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Posts tagged with: Winter Writing Festival

Write On 2017! Prioritize Your Writing

Stop clowning around!

Say it with me, writer friends: It’s time to stop clowning around and get serious about my writing! Maybe you’re a new writer hankering to finish your first novel. Or maybe you’ve been in the writing trenches a while and need to take that next BIG STEP. Get an agent. Self-publish. Quit your day job. Regardless of where you’re at in the writing journey, you can increase productivity and improve process through a thoughtful and focused writing plan.

Over the next eight Wednesdays I’ll share proven strategies and exercises to keep you on course and on fire about your writing. In these interactive posts, you’ll learn practical steps to prioritize your creative life, draft a writing plan to hold you accountable, and explore exercises that inspire and affirm. These blog posts are culled from one of my most popular writing workshops: Write On! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting, & Time Management. If you’re a worksheet-y kind of writer, see the Write On Worksheet.

Today’s topic: Prioritize Your Writing Life

If you’re serious about your writing, you must honor it with your time, talent, and treasure. Bonus: When you take your writing seriously, others will too, such as spouses, editors/agents, and readers.

Do you see that little clown above? That’s my youngest daughter. After I first created my writing plan twelve years ago, I told my girls, including that cutey-patooty clown, that I was setting aside time every day to write. If my girls needed something and I was at my writing desk, they would ask me, “Mommy, are you on the clock?” If I said yes, they knew I needed to finish my work. This was a pivotal moment in my writing career. Words and book contracts soon followed.

A few quick tips to prioritize: 

  1. Regular Writing Schedule – Writing is a muscle, and it works best when used regularly. Follow a writing sked that works for you. Write 500 words a day or 5,000 words a weekend. Or write from 5-6 every morning or 9-11 every night. When I’m drafting a book, I write 2,500 words a day, Monday-Friday. Interestingly enough, I became more productive (and less weary) when I decided to take weekends off.
  2. Writing Environment – Create a place to write. Home offices are great, as you can close the door, but don’t get caught up looking for the “perfect writing spot.” I use a desk in my living room. A friend of mine writes at Starbucks every day. If it helps, put up a few inspirational quotes, a vision board with your latest book project, or even a Writer-At-Work sign.
  3. Dollars and Cents – Set aside money for writing conferences and craft books. A solid investment now leads to greater future returns. Even though writing conferences exhaust me, I’m wonderfully productive once I get home. Perhaps it’s all that shared energy and filling of the creative well. 
  4. Writing Groups – Join a writing organization (RWA, Sisters in Crime, ITWSCBWI, etc.), great places for education and motivation. Likewise, critique groups and writing challenges can help boost productivity. Check out the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival for a heaping dose of writing inspiration and productivity challenges.
  5. Writing Plan – Create a writing plan and review it at least quarterly. Check the Ruby blog every Wednesday for the next eight weeks, and I’ll help you craft a simple but effective writing plan for 2017. 
  6. Your Manifesto – Say it. To your family. To your friends. And most importantly, to yourself. “I am a writer…a storyteller…an artist who paints with words, and I shall nurture and honor my creative soul.” This above all else.

Your Assignment

Now it’s your turn. Identify at least one thing you can do to prioritize your writing life. Write it in the comment section below. Then, DO IT!

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of mysteries, romantic thrillers, and novels for teens. Her debut thriller was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, and her other novels have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Paperback Original of the Year from the International Thriller Writers, and a Kirkus Recommended Read. A former magazine editor and restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at www.shelleycoriell.com and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

 

 

Goal-Setting Advice for the 2017 Winter Writing Festival!

The Festival starts next week! The Festival starts next week!! (Tuesday, January 10, to be exact.)

I hope you’re as excited as I am, and ready for some BIG PRODUCTIVITY through what could otherwise be the dreariest part of winter. 

To help you get ready, I’m re-posting a blog from previous years about how to get ready and set workable goals:

One of my favorite parts of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival is the fact that you can set your own goals. But of course that means you need to think carefully about what your goals should be to make best use of the Festival’s awesome writer-boosting power.

Some thoughts on setting effective Festival goals:

If you look at me now, you might not believe this, but back in junior high and high school, I ran track competitively. (I used to be a skinny little muscle-ball. Seriously. I have pictures somewhere….probably buried under a pile of candy-bar wrappers. Sigh.)

Anyhow, as I think about my goals for the Writing Festival, I think about my track days. The wisdom I learned back then applies now.

