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It’s the Week One Check-In for the Winter Writing Festival!!!

The Eighth Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival is fabulously under way, with the Ruby Sisters and dozens of their always-talented friends writing their hearts out!

Yesterday we completed our FIRST FULL WEEK, so today 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. That will put you in the running to win some of today’s Check-In prizes!!!! (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 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, or show your commitment on the social media of your choice!

 

 

 

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.

Want to invite friends? Feel free to borrow the image below to post on Facebook or Twitter:

 

 

 

 

AND NOW FOR THE SWAG:

Any participant who leaves a comment today will be entered in a random drawing for prizes, which include:

Now it’s YOUR turn, Festival-goers!! How did the week go?

Did you stay on target??

Are your point-earning system and goals working for you? If not, what changes do you want to make for the week ahead?

Let the 2018 Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival BEGIN!!!

**Finding out about the Festival after January 10? No worries!! Just jump right in and join us. Give yourself however many bonus points you need to catch up, and get writing!!!**

And here come some of our favorite words of the year:

roaring-fire_657x600We now declare the Eighth Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival OPEN! Let the Games begin!!

To get your BONUS point for today, Wednesday January 10,  add a comment here 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 28, 2018. (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 will include gift cards, awesome Ruby books, fun treats, and the ever-popular WRITING CRITIQUES, which we’ll continue giving out in random drawings every Wednesday from now until the end of the Festival on Wednesday, Feb 28!!)

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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 hectic rush 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–just declaring your intentions here is all you need to do. 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 word “Member” near the upper right of that page, then click on “Register for the site.” You can set up a profile with a list of your own specific terms for earning points. When you log back in throughout the Festival, you’ll be able to keep track of your points to 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 can click on the Chat Room link above, or look at the box near the upper left of the rsswwf.com site (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.

Typically, the group chats for a few minutes, then starts a timed sprint when everyone jumps into their individual manuscripts and writes like crazy for 20 minutes (or 45 minutes at some sessions), then comes back for another quick chat when the “time’s up” bell sounds. During chat time, you check in about how much progress you made, share tips for productivity, get advice and feedback, or just blow off steam and get to know some new friends (and probably laugh yourself silly). Then you jump back into another sprint. DON’T BE SHY!!! Sprints really keep you in your seat and cranking out those words. Stay as long as you like, and say goodbye whenever you need to! Zero judgment, 100% moral support. It’s practically magic!!! Ruby Sister Kim Law has some great instructions here.

Also note a new feature this year: the wonderful Hope Ramsay, plot-builder extraordinaire, is hosting a special PLOT BRAINSTORMING SESSION every Wednesday evening!!  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 for the next week (all listed times are EST):

Wednesday, January 10th:

6:30am – 8:00 am – Autumn
9:00am – Noon – Hope
4:00pm – 6:00pm – Vivi
7:00pm – 9:00pm – Brainstorming Session with Autumn & Hope

Thursday, January 11th:

6:30am – 8:00 am – Autumn
9:00am – Noon – Hope
Noon – 2:00pm – Laurie K.
2:00pm – 4:00pm – Shelley
4:00pm – 6:00pm – Darynda
6:00pm – 8:00pm – Autumn
9:00pm – 11:00pm – Addison

Friday, January 12th:

6:30am – 8:00 am – Autumn
9:00am – Noon – Hope
3:00pm – 5:00pm – Vivi

Saturday, January 13th:

11:00am – 1:00pm – Elisa

Monday, January 15th:

6:30am – 8:00 am – Autumn
9:00am – Noon – Hope
Noon – 2:00pm – Laurie K.

Tuesday, January 16th:

6:30am – 8:00 am – Autumn
9:00am – Noon – Katie G.
Noon – 4:00pm – Shelley
4:00pm – 6:00pm – Darynda
6:00pm – 8:00pm – Autumn
9:00pm – 11:00pm – Addison
 
 

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.  

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 Wednesday 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.)

