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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.

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

2)      We sprint for 20 minutes (the hostess confirms everyone is ready to go then yells “GO”, at which point everyone scurries to their document to quietly and hurriedly work).

3)      At the end of the 20 minutes, the hostess yells out “STOP” and then we all take 10 minutes to chat. 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.

4)      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. 😀 Practically no one got hurt last year! 😉

 A note about sprint times. We do try really hard to 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.

 5)      The sprint room can always be accessed from the main Winter Writing Festival website. Just go to www.rsswwf.com, find the blue box (Scheduled Writing Sprints) in the upper left corner, and click the “chat room” link. Easy Peasy!

6)      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 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.

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. The first sprint of the festival begins at 9am EST on Wednesday the 11th. It will be hosted by the lovely and talented Liz Talley.

 

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 last year, 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!

62 responses to “A Quick Primer on Joining Winter Writing Festival Chat Room Sprints!!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Woo-hoo!!! This makes me so excited!!

    Really, truly, the sprints are a great way to get work done! There’s something about that intensive 20 minutes followed by a brief, friendly break, then another intensive 20 minutes, that allows for tremendous productivity without stress.

    I used the sprints last year to do editing (early Saturday mornings, when I host) and I would NEVER have gotten so much done all by my lonesome.

    As Kim says, DON’T BE SHY!!! We usually had about half a dozen to a dozen people in my sprints last year, and it was a nice, cozy experience.

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    • Kim Law says:

      I think knowing we have that nice break coming up makes it easier to really give that 20 minutes all you’ve got. I mean…what’s 20 minutes, right? Practically nothing! Yet it’s amazing how much gets done in that small span of time!

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  2. I’m going to add that I didn’t think sprints would work for me since I was deep into edits and revisions. However, I offered to fill in for a host in a pinch and discovered how much fun and how productive they were. Nothing like a dozen women asking, “How did you do?” to get you motivated. Me and my tomato (a kitchen timer *G*) are ready to go!

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  3. I can’t wait!! Sprinting was very productive for me last year. I’ve got a new wip started and ready to be nearly completed if not completed during WWF.

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    • Kim Law says:

      Woohoo! We’ll help you get it completed, Emma Leigh! Can’t wait to get started myself. I’m starting something brand new.

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  4. Diana Layne says:

    Oh, I didn’t realize you could edit or plot, I never joined sprints last year because I was in editing mode.

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    • Kim Law says:

      I knew there were people like you out there! Yep, you can do anything you want. It’s all about that focused 20 minute time period…and then the fun 10 minutes in between 😉 You’ll love it Diana!

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    • Tamara Hogan says:

      During last year’s Winter Writing Festival, I was preparing for a March book release and used the sprint time to write posts for my blog tour.

      It’s amazing how much you can get done in a 20-minute blast, and so much more fun when you have company. 😉

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  5. This is great! I didn’t do any of these last year because I didn’t know how, or because they were scheduled at times that I wouldn’t be ready to work (like in the evening). This year, I hope to find myself there, though. I really need to finish revising this new story before the baby comes (which could be any day now, but more likely sometime after January 16).

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    • Kim Law says:

      Yeah, we’re trying to cover some more daytime one this year. I hope that’ll bring some new people out. I’ll even be trying to sneak in and do them while I’m supposed to be “working”!

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  6. I think the WWF page link is broken, Kim. Just tried it and it linked to a “sorry, does not exist” page on this site.

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  7. Hope Ramsay says:

    I’m looking forward to the sprints. I’m starting a new book, and for some reason I seem to be backwards from a lot of people. I have trouble starting a new book. It takes me a while to get into the story. I almost never have trouble finishing a book, starting a new one is agony, though. So these writing sprints are coming at precisely the right time for me. Yay!

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    • Kim Law says:

      So glad they are! I struggle to start, too, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. I’m going to try to at least write the first scene tomorrow, but knowing me, I’ll be doing scene one during the first sprint Wednesday.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      One of the nice things about the “chat” part of the sessions is that you can ask people to brainstorm with you to get ideas going…..

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  8. Tia Ramirez says:

    I love the sprints. Honestly, I’ve gotten more writing done then, than I would have sitting down at a computer with no time limit. For some reason those 20 minutes really kick you into gear and cause you to just write freely. I have my calender marked for this wednesday!