1. Know which race you’re running.

Apparently, I have some weird combination of “short-twitch” and “long-twitch” muscles, so when I ran track, my coaches assigned me a wide range of races–everything from the manic kangaroo-style dash of 100-meter hurdles to the marshall-your-energy-for-the-very-long-run mind-game of cross-country.

If you went into a hurdles race with a cross-country mind-set, the other racers would cross the finish line before you made your first leap.

If you went into a cross-country race with a hurdles mind-set, you’d leave the others in the dust…for the first five minutes, and then they’d all have to jump over your prone and twitching body once you’d burned out your muscle’s short-term glycogen stores.

The RSSWWF isn’t a sprint, but it’s not a marathon either. At 50 days, it requires a bit more stamina than the month-long NaNoWriMo, but it’s still a fairly short-term and intensive commitment.

The toughest race I used to run was the 800: half a mile.  It was not-quite-a-sprint, not-quite-a-distance-race. You really had to think carefully about just how fast you could go out of the blocks, and you had to sustain that speed for two full rounds of the track.

My advice for the Festival: push yourself, but don’t kill yourself. If NaNo’s 1667 words a day is do-able but kinda exhausting for you, maybe pull back to 1200, or 1000, or even 500 words a day.  If you prefer setting an amount of time to write per day, pick a time that will pinch a little, but not make your other commitments impossible to meet. Your family / boss / pets / dirty laundry can be pushed down the priority ladder for NaNo’s 30 days, but 50 days is harder.  Would an hour a day be reasonable? Can you cut out some internet playtime or a TV show to make that possible? Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you can hang with for seven full weeks.

If you pace yourself right, you might find that your Festival goals can be sustained long after February is gone!

3. Build in some breathers!

Lots of studies have shown that the best way to build aerobic endurance is not by running constantly–it’s by running for a while, then walking for a while, then running again. (My track coaches built our lungs with a crueler version of this: “wind sprints,” in which you ran 50 yards at top speed, paused for about ten seconds, then ran back just as fast and kept repeating the process until your coaches felt merciful enough to let you stop. It worked, but it hurt like hell. I like the alternate running / walking thing MUCH better.)

Lots of Festival participants are including goals like “Take Saturdays off to be with family,” or “Take Tuesday and Thursday evenings off.” This isn’t cheating–it’s sound training advice! Some of you may want to write seven days a week regardless, but don’t kill yourself. A little rejuvenation can help you power up and get more done on your “on” days.

And remember, we listened carefully to those of you who told us a couple years ago that daily goals don’t work for you, but weekly goals do. So if your life is too chaotic to chunk your work in neat 24 hour cycles, go right ahead and binge and purge as fits you best, and give yourself seven points at the end of each week when you’ve met your weekly goal.

And here’s an idea that may seem radical, but may actually keep you in the game: build in an EASY option for getting a point on days when Real Life gets in your way. Literally, say, “50 new words on a tough day,” or “10 minutes at the keyboard when the day job / kids / house explode on me.” Only choose that option for getting your point when you’re really desperate, but GIVE yourself the point. It will keep you from quitting entirely out of frustration or guilt…and keep you much more productive in the long run.

4. Depend on your teammates.

Sisterhood is powerful! The best thing about the Festival is that we’re doing it as a group.

Announce your goals loud and clear on the Ruby blog on Tuesday, January 10. Check in regularly on Tuesdays and let us know how you’re doing. You can even check in daily on the Winter Writing Festival homepage if that helps keep you on track. Accountability = big motivation! (Also, we always give away prizes to those who’ve met their goal for the week!)

Use the writing sprints! Every year, participants rave about the writing sprints (held in the chat room over at rsswwf.com/ichat), saying they have almost magical power to make the words flow. We’ll have regular sprints scheduled at all sorts of times, so keep an eye out for the schedule on the Writing Festival homepage!

Sprint not scheduled at a time that works for you? During the Festival, feel free to drop by the chat room anytime to see if you can find a partner for a spontaneous “pick up” sprint, or ask a friend to join you there.  (It’s a great idea to make “participate in a writing sprint” one of the ways you can earn a Festival point!)

The more the merrier, so spread the word!! Everyone is welcome to participate!

 Get your writing muscles warmed up, friends! This is gonna be great!!

 

Announcing the 2017 Winter Writing Festival!!!

Needing a special gift for your writer self?

