rest of the year.

    My 2 cents. 🙂 Thanks for all you did for the festival – it was amazing!


  6. June Love says:

    Since I didn’t participate, and it had nothing to do with what was good or could’ve been better, I can’t really offer an opinion one way or other. I do thank you for keeping it organized and running smoothly.


  7. Rita Henuber says:

    What about live audio chats? I’m not sure what they call them now webinars or whatever.


  8. Kristina Mathews says:

    I was one of those who didn’t meet my goals during the festival. But, I submitted to two agents and one editor. And I’ve finally, finally gotten to the point in the new MS that I feel like I’m moving forward. I even dreamed of my hero last night 🙂

    I don’t have any specific suggestions. It just didn’t work for me at the time. But I think I established the habit of at least trying to write every day by participating in the first, so I was able to eventually get back on track.


  9. I think I set too high a goal for myself. As an Indie published author my work is very scattered between promotion, publishing, and writing. It’s hard to make a firm daily commitment to the writing part of my job with so many other things demanding my time. I’m thinking maybe I need to work on a weekly goal basis next year.


    • Elisa Beatty says:

      A weekly goal is great.

      We should probably make that an OFFICIAL option for next year, since I think that works better for a significant number of people.


  10. Lyn says:

    First of all thanks again to all the lovely Rubies who hosted or worked behind the scenes to make the Festival such a success again. For me, personally, it forced me to stop procrastinating and putting everything else except my novel first, and I now feel I’m making real progress and trying to continue to commit to at least two hours ‘novel’ time a day, regardless of blogging, email and other commitments (like housework, fer instance|!:) )

    The sprints were a real help, as always. I’ve done the WWF for three years now and feel this year was actually the most productive because I used a little more willpower, I think, and managed to avoid the internet taking over my life.I hope i can continue and will try to make the chat room as long as it is open. Companionship is a wonderful motivator – and I love the idea of a regular email ‘chivvy up’ as per NaNo!

    Finally, a reminder that Ruby Kim Law is one of the Guests of Honour at the Author Roast and Toast this Friday, together with Patrice Wilton and Cheryl Bolen. Please come by and say hello if you can, it’s a Blog with a difference!


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