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    • Kim Law says:

      Yay!!! So glad you’ll be sprinting with us again this year, Tia! I’ll be putting up the official schedule later today, so check in to see what’s coming up. I think we have three sprints lined up for Wednesday.

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  9. laurie kellogg says:

    Thanks for this post, Kim. I’ve never sprinted before. (I must admit I’m a little intimidated by it.) Whenever I’ve been asked to write anything during a workshop, I’ve always frozen up. I’d like to try this.

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    • Kim Law says:

      Well come on over! I’m with you, though, I totally freeze up when asked to write on the spot in workshops, etc. I hate it!! But something about these sprints are different. You sit down KNOWING you’re going to write. And you’re going to write on YOUR stuff. And nobody is truly watching. The biggest thing is, though, that you’re going to write on your own stuff anyway, so it’s just like doing it any other time, only having the timer really keeps you focused and you’ll likely get so much many more words done. Plus, you meet and get to know some really great people!

      Hope to see you in the chat room, Laurie. We’ll be gentle. I promise!

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Yes…the sprints are a great combination of privacy and group activity.

        Nobody can see what you’re writing, so there’s no anxiety there at all, but you still know there are other people (even if they’re 500 or 3000 miles away) who are “with” you and willing you to get work done!

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    • Debbie says:

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to freeze during those workshops. I always felt like my fingers set in concrete – maybe that’s just a flashback to those old typing tests.

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  10. Jennifer Faye says:

    This sounds perfect for me to complete a new story this winter. However, when I went to register I got this:

    Register

    [Register role=”contributor” message=”Thank you for registering for the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival. Please go to http://www.rsswwf.com/profile/ to log in to complete your profile and set your goals.

    If you have any questions or problems, please contact our Webmaster at info@bemispromotions.com“]

    Anyone know what I should do to register?

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    • Kim Law says:

      Jennifer, I’ll pass your message along and hopefully someone will be contacting you today to help you out. Thanks for letting us know!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      We’ve got a message to our Webmistress about this…hopefully it will be fixed soon.

      Actually, chances are your computer is recognizing that you are registered from last year. Try actually going up to your browser and typing in rsswwf.com/profile and see if you get your familiar profile page. I got mine by doing that.

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    • Thanks for the help. I tried going to the profile page and it gives me a sign-in page which is a good sign, but I didn’t get a chance to sign-up last year so I don’t have a username/pswd. Hmm… Hopefully someone can figure it out before Wednesday. I was so looking forward to it.

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      • admin says:

        Hopefully all the bugs will be worked out in the next day or so, but even if the official “Register” page isn’t working, JUST COME HERE TO rubyslipperedsisterhood.com and announce your intentions and your goals in the comments trail. That will get you started on the Festival just fine!

        You’re welcome to go ahead and copy the participant badge for your own website and join the chat room writing sprints and anything else you want to do.

        As long as YOU rack up 50 points according to your own goals by Feb 29, you’ll be a WINNER!!

        Really, we’re not hung up on the logistics. We just want to get everybody writing.

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    • I found a way around it. I called dh at the office and had him register me. Worked fine for him. Go figure.

      Anyway I was able to get into my profile and update it. The only thing I can’t do is upload a picture but that’s no big deal. *G*

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      This has been fixed! Thanks for letting me know about it!

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  11. I loved the sprints because their was no pressure, no hype… just honest-to-goodness camaraderie and support. And, somehow, knowing that there were other people “out there” writing kept me glued to my seat. Without them, I’d’ve found any excuse to wander around my house and waste time that I should’ve spent writing.

    It was totally voluntary, but worked to keep me productive.

    I can’t wait for them to start this year!

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  12. Are all the sprint times given in East Coast times? I’m trying to do the math with my poor little pacific northwest brain 🙂 I love the #1k1hr twitter challenges to get words down fast so I think I will love this even more if I can get the time zones to work out 🙂

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  13. Rita Henuber says:

    Last year some of the sprints morphed into chats when some questions turned into brainstorming. You CAN do this. Really you can. It’s supposed to be a scientific fact that if you do anything for 21 days straight it becomes habit. So stick with us for 21 days and develop a great writing habit.

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  14. Happy to see your post this morning, Kim! Was wondering when we could sign up. I sooo desperately need the sprints. Like you, I’ll be starting a new project. Perfect timing. But I can’t seem to kick myself into gear yet–feeling sluggish from the past few weeks or something. I know the sprints will help. Can’t wait! Headed over to sign up. Looking forward to seeing old sprint friends and making new ones! YAY!