Well, the Rubies have one for you: THE SEVENTH ANNUAL RUBY SLIPPERED SISTERHOOD WINTER WRITING FESTIVAL STARTS TUESDAY JANUARY 10, 2017!!!

If you’ve joined us for the Winter Writing Festival any time during the past six years, you know it can be a tremendously productive time, with lots of inspiring support and the magic of REGULAR WRITING SPRINTS held in our cozy Ruby Chat Room!!

It’s completely free, and all writers are welcome—the more the merrier!

Through the bleakest part of winter—January 10 through February 28—the Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning, with camaraderie, encouragement, fun prizes for participants, and as much virtual hot-chocolate (and virtual cookies!!) as you please. ‘Cause nobody’s Muse can resist a party!

Here’s the beauty part:  unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that (much as we love them!!) have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you.

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival wants to give you fuel for your winter writing fire.

We use a “point” system, with a goal of earning one point per day–and YOU DEFINE WHAT IT TAKES TO EARN THAT POINT!

Everybody gets one bonus point on the first day, Tuesday January 10, for stopping by the Ruby blog and making a public commitment to take part in the Festival. Then, for each of the 50 days of the Festival (including January 10), you work to earn an additional point, according to your personal point system.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you might define as worth one point (you fill in the variables with the amounts that work for you):

-writing X number of words or pages

-deep revising Y number of pages

-polishing Z number of pages

-freewriting / brainstorming for Q number of minutes/hours

-doing R number of 20-minute writing sprints

-keeping butt in chair and hands on keyboard for S number of minutes or hours

For instance, one person might commit to earning points according to the following terms:

-writing 500 words per day  OR

-deep revising 10 pages per day OR

-doing a final polish on 25 pages per day OR

-participating in an hour of writing sprints

Any day that person meets ANY of those goals, she gets a point.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CAN’T PREDICTABLY WORK *DAILY* BUT KNOW YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH SET GOALS BY THE END OF A *WEEK*, we’re also officially giving you permission to set a weekly instead of a daily goal, and then give yourself 7 points when you make it!! (See? It’s SUPER CHILL AND FLEXIBLE around here.)

You can also give yourself BONUS POINTS for auxiliary goals, like writing new words every day for seven days in a row, or reaching a certain word count by the end of a week, or writing THE END on a manuscript. Be creative with how you set up earning your points. Make them work with your personal writing style and writing needs.

If you don’t earn your point on any particular day (or week), you can certainly double or triple or quadruple the points you earn on another day (or week) to catch up.

And if you know ahead of time that you can never work on certain days (say, Saturdays) feel free to add something like “Keep balance in my life by taking Saturday off” to your personal list of ‘ways to earn a point.’ Yes, really, you can get a point for taking a planned day off!! Don’t be shy.

Remember, we all have different life commitments and different approaches to our writing lives, so we all need to set our own point systems. All approaches are equally worthy. This isn’t a competition, it’s a supportive process for MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR WRITING.

Check in on the Ruby blog every day during the Festival to report your progress. If you reach Feb 28 with at least 50 points, YOU WIN!!

Because we’re the Rubies, and we like to do things up right (and…okay, because we have the awesome Liz Bemis of bemispromotions.com) we’ll even have a special sister website up and running during the Festival which you can access by going to rsswwf.com or by clicking the blue “Ruby Winter Writing Festival” button which will soon appear near the top of the Ruby site.

Everyone who commits to participating on January 10 will be able to download a cool “Ruby Winter Writing Festival Participant” badge to post on their own website or blog.

Plus, everyone who checks in on our Tuesday Check-In Days reporting that they’re on track with earning points will be entered in random drawings for cool prizes, like books by the fabulous Rubies, craft books, gift cards, chocolates, and expert critiques from the Sisters!

If you check in on Tuesday, February 28 and report you’ve WON, you’ll be able to download a “Ruby Winter Writing Festival WINNER” badge to post on your website or blog.

And of course you’ll have the satisfaction of achieving a small boatload of wonderful shiny writing progress (not to mention eternal fame and glory…and cookies!).

What’s not to love?

Decide on your personal terms for earning points, and join us back here on Tuesday January 10 to get started!! And spread the word on your loops, Facebook, and personal websites! The more writers who join us, the stronger we’ll all be!

2016 Ruby Winter Writing Festival Check-in Monday #5

Welcome to the Week 5 check-in!

