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 ( in which you:

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


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!!)



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!


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 ( stating how you’ll earn your Festival points, then jump over to our special Festival site,, 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!)


The very BEST thing about the 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 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:


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


5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

7AM – 9AM with Liz Talley

Noon – 2PM with Autumn Jordon

10PM – midnight with Elisa Beatty


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


5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

12PM – 2PM with Autumn Jordon

10PM – midnight with Elisa Beatty


5AM – 7AM with Liz Bemis

9AM – 11AM with Heather McCollum


11AM – 2PM with Elisa Beatty


Noon – 2PM with Autumn Jordon



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 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.


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









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

BTW: You can easily jump over to the 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!!



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!!

247 responses to “Opening Ceremonies: 2016 Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome to all our newcomers and to all our returning Festival-goers!! The energy is great, and I know we’re going to be making amazing progress on our writing in the next 50 days!!

    Sorry I didn’t get in to greet everyone personally yesterday…my internet went out last night.

    Rest assured I’ll get the Opening Day prizes awarded some time Tuesday evening.

    WRITE ON, EVERYBODY!!! And be sure to check out the writing sprints in the chatroom over at

  2. Catherine L says:

    Jumping in belatedly! So glad to be here!
    This winter fest’s goal: draft or redraft/revise one scene per day (5-8pgs).

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Welcome, Catherine! Be sure to check out the special Festival website at That’s where the all-powerful WRITING SPRINTS take place (the updated weekly schedule will always be posted there, too).

      And be sure to stop by this site each Monday for the inspiring, celebratory check-in (and for more prizes to win!!)

  3. Jumping in late! Winter festival goal: 1,200 words per day!

  4. Ingrid Hahn says:

    I’m in! I have an eight month old, and oh boy is it HARD to find time to write! I’m going to have to be creative about how I’m earning points if I think I have any hope of making it to 50.

    One point for writing
    One point for critiquing
    One point for reading (i.e., keeping up with trends and self care)
    One point for writing a blurb
    One point for writing a longline
    One point for working on my story & character planning sheets
    One point for going to crit group meeting
    One point for going to RWA chapter meeting

    One bonus point of my editor likes and wants any of the four stories from the synopses I sent her yesterday. *bites nails*

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Welcome, Ingrid!!

      Oh, my….writing with a baby. That’s tough (and so many of us have been there).

      You’re very wise to give yourself a lot of flexible options. The key seems to be to learn to grab little bits of time where you can and make use of them. It truly is amazing how much progress you can make if you can manage to do that.

      If you can slip into a writing sprint here or there, that may maximize your productivity. Most sprint sessions go for 20 minutes of writing at time, which you might be able to pull off (And people will understand if you have to rush off in the middle….)

      • Ingrid Hahn says:

        Thank you so much for the warm (and speedy!) welcome and the great suggestions! If only the little cutie would get himself on a regular nap schedule…grr. 😉

        • Elisa Beatty says:

          I don’t think either of my kids ever slept regularly until they became teenagers…and then you can’t get them out of bed.

          Sigh. But I survived!! You will, too!

  5. Cassie Leigh says:

    I declare my intention to take part! My writing needed a jump start anyway.

    * I will write 500 words a day OR
    * Edit 1 chapter per day OR
    * Do 2 – 20 minute wring sprints per day OR
    * Read when I work 12+ hours at my day job in one day.
    * Do no writing on book release day (Feb 2nd) and launch party day (Feb 6th) except to enjoy myself.

  6. Elisa Beatty says:

    Okay…with the help of, I’ve drawn the names of our prize winners for Opening Day!! Here they are, in order:

    Nancy McCarty
    Scarlett West
    Jesika Houck
    Lyz Kelley
    Natasha Yim

    I’ll be in touch by email and give you the details on how you choose your prizes (hint: Nancy chooses first).

    Thanks to EVERYONE who joined us for Opening Day!!! Remember to check back in every Monday from now through Feb 29 for more inspiration and more cool prizes!!!

  7. Kim Hardin says:

    Looking forward to this!

    My goals (1 point for):
    – Write 500 words per day OR
    – Write for 2 hours per day OR
    – Do 1-2 writing sprints (never done these before)

    Hope to make some new friends and maybe finish this book by EOM February! Good luck all!

  8. Carrie Padgett says:

    I’m in!

    I have two goals:

    Finish a non-fiction project I’ve been procrastinating.
    As soon as that’s done (1/22):
    1000 words a day on the WIP.


  9. I need help to finish two (almost finished) manuscripts and a revision.
    My goal–
    At least 250 words or
    Revise one scene of finished m/s or
    Do 2 or 3 sprints. (These really helped me.)

    Good luck everyone.

  10. Hywela Lyn says:

    I am sure I commented here (2 days late because for some reason I didn’t get a reminder and missed the start date) but I can’t find my comment so I’m going to re-commit just in case! 🙂

    1 point for any day I manage to revise more than two pages of my NaNo novel

    1 point for revising a chapter

    1 point for completing reviews I’ve signed up for and blog posts

    1 point for attending a sprint.

    Oh and I commit to attaining 50 points by 29th Feb.

    So Nice to be back at the WWF again. It’s like coming home! You helped me finish polishing and revising my new novel coming out in March.

  11. Joining a week late, oops!

    Goals: Daily activity writing or editing
    1 point – at least 500-1000 words
    1 point – editing

    The date/points form in my account isn’t working for me (no box shows up for input of points) so will probably not track my numbers, but I’m committed to daily activity, and hope to attend sprints. 🙂

    Good luck, everyone!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Welcome, Celia!! Better late than never!

      Somehow the progress bars disappeared during our recent update. Liz Bemis will try to fix the problem as soon as she can.


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