Winter Writing Festival Closing Ceremonies

Amazingly enough, DAY FIFTY of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival has already arrived!

This is our Final Check-In Wednesday and Closing Ceremonies rolled into one.

You still have ALL DAY today to work towards your goals–nothing ends until midnight your time. (As always, the Festival is always about YOU.)

After that, though, the great Writing Festival Torch (yup, it’s real, carved out of a gigantic ruby and guarded by handsome cabana boys…right here next to me as I write) will be extinguished until next year. But we know the embers will keep on glowing, and the Creative Fires will continue to burn bright inside each one of you!

Once you’ve have reached 50 points based on your personal goals,  you can copy the fabulous .gif below and post it proudly on your own website:

We hope you’ll continue joining us right here on the Ruby blog for your daily dose of writing inspiration as we continue on our collective writing journeys.

Be sure to stop by the Ruby blog next Thursday, March 8, to share your Reflections on the Winter Writing Festival–after you’ve had a few days for it all to sink in, tell us what you’ve learned in the process, and give us advice and ideas for making the Festival even BETTER next year.

Also, starting March 7, we’ll be beginning our countdown to the Golden Heart and Rita Nominations for 2012….above all, be sure to be here on March 26 for our raucous CYBER-PARTY as the finalists’ names are announced. We’ve got our fingers crossed for some of the WWF Participants’ names being announced and want to pop a bottle of cyber-champagne with you!!!

For those of you facing Writing Sprint withdrawal, WATCH THIS SPACE!!! We’re talking about how we can keep the sprints going on a regular basis, but the technical details aren’t quite worked out yet. For at least a few days, the site and chat room will remain open. Thanks, as always, to the wonderful and amazing Ruby Sister Liz Bemis of who built both our sites!

But now, grab a steaming mug of cyber-cocoa and some of our scrumptious Festival Finale cyber-brownies, and leave a comment below (jump to the Ruby blog, if you’re over on the WWF site) summing up your WWF experience.

Of course, since this is the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, there will be prizes! Commenters today will be entered in a random drawing for the following Festival Swag:

Anyone who checks in or leaves a comment today can win:

  • In the Highlander’s Bed, Cathy Maxwell

  • The Seduction of Scandal, Cathy Maxwell

  • An Unwilling Bride, Jo Beverly


For those who met their FESTIVAL GOALS!!!

  • two separate query-letter critiques from Anne Marie Becker

  • A first chapter critique from Jeannie Lin

  • Critique of first three chapters (any genre except erotica) by Cynthia Justlin

  • $20 Amazon card

  • A gift basket with chocolates

Thanks, everyone, for being with us for the Festival!

It’s been such an honor to share in your incredible energy and creativity, and we wish you the best on your journey forward!

We’re hoping to meet as many of you as possible in person at Nationals…and we’re looking forward to seeing your Festival books on the shelves before too long!

151 responses to “Winter Writing Festival Closing Ceremonies”

  1. I MET MY (weekly) GOAL



    Sometime between two Wednesdays ago and now, I hit 55 Points. (Forgot to check in last week because it was my travel day — I was at the airport for a flight to Salt Lake City to see my brother and the family.)

    Wish I could say I got my MS completely edited, but that’s not the case. I have a few more scenes to rework before sending it back to my CP for another read-through.

    By the end of March, I’ll be submitting this puppy, though.


    I finished the festival with 53 points. I saved my butt by doing a lot of double point days early on and by building in lots of ways to earn points. I met my goal of doing something related to a WIP six days a week. I wrote around 35K words as part of the festival, met my really big Festival goal and FINISHED A DRAFT of my Fifth MS. Still so giddy about that. For me, the lasting thing will be the camaraderie of the sprints. I haven’t been able to sprint much at all the last week, and I’ve missed the ladies terribly. I can’t say enough good stuff about the festival without starting to get teary!