We’ve reached the point in the marathon where we may be starting to fatigue, wanting to give up because our original goals may seem unattainable. However, there’s still time to succeed! That second wind—that runner’s (writer’s?) high—is just around the corner. Don’t give up!!

If you’re keeping up and hitting your stride, congratulations! Definitely share below, in the comments, and start with “I MADE MY GOAL” so we can cheer you on!

But some of us may be struggling to find our balance or maintain the pace we desired when the festival began. This may be the point to try something new, such as adjusting your expectations and goals, re-prioritizing, or trying a new strategy like joining the sprints in the chat room for some added support or identifying what’s not working (maybe in your plot, your writing schedule, or other distractions?) and addressing it in new ways.

Remember, each day is a chance to recreate yourself, and to meet your goals! Don’t give up.

As usual with our check-in days, we have some amazing prizes offered by the Ruby Sisterhood. Comment below with a progress update to enter this week’s drawing.

This week’s prizes are:

 

Please share how you’re doing below (the good, the bad, and the ugly!). If you’ve made your goal, please remember to add “I MADE MY GOAL” at the beginning of your comment. 😉

And good luck to all of us who haven’t given up. Stay strong, visualize victory, and reach for the finish line — we’re in the home stretch!!

It’s Check-In Monday #1 for the Winter Writing Festival!!

The Sixth Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival is really rocking, with the Ruby Sisters and dozens of their always-talented friends writing their hearts out!

Today we complete our FIRST FULL WEEK, and it’s time to officially check in!

If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), jump on over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog ( the ruby-colored site, at rubyslipperedsisterhood.com) and leave a quick comment about your experience with the Festival and your progress so far.

(See info on SWAG you could win, below!!)

A few bits of business before we move on:

1.  CHAT ROOM SPRINTS ARE FABULOUS!

A reminder to those who haven’t jumped in with the writing sprints yet: our Chat Room http://www.rsswwf.com/ichat/  is open over at the rsswwf.com site. The sprints have helped MANY Festival participants make amazing progress! You don’t have to be in first-draft mode either: the sprints work just as well if you’re in the planning or revision stages too. It’s just a great way to get butt-in-chair and stay focused for whatever chunk of time you want to stay for!

If you’re still unsure, or feeling a little shy, check out Kim Law’s really helpful post about how the sprints work right here.

2. We’re at EIGHT POINTS! (That’s where you should be at the end of the day today if you earned all the points you were supposed to this week. You should have nine points if you got the bonus for signing in on the first day! And some of you have been heaping up extra points–so if you’re ahead of that already, good for you!)

If you earned all your points for the week, please add a line in your comment in all caps saying I MADE MY GOAL!!! You will hear us cheering loudly!!!

If you’re a bit behind, NO WORRIES!! You can  always double up on later dates, OR revise your point-earning system if your original was a tad too ambitious. Really, seriously, it’s 100% okay to say, “I need to change my goals” or “I need to add in a less-hefty way to earn a point for my toughest days.”

The point is to KEEP WORKING and MAKE PROGRESS!! We can’t say it enough: the Festival is designed for YOU!

3. Git yer red-hot Festival Participant Badge right here:

If you didn’t get your badge up on your personal website yet, you can grab a copy right now.  Just right-click on the badge below, choose “SAVE IMAGE AS” and save it to your computer. You can then upload it to your own website as you please!

rss_winterfestival-participant-badge 2016

 

 

 

4. Is it too late to join??? NEVER TOO LATE!!!

If you’re just discovering us, or if you’ve got friends burning with jealousy because they’ve heard of all of the progress you’ve made in the Writing Sprints, tell them to jump right in!! They can give themselves Super Bonus Golden Sunshine Points (or some less embarrassing name, if they prefer) to make up for any days they’ve missed so far, and move forward from there.

AND NOW FOR THE SWAG:

Anyone who checks in at the Ruby blog today will be entered in a random drawing to win one of the following prizes (just because we love you!):

 

Now it’s YOUR turn, Festival-goers!! How did the week go? Did you stay on target??

Opening Ceremonies: 2016 Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival!

***To anyone checking in January 12 or later, YES!!! YOU CAN STILL JOIN THE FESTIVAL!! Just declare your commitment (and your personal point-earning system) below and jump right in!!***

Oh, how we adore saying these words:

roaring-fire_657x600We now declare the Sixth Annual Winter Writing Festival OPEN!
Let the Games begin!!

