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Posts tagged with: writing accountability

Patience is a Virtue…isn’t it?

Hello, friends, and welcome to a glimpse inside my head. Are you scared yet?

You know how everyone had a word of the year? Okay, maybe not everyone, but lots of people start off the new year with a guiding word, something that will encapsulate all they desire to achieve. It may be PEACE or JOY or CONTENTMENT. Whatever a person chooses, it’s the ideal he or she is striving for. I love the idea of a guiding word or phrase.

Usually, as I consider the new, fresh year before me, a word or phrase comes to me. But this year….nada. I thought. I prayed. I looked for signs around me. But nothing other than repeated suggestions for shows to watch on Netflix seemed to crop up over and over. I mean, I don’t think Birdbox can be my word for the year. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited. Still, nothing appeared. So as I approached mid-January, a time where I meet with my goal setting group, I declared I would have to come up with something. So I just scribbled down something about looking for signs and being willing to follow them because it sounded better than “I got nothing for 2019.” My goal-setting group of writing friends nodded as if that would work. Hey, it’s my guiding motto, my mission statement, my bag, baby. Who were they to stomp on it and tell me it wasn’t going to happen? Yet, inside I knew that what I had declared as my mission statement for 2019 wasn’t really my mission statement. It was like copying the encyclopedia for your homework assignment because some words (even plagiarized) are better than not handing anything in.

So as I faced a busy writing year – I have a full-length contracted novel and two novellas to complete, along with revisions on last years manuscripts – I started humming a song. “Every day I’m hustling” and then I would do that “do, do, do, do, do, dododo, do to do ta do” things afterwards and dance a bit in my seat. Hustling. That’s a good word.

But it’s opposite what I got when I was tried so hard to find my word- silence.

I don’t know about many of you, but patience is not my strong suit. I want it now. Success, strong book sales, my cover, more readers, more, more, more and I want it yesterday. I’m a bit like the ocean – I just keep coming, wearing everyone down. It’s not a great quality, other than I’m perseverant. So when I received no sign, no word to guide me, I thought maybe the universe was telling me that patience is important for me to learn.

Hustle.

Patience.

Are they really antonyms? Actually, I think they can co-exist together as my words. Like the Odd Couple. There are places in my life where I must learn to wait. To let the manuscript marinate. To remember I’m not my agent’s only writer. To allow my platform to build the right way. To hold onto news, thoughts, ideas. And there are times I need to hustle. To not rest on my laurels. To seize opportunity. To do the things I say I will do. To wake up early. Skip the next episode of Outlander. To hustle.

So I have two words guiding me this year – Hustle and Patience. Weird, I know. So do you have a guiding word or phrase for 2019? Since it’s February, how are you doing on letting it guide you?

YESSS!!!! It’s Opening Ceremony time for the 2019 Winter Writing Festival!!

**Found out about the Winter Writing Festival after January 10? JUMP ON IN, ANYWAY!! Award yourself as many points as you need to get caught up, and get started!! We’ll see you in the sprints!!!**

Once again, here come some of our favorite words of the year:

We now declare the NINTH ANNUAL Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival OPEN! Let the Games begin!!

To get your BONUS point for today, Thursday 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, 2019. (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 Thursday from now until the end of the Festival on Thursday, 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 making your commitment extra-formal, 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 should 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.

We’ve already got a group who will be meeting every weekday morning from 9-12 a.m. Eastern time, and we’ll have other times scheduled throughout the week, or you can just contact a buddy and arrange to meet there anytime!

To get in, 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 where you communicate by typing with other writers also eager to get work done. During scheduled sprint times, a Sprint Host 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.

And starting on January 22, the plot-guru extraordinaire Hope Ramsay will be running her famous Plot Brainstorming Sessions in the Chat Room on Tuesdays from 7-9 pm.

Writing sprints start TODAY and happen at various times daily. Jump in anytime!!!

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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.

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FABULOUS SWAG:

As always, there will be fantabulous Winter Writing Festival swag you have a chance to win today and during Thursday 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.)

Here are the prizes we’ll be giving away throughout the day today:

Much more swag to come, including the always-popular Writing Critiques!!

What’s not to love about this Festival? (Our thanks to mega-talented Ruby Sister Liz Bemis of bemispromotions.com for designing and maintaining both our 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 Thursday 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!!

Announcing the 2019 Winter Writing Festival!!

The holidays are over, but we bet you could use a special gift for your writer self!

The Rubies have one for you: THE NINTH ANNUAL RUBY SLIPPERED SISTERHOOD WINTER WRITING FESTIVAL STARTS THURSDAY JANUARY 10, 2019!!!

If you’ve joined us for the Winter Writing Festival any time during the past eight 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 is 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, Thursday 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):

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?

Announcing the 2015 September Hour-a-Day Challenge!

Hard to believe, but another summer’s winding to a close.

For many writers, summer’s a slow time, what with family vacations and bored, housebound kids chipping away at their focus. For me, though, summer’s by far the most productive time of the year…because I’m a teacher, and the second I step back into the classroom in August, I barely get to catch my breath until late June.

Last year as I faced the return of my not-for-the-weak-of-heart day job, I vowed not to lose my summer writing momentum entirely: I committed to writing one hour a day for the entire month of September, and I challenged other writers to join me (see my original post here.)

And I did it! I really did it! I wrote an hour a day…well, almost every day. AND I GOT LOTS OF WRITING DONE even while the day job tried its best to crush me. (You can hear me cheering last October 2 here.)

The real, real beauty part was that the daily habit held out beyond September! If you were here for my 2014 NaNoWriMo Mid-Point Check-in and Final Reckoning posts, you know I avoided my usual binge-and-purge approach to getting my 50,000 words, and instead did slow-and-steady almost every day!!

Just take another gander at my final word-count chart (seriously, it felt like a miracle at the time…but a surprisingly do-able miracle):

winner-screen-1024x815It still makes me smile.

And, thanks to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival (the 2016 edition starts in January!! Watch this space for details!!), I kept up the pace through the dim, dingy months…and finished a new book in April.

YAY!!! The Tortoise beat the Hare for a darned good reason.

Well, I met 128 new students yeseterday, and the educational tidal wave is crashing over me once again. But I’m determined to make my hour a day happen this school year as well.

Who wants to join me for the month of September???

Last year, I set up an Accountability Group on Facebook so we could check in and cheer each other on, and I’d love to do that again.

If you want to join, let me know in the comments below. If we’re already Facebook Friends, I’ll send you an invite to the group. If we’re not, send me a Friend Request and we’ll get the process going.

Write on!!!

The Latest Comments

  • Tamara Hogan: Heather, what gorgeous gowns! And bless you (and other authors) who represent our genre so wonderfully,...
  • Addison Fox: What a fun post!! I think conferences are one of my most favorite parts of being a writer –...
  • Elizabeth Chatsworth: What an interesting (and useful) article on preparing for readers’ events. Thank you for...
  • Cynthia Huscroft: Fabulous “dress-up” pictures. Have a fabulous time!
  • Autumn Jordon: I love seeing your dress-up pictures, Heather. Have an awesome time at the event and report back to us.

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