  3. Congratulations to all our winners and participants! I’m in awe of you. Good luck with your submissions, whether they be to an agent, editor, or the 2013 GH/RITA.

    I ran into quite a number of distractions and setbacks throughout the festival, so I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. Lucky for me, however, hot chocolate weather is about to kick in Down Under, and I’m having my own autumn festival starting tomorrow. 🙂

  4. Emily Allen says:



    CONGRATULATONS!!! To all that met there goals.

    I finished the fetival with 60 points. I just can’t believe that the festival is over. The fifty day’s just flew by. I’m ready to do it again.

    See you next year. 🙂

  5. Lisa Olech says:


    Thank you AGAIN for a wonderful festival!


  6. I MET MY FESTIVAL GOAL!! This has been so great! I fell behind a couple of times, but in the end, I revised two books and finished the first four chapters of my next book (that I’ll send off to my editor sometimes this week). I don’t think I’d have been nearly as focused or productive if not for having the little extra push the festival provided.

    Now, if only next year didn’t seem so far away! 😉

  7. Liz Talley says:

    Waaaah! I don’t want it to be over!

    Okay, I made my goal, yet I didn’t. I didn’t really keep track of daily points – just overall goals. I finished the most important of my goals – finishing book, doing revisions on another and completing AAs. I got to chapter six on the current wip and I really wanted to get further along. Maybe I would have if that darn hacker stuff hadn’t happened early last week. Really threw me off my game. But I’m overall very happy with my progress.

    It’s been fun, gals! Loved every minute of it, and I’m signing up right now to host sprints. Loved my morning crew 🙂

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That’s fabulous achievement, Liz!

      And, yeah, getting hacked with through me off for a few days, too. But knowing you, you’ll be back on track and done with yet another WIP in no time!

  8. I agree with Liz ^^ I don’t want this to be over. Which shows how beneficial the experience was.



    Ended with 59 points and started some really good writing habits. I finished the edit of a MS, have a little over 12K words of a new MS (follow up to MS edited) and 4900 words worth of rewrites. Oh, and countless blog posts scheduled in advance! 🙂

    I want to thank all the Rubies and all participants for making this such a great experience. Will definitely be keeping up with the Rubies throughout the year. I’ve met some fantastic, supportive, energetic and just plain fun writers in the sprints.

    Until next year…
    Congrats to everyone who either met their goals or made a valiant effort trying!!!

  9. Elisa Beatty says:

    I’m not QUITE done with my Festival goals–I’m at 49 points–but I’ll earn that last one before midnight my time and check in again.

    I want to thank everyone who took part in the Festival and made it fun and easy to keep writing during the winter doldrums.

    I would never have written so much or been so focused on my manuscripts without those wonderful sprints! Thanks so much to all who hosted, and all who brought such good humor and creativity to the chat room!!

  10. I totally forgot about points this year. My goals changed a little during the festival. I threw in a few workshops, which I’m happy to say, I’ll be presenting later in April, on top of working on the wip. I alot of work done in fifty days. I’m pleased.

    • Elise Hayes says:

      Congrats on the workshop, Autumn–that sounds exciting!

      I haven’t quite made my goal yet (although I’m not yet out of the running as there will be time tonight), but the whole point of the festival for me is to get over the winter slump and get my butt in the chair to write. It sounds like the festival did that for you–so congratulations!

      • I have to admit, Elise, the dark days of winter always drained me to the point I accomplished little–BEFORE the advent of the festival. With it, the days fly, the work gets accomplished, and it actually makes me look forward to those months I used to dread. So I’m with you 100% sister. Now, go figure out when you’re going to slam dunk that last point!

    • What fun, AJ. Hope I get to see one of those workshops someday!

  11. Diana Layne says:

    Over already? wow. I didn’t even have time to keep my goals or adjust them, so I’ll have to say I bet I didn’t meet my goals, though I’ve been working hard every day! I really enjoyed hosting the oh-dark-hundred writing sprints though!