To get your BONUS point for today, Monday January 11,  add a comment on the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (rubyslipperedsisterhood.com) in which you:

1) define how *you personally* will earn your Festival “points”

and

2) declare your commitment to earning 50 points by Feb 29, 2016. (Further details on goal-setting follow below).

 Leaving a comment today on the regular Ruby blog also puts you in the running for some cool prizes–the first round of our fabled Festival Swag, which includes lots of gift cards, awesome Ruby books, delicious goodies, and the ever-popular WRITING CRITIQUES, which we’ll continue giving out in random drawings every Monday from now until the end of the Festival on Monday, Feb 29!!)

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WHAT IS THE WINTER WRITING FESTIVAL???

For those who haven’t been with us for the WWF before, it’s an online writing festival, kind of like NaNoWriMo, but designed by busy, hard-working women: i.e., we schedule it for AFTER the chaos of the holidays, and we let you DESIGN YOUR OWN approach to “winning” so it actually fits in with your real life!!

For fifty days through what’s otherwise the dullest part of winter, we cheer each other on to make serious progress in our writing, with regular check-ins, celebratory prizes, and (for those who want more direct support) lots of friendly, online Writing Sprints!! (More details on all these things below.) 

The WWF is open to writers in ALL GENRES (not just romance), and it’s 100% free to join!

TO REGISTER:

You don’t really have to register officially if you don’t want to, but if you like having a formal spot to chart your progress, leave your comment today on the regular Ruby site (rubyslipperedsisterhood.com) stating how you’ll earn your Festival points, then jump over to our special Festival site, rsswwf.com, and officially register. Click on the “Member” snowflake near the upper right of that page, then click on “Register for the site.” When you log back in throughout the Festival, you can add points to your progress bar and see how far you’ve come. (Should there be any technical problems, don’t worry! Just leave your comment here–we’ll consider you part of the Festival no matter what!)

WRITING SPRINTS:

The very BEST thing about the rsswwf.com site is the CHAT ROOM, which we use for writing sprints. Those of you who’ve participated in the Festival before can testify that writing sprints are pretty darned miraculous at helping writers be super-turbo-powered productive–even if the chaos of life normally makes it hard for you to get much written.

You just click on the Chat Room link in the box near the upper left of the rsswwf.com site (right under “Sprint Schedule), and you’ll jump to a screen where you can type in the name or nickname you want to use during the chat. Hit enter, and you’ll find yourself in a virtual space with other writers also eager to get work done. A Sprint Hostess will be there to greet you and show you the ropes. Sprint Czaress Kim Law has some great instructions here.

Typically, we chat (via typing) for a few minutes between sprints, then write like crazy for 20 minutes (or 45 minutes at some sessions), then come back and chat some more. Just knowing other people are writing while you are–and waiting to hear your new word count when you chat again–will keep you in your seat and cranking out those words. You can get inspiration, great advice, and (in half the chats I’ve been in) just laugh yourself silly. DON’T BE SHY!!!! It’s fun and easy…and practically magic!

Also note a new feature this year: the wonderful Hope Ramsay, plot-builder extraordinaire, is hosting a special PLOT BRAINSTORMING SESSION every Wednesday morning from 9 AM – 11 AM!!  Get in on that if you can!

Writing sprints start TODAY and happen at various times daily. Jump in anytime!!! And if we don’t have a sprint scheduled at a time that works for you, feel free to find a buddy and come in on your own. Here’s the schedule so far (all times are EST):

Week of January 11:

Monday:

5 AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

9AM – 11AM with Heather McCollum

1PM – 3PM with Vivi Andrews

7PM – 9PM with Darynda Jones

10PM – midnight with Addison Fox

Tuesday: 

5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

7AM – 9AM with Liz Talley

Noon – 2PM with Autumn Jordon

10PM – midnight with Elisa Beatty

Wednesday: 

5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

8AM – 11AM Brainstorming session with Hope Ramsay

2PM – 4PM with Laurie Kellogg

7PM – 9PM with Darynda Jones

10PM – midnight with Addison Fox

Thursday:

5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

12PM – 2PM with Autumn Jordon

10PM – midnight with Elisa Beatty

Friday:

5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

9AM – 11AM with Heather McCollum

Saturday:

11AM – 2PM with Elisa Beatty

Sunday:

Noon – 2PM with Autumn Jordon

 

PARTICIPANT BADGE:

To help keep you inspired between writing sprints, grab yourself a Participant badge (right-click on the one below and then click on “save image as”) to upload to your personal website.  

rss_winterfestival-participant-badge 2016

 

 

 

 

You can also check in daily at the Brag Blog on the rsswwf.com site, where you can report on how your writing day has gone, get a quick pep talk if you need it, or celebrate whenever you earn a point! You’ll also find inspirational daily quotes and links to Ruby posts on craft to pull you through when you’re feeling a little stuck.