Today, Autumn Jordon and Lara Archer will EACH be giving out $5 Amazon gift cards to random commenters, and four more winners will each win their choice of a digital copy of their choice of book from Liz Talley‘s Morning Glory series!!

 And here’s a list of Swag you’ll have a chance to win if you leave comments updating your progress on any of our Check-In Wednesdays (print books available USA only):

Week 1 (1/17)

Lizzie Shane – First chapter critique (No genre restrictions, though Lizzie is most well-versed in contemporary & paranormal.)

Liz Talley – $15 Amazon gift card

Tamara Hogan – PRIZE BUNDLE: print copy of ENTHRALL ME, plus a $10 Starbucks gift card. (US only.) 

Addison Fox – $20 Amazon or B&N gift card – winner’s choice

Week 2 (1/24)

Autumn Jordon – Twenty page/first chapter/2500 word Critique of contemporary or romantic suspense

Hope Ramsay – first three books in the Chapel of Love series

Laurie Kellogg –  PRIZE BUNDLE: an electronic version of any Laurie Kellogg books PLUS a $10 Amazon gift card

 

Week 3 (1/31)

Katie Graykowski – First Chapter Critique (any genre except erotica)

Kate Parker – $20 Amazon gift card

Heather McCollum – PRIZE BUNDLE: $10 gift card to Starbucks and a digital copy of THE BEAST of AROS CASTLE

 

Week 4 (2/7)

Anne Marie Becker – First-chapter critique (25 pages max)

Lizzie Shane – a signed print copy of ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID (US Only)

Bev Pettersen – PRIZE BUNDLE: $10 Amazon gift card and an electronic version of  a book series

 

Week 5 (2/14)

Darynda Jones – 5,000-word Critique, any genre

Katie Graykowski – $20 Amazon gift card

Gwynlyn MacKenzie – PRIZE BUNDLE: cute writer’s mug and $10 Amazon gift card

 

Week 6 (2/21)

Julia Day – Critique of synopsis and query letter

Rita HenuberThe Emotion Thesaurus: A Writers Guide to Character Expression. Paperback. (US only)

Jacie Floyd – PRIZE BUNDLE: 3 e-books of the Billionaire Brotherhood series and a $10 Amazon egift card

 

Closing day

Lara Archer – prize BUNDLE: print copies of all three of my steamy historical romances (THE DEVIL MAY CARE, BARED TO THE VISCOUNT, and HOLD ME CLOSE, US only), plus a $25 Amazon gift card

Ava Blackstone – prize BUNDLE:  $15 Amazon e-gift card + an e-copy of any of my Voretti Family books (winner’s choice)

Jennifer Bray-Weber – prize BUNDLE: cute Ruby heel picture holder + signed print copy of THE LAIRD’S RECKONING (US only)

 

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

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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!! If it keeps you on track, DO IT!!

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 Wednesday during the Festival to report your progress (and be entered in random drawings for more Festival Swag.)

If you reach Feb 28 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!!

A Quick Guide to Ruby Writing Sprints

Are you ready for some sprinting????

Woohoo! I hope so! I know I am.

So okay, here’s the deal. I thought I would jump in here and do a real quick how-to for Ruby sprinting. Many of you joined us in previous years (and I can’t wait to sprint with you again!), but I know there are others out there who just aren’t sold on sprints yet. Or maybe you’re a little shy about joining, or just not feeling quite “techy” enough. I’m here to allay your fears.

I also want to let you know that each and every last one of you is welcomed to attend, encouraged to attend, and to remind you that you can make the sprint times whatever YOU need the time to be. Not everyone does the same thing in a sprint, AND THAT’S OKAY!

Okay, below is our twelve step sprinting program. Let’s get started with the basics:

1)   To join a sprint, just go over to the Ruby Winter Writing Festival Site at rsswwf.com. In the upper left of the home page, you’ll see a blue box (Schedule Writing Sprints) with a link that says “chat room.” Easy Peasy!