  12. Tamara Hogan says:

    I met my festival goals, and had a blast writing with my Sunday Afternoon Sprinters!

  13. I MADE MY WEEKLY GOAL & MY FESTIVAL GOAL! Thrilled to hear you are continuing the sprints. Since the festival started, I’ve written 31,000 words in my next book, plotted 2 books, written two synopsis-es, kept up with critiquing and my day job – I never would have been able to do that, to lay down the habits I needed to crunch out 2 books before June, without the Festival starting me off on the right foot. Perfect timing, and I’m so grateful.

  14. I MET MY GOALS – Both of ’em and then some! The sprints were a huge help to me – I’ve been doing #1K1HR on the twitter loops for a while now, but having someone in a chatroom with me? Priceless!! So to the Monday & Wednesday AM sprinters, thanks!!!

    Here’s what I did: wrote through the black moment of the WIP, outlined the next WIP, and today I’ll finish the novella I started in January. So so so happy about my progress!! Thanks, Rubies!!!

  15. Delia says:

    I MADE MY WEEKLY GOAL & MY FESTIVAL GOAL! The sprints were invaluable. Suggestions from fellow sprinters helped me look at my manuscript with fresh eyes and fix several problems. At the beginning of the festival, I wanted to add an additional 25,000 words to my story. Well….that didn’t exactly go as planned. I ran into (highly frustrating) passive voice problems. The solution? Rewrite everything from a different point of view. It was painful but my manuscript is better for it 🙂 I can’t wait for next year’s festival. Thanks, Rubies!

  16. Hmmmm…. My goals kept shifting, so I don’t know if I’d say I got EVERYTHING done that I wanted to, but I will say that I’m VERY happy with what I did get done.

    My contracted book took more editing time than I thought it would, so I had to keep setting my WIP aside. BUT…the contracted book is so much stronger and is all done, so I can focus totally on finishing my WIP! Yay! So I got points for those edits…just didn’t finish the WIP like I wanted to. Thank goodness there’s still March. 😉

    And I have to say, Elisa’s pep talk today…mentioning all the great things coming up in March…has got me pumped to finish the WIP by end of March. That’s my new goal. 😉

    Thank you to all who sprinted…the energy was amazing and pushed me to achieve more than I thought possible. 😀

  17. I MET MY FESTIVAL GOALS!!! And beyond! I finished with 91 points (obviously awarding myself extra if I went above and beyond for the week…I personally work better that way). AND I finished my 1st draft of my novel AND I got through an entire revision.

    I definitely want to keep up with the sprints and stuff, so I’ll be checking back here lots.

    Congrats to EVERYONE who was here for the festival and thanks to all for such amazing support!

    • Elise Hayes says:

      Wow, Colleen, 91 points is awesome! Even better is that you finished your first draft of your novel AND did a first-round revision. That’s huge. Pop out the bubbly (while at your keyboard, of course), you’ve had an insanely productive winter 🙂

    • Knowing what works for you puts you well ahead of the game, Colleen. Congratulations! So glad we could be of help.

  18. Elise Hayes says:

    Not quite there yet, but the day ain’t over yet and I’m hoping to have time to write tonight. I’m still planning on making it this year!!

  19. I MET MY FESTIVAL GOALS!!! All of them and so much more. I can’t begin to thank you enough for the wonderful experiences, getting to know all of you, and numerous bits of helpful information I have received in the past few weeks. I am well on my way to having the third manuscript in my series complete! I wouldn’t be this far along without you or the sprinting sessions.
    As I was told yesterday, you will be leaving the chat room open and hopefully scheduling additional sprints know that you will find me there.
    Hopefully I will see you at National and can give each of you a big hug in person. If not take one via the web-waves. Again, thank you so much for your time.

  20. Krista Hall says:

    We’re done?! Already?! Thanks for the great writing kick-start to 2012. I MET MY WEEKLY GOAL AND MY FESTIVAL GOAL. I also had an unofficial goal of a completing 100 pages of a new manuscript, but am currently on page 93. I still have the rest of today, right?