FABULOUS SWAG:

Also, check out the fantabulous Winter Writing Festival swag you have a chance to win during Monday Check-Ins if you meet your goals each week. (You can also purchase some cool Winter Writing Festival swag yourself–including coffee mugs, tees, sweats, and totes with the Festival logo–at our Cafe Press store.)

The Swag you can win today just for leaving a comment on the regular Ruby site includes (print books available USA only):

Critique of first 5 pages by Autumn Jordon (contemporary romance or romantic suspense)

$20 Amazon or B&N gift card (winner’s choice) from Addison Fox

A bag of “Turtle Island” Chocolate Turtles from Kim Law

E-copy of Marriage: Impossible by Ava Blackstone (now available for pre-order at Amazon, iBooks and Kobo!) and a $20 Amazon e-gift card

Set of three signed print books in the Highlands Hearts series by Heather McCollum

Print or e-copy of Bared to the Viscount by Lara Archer and a $20 Amazon e-gift card

marriageImpossible-200x30051BBsTLnkDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Lara_Bared

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s not to love? (Our thanks to mega-talented Ruby Sister Liz Bemis of bemispromotions.com for designing and maintaining both sites!!)

BTW: You can easily jump over to the rsswwf.com site by clicking the blue participant badge in the upper right-hand corner of the regular Ruby site.

If for any reason you have technical problems registering today: don’t panic!! Just leave us a message here in the comment trail, and get started earning points for the Festival. 

Be sure to visit the Chat Room: you don’t want to miss out on those sprints!!

______________________________________________________

A QUICK REVIEW OF THE GOAL-SETTING AND POINT-SCORING RULES:

Everybody gets one BONUS point TODAY for coming to the Ruby blog and leaving a comment that makes a public declaration of your commitment to take part in the Festival and a public announcement of your goals. Then, for each of the 50 days of the Festival (including today), you work to earn an additional point—and you define what it takes to earn that point.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you might define as worth one point (you fill in the variables with the amounts that work for you):

-writing X number of words or pages
-deep revising Y number of pages
-polishing Z number of pages
-freewriting / brainstorming for Q number of minutes/hours
-doing R number of 20-minute writing sprints
-keeping butt in chair and hands on keyboard for S number of minutes or hours

For instance, one person might commit to earning points according to the following terms:

-writing 500 words per day OR
-deep revising for one hour per day OR
-doing a final polish on 25 pages per day

Any day that person meets ANY of those goals, she gets a point.

YOU set the goals that meet your personal writing style and writing needs. (For more advice on how to set up your goals, see here).

If you can’t meet your goal on any particular day, you can certainly double or triple or quadruple your goal on another day to catch up.

And if you know ahead of time that you can never work on certain days (say, Saturdays) feel free to add something like “keep balance in my life by taking Saturday off” to your personal list of ‘ways to earn a point.’ Really. You can earn a point by taking a planned day off!! Don’t be shy.

We also highly recommend having a “emergency / bad day goal” for when life gets in the way–like just 50 new words, or 5 minutes looking at your manuscript, or something really, really manageable–so you don’t let a bout of flu or late day at the office throw you off completely. Just promise yourself you’ll only use those for the unexpected bumps in the road. That way you’ll feel like you’re still on board, and won’t just drop by the wayside.

And if setting your goals by the week works better for you than setting them by the day, go for it!!! Same with setting goals by the month, or just having one big 50-day overall goal!!

Remember, we all have different life commitments and different approaches to our writing lives, so we all need to set our own goals. All goals are equally worthy. This isn’t a competition, it’s a supportive process for MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR WRITING.

We want the Festival to work for YOU!

Check in at the Ruby blog every Monday during the Festival to report your progress (and be entered in random drawings for more Festival Swag.)

If you reach Feb 29 with a nice round 50 points (or more), YOU WIN!!

Spread the word to all your writer friends–all genres are welcome!!!

Good luck all, and GET WRITING!!

Guest Annabeth Albert Talks About How the WWF Changed Her Writing Career!