2)  Once you click the link, you’ll get a pop up to enter the name you’d like to log in as. Simply enter your first name (or whatever you’d like us to call you), and you’ll be put immediately in the sprint room where you can see everyone else already logged in. Don’t worry: chatting is purely by text, so no one will see that you’ve spilled gravy on your blouse. Typed comments from participants appear on the chat room screen. To add a comment of your own, just type what you want into the long white box at the bottom and press enter.

3) Sprints usually start at the top and bottom of the hour.

4) Most sprints are for 20 minutes, though some hostesses make them longer. The hostess confirms everyone is ready to go, then types “GO,” at which point everyone scurries to their individual manuscript document to quietly and hurriedly work. (Leave the chat room screen open on your computer with your sound on so you’ll hear the “boop” that signals time is up.)

5)  At the end of the 20 minutes, the hostess types “STOP,” you’ll hear a “boop,” and then the whole group takes 10 minutes to “chat” (again, by typing). We usually start by reporting in on how we did, while oohing and aahing over each other’s hard work! We’ve also been known to do quick brainstorming sessions if someone gets stuck, or just generally spend time getting to know each other.

6)  Sometimes the sprint hostess has to get out the sprint whip and rein people in after those ten minutes in order to get going on the next sprint, but it’s all done in fun. :D Practically no one got hurt last year! ;)

A note about sprint times. Most hostesses start at the top/bottom of the hour just so those joining in have some idea what to expect if they are running late to the chat room, but everyone is welcome to jump in whenever they do arrive. If you join while a sprint is in progress, the hostess will welcome you, let you know how much longer to go in the current sprint, then return to working. You’re welcome to jump in and do a partial sprint, or simply gather your thoughts and prepare to start the next round. 

7)  You can log out and quit at any time. If you’ll let us know you’re leaving beforehand, I can promise a very nice goodbye. :)

8)  Sprints are held daily, with multiple slots scheduled per day, and we try to always hit both daytime and nighttime sprints. Three to four days of the schedule can always be found on the WWF site in the Scheduled Writing Sprints box. Some sprints happen at the same time each week; other sprint times change week to week, so do check.

 

And now for the extras:

9)      Everyone is welcome. Really! If you’ve never sprinted before, or never sprinted with us, please feel more than welcome to join us. We have a blast, and it only gets better with more people.

10)   You are under no pressure to be super chatty if you don’t feel like it. You can sprint with us and pretty much remain silent if you want to, but I can’t imagine you’ll want to for long! :)

11)   Not everyone does what you might think of when we say “sprint.” Some people are heads down writing new words (traditional sprinting), but others are heads down editing. Sometimes even heads down plotting. Whatever you need to do, you can do it there. It’s simply a terrific and encouraging way to get your butt in your chair and get something done!

12)   We really do have a lot of fun while also getting an amazing amount of work done! If you don’t think sprinting is for you, you might be right, maybe it’s not. But then, you might be amazed with how much you can accomplish in twenty minutes if you’ve never tried it before. Last year we regularly had people getting over 1,000 words in an hour, and that was with writing during only 40 minutes of that time. Some people worked up to getting between 1,500 and 2,000 words an hour on a regular basis. Simply amazing.

So that’s it for Ruby Sprints 101. What do you think? Easy enough? Fun? Honestly, many of us got more work done than we ever imagined during the festival during the last four years, all because we sat our rears down and encouraged each other along the way. I look forward to more of the same this year, and I do hope you’ll join us!

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!

A Quick Primer on Joining Winter Writing Festival Chat Room Sprints!!

Are you ready for some sprinting????

Woohoo! I hope so! I know I am.

So okay, here’s the deal. I thought I would jump in here and do a real quick how-to for Ruby sprinting. Many of you joined us last year (and I can’t wait to sprint with you again!), but I know there are others out there who just aren’t sold on sprints yet. Or maybe you’re a little shy about joining, or just not feeling quite “techy” enough. I’m here to allay your fears.

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