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    • Kim Law says:

      Yay! Looking forward to hanging with you again Marian! I finally started seriously plotting and building my characters last night. Had a very high level outline down, but been too busy to do more than that until now. And also, I’ve been having that sluggish feeling, too. But now that I’ve gotten started digging into everything, I’m struggling to do all my other errands today. I just want to get back into my plotting so I can get busy writing! Hope to see you Wed. We’ll have the first one at 9am in the morning, and then I’ll be online at 7:30pm to do the night session. All Eastern times.

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      • Kim-I’m planning on being there! Hopefully the AM and the PM. You’ve inspired me to start getting my notes down for the new project. Can’t wait to hang out again(fun)AND ramp up production!

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  15. Shoshana Brown says:

    Yay! I’m really going to try to make some sprints this year. Lots of editing to do….

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  16. I’ve never sprinted before. I think, like Laurie mentioned above, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by them (not knowing how they worked, wondering if I could figure out how to get into the chat room, etc). This year, I’m determined to be in that room and working. Thanks for the tutorial, Kim. Really helped cement my decision. See you there!

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  17. Kristina Mathews says:

    I may try the sprints this year, if I can figure out the time zone thing. I;m not sure why I’m so deficient in this area, since my husband travels to the Central Time Zone frequently. I have to use my fingures, even though I was pretty good in math in school.

    I signed up and found out that if I registered last year I could just log in. Miracle of miracles, I remebered my password.

    Can’t wait to get started, even if my son does have the Geography Bee that evening.

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  18. […] Not sure how sprints work? Find more info here! […]

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  19. Teresa H says:

    Gulp! I’m back. Last year medical issues took me away mid-festival. I have interupted my novel writing a children’s story and other things. This year, I am focusing on my lovers, who are mad at me for leaving them hanging. They want their HEA. I tried posting a new picture but I don’t think it loaded. Maybe that’s just as well. ;-> I love the sprints!

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  20. Tiana says:

    Wow. This should be interesting. A friend suggested I check y’all out, and I couldn’t be happier. What a wonderful place to gather with like-minded people!

    Kim– I read some of your previous posts on the blog (spreadsheets… Ah… I think I’m in love with your spreadsheets) Which leads to my question… Is there a book that is full of helpful spreadsheets? Or do you make them up as you go?

    The reason I ask, is that I’m the worst kind of pantser when it comes to writing. The one who can’t stop re-writing, editing, and making the pages bleed red before I am finished with the first chapter. I think I need more organization to help me meet my writing goals!

    ~Tiana~

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  21. Dara says:

    I LOVED the sprints last year. For some reason, it’s what helps me get motivated to sit down and type until the keyboard is smokin’ (OK not technically, but still :P)

    I look forward to taking part in the evening one. My 7-month-old goes to bed just before 8, so I’ll jump in on that one. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get his nap timed right for the mid-morning one too 🙂

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  22. […] you’re not sure how the chat room sprints work, check out Ruby Sister Kim Law’s great instructions here.  You don’t want to miss out on those […]

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  23. J,D, Faver says:

    I’m really looking forward to sprinting with you today. I whole clump of my writing friends joined this Winter Writing Festival on the recommendation of one who took part last year and had a great experience. We have done sprints together but they have been very sporadic lately, so I’m thrilled to get back in the saddle again.
    Going to try to get into the swing today.
    ~J

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  24. […] 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. […]

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  25. […] 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 the chat. Give yourself a name, 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. […]

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  26. […] Festival element I’m really looking forward to is the Sprint. At the top and bottom of the hour, participants launch 20 minutes of all-out writing. Then we […]

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  27. Cate Baylor says:

    Would it be possible to publish a shared/public Google calendar of the sprint schedule? I live (or die) by my calendar, so that would be SO helpful. 🙂

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  28. […] If you haven’t had a chance to drop in yet or if you’re not sure how it all works, Kim Law put together a great post on how the sprints work right here. […]

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  29. […] If you haven’t had a chance to drop in yet or if you’re not sure how it all works, Kim Law put together a great post on how the sprints work right here. […]

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  30. […] If you haven’t had a chance to drop in yet or if you’re not sure how it all works, Kim Law put together a great post on how the sprints work right here. […]

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  31. […] If you haven’t had a chance to drop in yet or if you’re not sure how it all works, Kim Law put together a great post on how the sprints work right here. […]

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