Today the Rubies are welcoming a special guest, Annabeth Albert, a longtime Friend of the Rubies who first found her true writing groove during a Winter Writing Festival a few years ago. She’s here today to share some important writing lessons she’s learned that launched her professional career.

Annabeth grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Take it away, Annabeth!

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Thank you so much to the fabulous Rubies for hosting me! I’m a long time Ruby fan (Ruby groupie? Can that be a thing? Please?), and this year marked my fourth Winter Writing Festival. That first year was a huge turning point for me—I went from sporadic 500 word days to consistent 1,000 word days and a finished book by the end of WWF 2012. That particular book didn’t sell, but the next year, I was back with a new WIP. I spent the 2013 WWF finishing that new manuscript and doing some serious rewriting on it. The 2014 WWF will always be special to me because I received word during it that I sold both my 2013 WWF book (TREBLE MAKER) AND my 2014 WWF book (SERVED HOT). And today is the release day for SERVED HOT!

DSC_7026authorFacingRight-266x300I’ve waited a long time for this day, and I really credit the WWF with changing how I write and how I prioritize my writing. I want to share with you some of my tips for keeping productivity high as the challenge comes to an end.

It helps to think of writing as a business, and like any business, you need a business plan to capitalize on your success. A bit of strategic planning now will serve you all the way until the next WWF. First, take a quick minute to list five truths you’ve learned about yourself as writer during the challenge. These can be positive or negative and just jot down whatever comes to mind. For example:

  • I can write in short bursts throughout the day, but long sessions aren’t as productive for me.
  • I write faster in the morning and late at night, and slowest in the late morning/afternoon.
  • I am more likely to avoid the lure of the internet when I know others are also working.
  • Keeping track of my weekly word/page count is a huge motivator.
  • I am a plotter & if my word count is dropping, something may be wrong with my outline.

Now, take your list and brainstorm how you can apply it to a daily writing plan.

Winter Writing Festival: Check-in #5

We’re on the other side of halfway now, and I’m still feeling the inspirational, high-energy vibes I was feeling back in the first week. Thank you all for keeping me motivated to meet my daily, weekly, and festival goals. I hope you’re continuing to find the support and enthusiasm you need to meet your goals, too!

How did you do this past week? Good or bad, remember to share your progress below for some cheers and commiseration. If you need a boost, don’t forget to check out the chat room for sprints. I always find those motivational! And if you put “I MADE MY GOALS” at the top of your comment, you’re entered for a chance to win one of these fabulous prizes to keep you sprinting toward that finish line:

Afterlife_FC_FNL  

 

 

 

*If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), make sure you jump over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at rubyslipperedsisterhood.com) before leaving your comment!

Winter Writing Festival: Check-in #1

We’re one week into our Winter Writing Festival and the chat rooms have been hopping, the initial goal setting and energy level have been inspirational, and I’ve had a number of writers telling me they “needed this right now.”

So did I. You all have motivated me to work hard and keep the momentum going. Even on days when the words aren’t flowing, I’m finding it productive to listen to RWA conference workshops, read a copy of RWR, spend time plotting, or perform any number of writing-related activities. And the sprints have definitely helped my word count along.

So, after seven days, how’s it going for you? Are you doing great? Hitting a wall? Consuming vast amounts of caffeine and chocolate? Remember, this festival is meant to promote productivity, which is why point-earning is flexible. Do you need to adjust your goals? Find a new motivation? Commit to stopping by the chat room to sprint this week?

Share your progress in the comments below for some cyber cheers or commiseration. And if you’ve met your weekly goal (earned at least 7 points), say “I MADE MY WEEKLY GOAL” at the top of your comment for a chance to win some amazing prizes to keep you going:

 check in 1 covers

 

 *PLEASE NOTE: If you’re reading this post on the Festival website (the blue site), make sure you jump over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at rubyslipperedsisterhood.com) before leaving your comment!

 Be sure to leave a comment below and mention “I MADE MY WEEKLY GOAL” for a chance to win. Good luck to you all as the festival continues. Happy writing!

–Anne Marie

Announcing the 2015 Ruby Winter Writing Festival!!!

Caught up in the holiday frenzy?

Remember to pencil in a little post-holiday gift for yourself: THE FIFTH ANNUAL RUBY SLIPPERED SISTERHOOD WINTER WRITING FESTIVAL STARTS JANUARY 12, 2015!!!

If you’ve joined us for the Winter Writing Festival any time during the past four years, you know it can be a tremendously productive time, with lots of inspiring support and the magic of REGULAR WRITING SPRINTS!!