    Congratulations to all!

  21. Gillian says:


    Went out with a bang–sprinted last night until the storm hit, and even though I told all my dear sprinting friends I wasn’t worried, we did actually have a small (and it was small–we were so lucky!) tornado touch down two blocks away and rip up part of our southern end of town. We spent this morning fixing our fence and just got power back on. We were very, very lucky.

    So I am thrilled with my 50 points and life in general today! Time to go see what needs done to help the neighbors after the insurance adjusters come through. And it’s in the 60’s and clear here now. Such a weird ‘winter’.

    I totally give credit to the sprints and all the wonderful leaders and participants there for getting me to that goal. 🙂 Congratulations to everyone who joined in!

  22. I can’t believe it!!! The last day. Wow. CONGRATS TO EVERYONE WHO MET THEIR GOALS!!! WOOHOO!!!

  23. Tiana says:


    It’s hard to believe that just 50 short days ago, I started writing with all of you. It almost seems like we’ve been doing this forever, and I’ll be sad to see the end of the festival.

    Although I met my goals of writing every single day, (even the day I chose as a freebie to spend time with family) I didn’t accomplish every goal. There was some chaos that wreaked havoc on my schedule, and threw unexpected obstacles in my way. So my heroine needs to beware, that her fridge just might freak out one day, and it’s all chaos’ fault.

    However, I did write more during the past 50 days that I don’t feel needs to be re-written than I have during any other writing event. I’ve learned some amazing things, the first being, that I need to keep writing, and be more critical of my work. If it doesn’t keep my attention, it sure as heck won’t keep a readers.

    I owe that one to you all. Ladies I can’t thank you enough for being there whether I needed a kick in the pants to get me writing, or just someone to talk to that understood the many questions I had along the way. Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions, no matter how silly they might have been. Your answers were invaluable, and greatly appreciated.

    I can’t believe it’s the last day, it’s over, Well, at least now I don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to waste a whole day at the Rodeo, right?

    Congratulations Ladies on a Festival that made January and February months to look forward to, instead of dread. Here’s to next year, and may it be just as prosperous for us all!


  24. My daily goals were met with flying colors. My festival goal, however, wasn’t. The darned manuscript is still not finished, and Laurie just called yesterday to give me more to do. However, there is always tomorrow. I may not have accomplished all I hoped, but I accomplished a great deal more than I would have otherwise!

    Thanks to all the sprinting gals for the fun, the conversation, and the feedback. Nice to have a sounding board right when you need one!

  25. Rita Henuber says:

    It’s fantastic to read the accomplishments. Congrats to you all.

  26. […] their goals report excellent progress.  (If you’d like to see those glowing reports, click here.)  Whatever the reason you didn’t or couldn’t join in the productivity this year, […]

  27. Cia Paul says:

    I MADE MY GOAL – ended up with 61 points!

    It was a great experience, thank you rubies. I did a lot of editing and my wip is the better for it. The two month-long editing workshops I did during the festival helped with that particular goal, although I’m definitely “crafted” out! (Nice writerly phrase, that.)

    Did not get as many new words down as I’d have liked, but I started my new WIP – just the first scene – that’s all I can do without plotting! So next up is the plot.

    Happy to announce I’m no longer a sprint virgin – Hi Kim. That first time was not great :-), didn’t get much done, but my fellow sprinters were quite kind. I have hopes for the future!

    Beyond the festival, I discovered some good posts on your website, and that’s not going to help my goal of spending less time online.

    It was also great to help celebrate Darynda’s milestone.

    See you next year!


  28. Patti Macdonald says:

    I MADE MY Weekly and Overall GOALS!!

    Thanks SO much to all the Rubies for hostessing this wonderful Winter Writing Festival!! AND a special thanks to all our of sprint hostesses and fellow sprinters who encouraged me on a daily basis!