It’s completely free, and all writers are welcome—the more the merrier!

Through the bleakest part of winter—January 12 through March 2 this year (since February ends during a weekend)—the Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning, with camaraderie, encouragement, fun prizes for participants, and as much virtual hot-chocolate (and virtual cookies!!) as you please. ‘Cause nobody’s Muse can resist a party!

Here’s the beauty part:  unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that (much as we love them!!) have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you.

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival wants to give you fuel for your winter writing fire.

We use a “point” system, with a goal of earning one point on average per day.

Everybody gets one bonus point on the first day for stopping by the Ruby blog and making a public commitment to take part in the Festival. Then, for each of the 50 days of the Festival (including January 12), you work to earn an additional point—and YOU DEFINE WHAT IT TAKES TO EARN THAT POINT.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you might define as worth one point (you fill in the variables with the amounts that work for you):

-writing X number of words or pages

-deep revising Y number of pages

-polishing Z number of pages

-freewriting / brainstorming for Q number of minutes/hours

-doing R number of 20-minute writing sprints

-keeping butt in chair and hands on keyboard for S number of minutes or hours

For instance, one person might commit to earning points according to the following terms:

-writing 500 words per day  OR

-deep revising 10 pages per day OR

-doing a final polish on 25 pages per day OR

-participating in an hour of writing sprints

Any day that person meets ANY of those goals, she gets a point.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CAN’T PREDICTABLY WORK *DAILY* BUT KNOW YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH A GOAL BY THE END OF A *WEEK*, we’re also officially giving you permission (not that you ever needed it!) to set a weekly instead of a daily goal, and then give yourself 7 points when you make it!! (See? It’s SUPER CHILL AND FLEXIBLE around here.)

You can also give yourself BONUS POINTS for auxiliary goals, like writing new words every day for seven days in a row, or reaching a certain word count by the end of a week, or writing THE END on a manuscript. Be creative with how you set up earning your points. Make them work with your personal writing style and writing needs.

If you can’t meet your goal on any particular day (or week), you can certainly double or triple or quadruple your goal on another day (or week) to catch up.

And if you know ahead of time that you can never work on certain days (say, Saturdays) feel free to add something like “Keep balance in my life by taking Saturday off” to your personal list of ‘ways to earn a point.’ Yes, really, you can get a point for taking a planned day off!! Don’t be shy.

Remember, we all have different life commitments and different approaches to our writing lives, so we all need to set our own goals. All goals are equally worthy. This isn’t a competition, it’s a supportive process for MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR WRITING.

Check in on the Ruby blog every Monday during the Festival to report your progress. If you reach March 2 with at least 50 points, YOU WIN!!

Because we’re the Rubies, and we like to do things up right (and…okay, because we have the awesome Liz Bemis of bemispromotions.com) we’ll even have a special sister website up and running during the Festival which you can access by going to rsswwf.com or by clicking the blue “Ruby Winter Writing Festival” button which will soon appear near the top of the Ruby site.

Everyone who commits to participating on January 12 will be able to download a cool “Ruby Winter Writing Festival Participant” badge (similar to what’s shown at the top of this post) to post on their own website or blog.

Plus, everyone who checks in on a Monday reporting that they’re on track with earning points will be entered in random drawings for cool prizes, like copies of craft books, copies of books by published Rubies, and expert critiques from the Sisters!

If you check in on Friday, February 28 and report you’ve WON, you’ll be able to download a “Ruby Winter Writing Festival WINNER” badge to post on your website or blog.

And of course you’ll have the satisfaction of achieving a small boatload of wonderful shiny writing progress (not to mention eternal fame and glory…and cookies!).

What’s not to love?

Decide on your personal terms for earning points, and join us back here on Monday January 12 to get started!! And spread the word on your loops, Facebook, and personal websites! The more writers who join us, the stronger we’ll all be!

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The Latest Comments

  • MS Panthera: I MADE MY GOAL. It hasn’t been easy because of a death in my adopted family and more complications...
  • Amy Blackburn: I MADE MY GOAL!!! I have 9 points! Yay!
  • delia: I made my goal. It was a slow start to this week but I’m getting there. I need to get some sprints in...
  • Autumn Jordon: Congrats on making your goal! Once you get into the habit of writing everyday, it does get a little...
  • Autumn Jordon: Welcome to the WWF, Sarah. Jump into the pool, check out the sprints, and join us for a brainstorming...

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