    CONGRATULATIONS to all who participated for sticking with it!

    So many good things happened during those 50 days.
    On a personal note, some of the highlights:
    – Wrote 44,894 words, nearly 900 per day, far exceeding my goal of 500 daily.
    – Reached day #404 of writing a minimum of 100 words daily. A goal I made for myself during last year’s Festival! (Yes… it’s possible to continue the goal you started during these 50 days!)
    – Got to hang out with my WWF friends from last year!
    – Made a number of new writing friends this year!
    – “Dragged” several of my real life writer friends into the festival. (Their posts are up above proclaiming they made their goals too and I applaud them!!)
    – Won some Ruby swag!!

    Thanks everyone for getting me get through the dreary winter days. I’ve been so busy writing I hardly had time to realize the days are now longer! Spring is on the horizon!

    ~Hugs to All~
    Patti 🙂

  29. Hope Ramsay says:

    I met my goals this week. Turned in my revisions and got about a third of the way through a short story that’s due in just a few weeks. Sadly, even though I turned in my manuscript a week early, I was never able to make up the points I failed to get the first two weeks of the festival when I was traveling on business. But it was still fun. And I’m so amazed at how many people made their goals. A whole lotta writing got done this year and that just makes me feel so proud of everyone who participated. You all rock!


    And on top of that I signed a contract with Lyrical Press to publish my first book!!! It’s been a good month. Congrats to everyone who participated!

  31. Ere we call it a day, I think we should all give our own Elisa Beatty a huge standing Ovation!!!! She puts so much into making these festivals come together from keeping the Brag Blog on the WWF site current, steering blog posts with gentle suggestions culled from comments, and helping the technologically challenged.

    So, glasses of Cyber-Bubbly UP!!!! To Elisa. THANKS!!!

    • I second that. Thank you Elisa!!! Your efforts were greatly appreciated.

    • Gillian says:

      Absolutely!! Elisa, loved your daily brag blogs! Thanks for all the time and support you offered. 🙂

    • Drinking to that, YAY, Elisa!!

    • Kelley says:

      Cyber-hugs to Elisa for being such a stalwart, for being so incredibly generous and dangit, for being an all-around great girl. Loved the daily quotes and the posts on the RSSWWF site as well as the encouragment along the way. Thank you!

      Is it really over?

    • Elise Hayes says:

      Yay, Elisa! You were amazing, all the way through the festival. THANK YOU!!

    • Absolutely! Elisa, Kim, and Liz Bemis were our ring leaders behind the scenes and kept everything running smooth. Kudos, ladies.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Awwwww….thanks, Gwyn, and everybody!! You’re making me cry!!!

      Believe me, I got much more out of this Festival than I put in!

      And SOOOOO many thanks to Kim Law for coordinating the all-important sprint schedule, and to Vanessa Barneveld and Tina Beckett for posting the daily inspirational quotes.

      And super-collosal thanks to Cynthia Justlin, Sara Ramsey, Kim Law, Liz Talley, and Anne Marie Becker for taking on five of the Check-In Wednesdays!!! That was a total lifesaver for me, and let me get lots of writing done!

      Hugs to everyone!!!!

      • Thank you, Elisa, on so many levels, but this time for giving the accolades I hesitated to give lest I forget someone.

        This is never a one person job, but you coordinate it all beautifully—and remember all the hands that helped.


    Wow. Can’t believe the festival is over already. Where in the world have the last 50 days gone? Sheesh. It was fun but fast.

    During the festival I wrote 95% of a draft, completely rewrote another story for submission and rewrote 1/2 of another story. The sprints played a large part in my progress so thank you Rubbies!!!

    I had a great time here and met some wonderful ladies. We’ve created some great friendships, had wonderful conversations and cheered each other on. I hope there’s a way to keep the chatroom going throughout the year.

    Congrats to everyone who wrote during the festival, whether you met your goals or not. Every word is one word closer to ‘The End’.

    This was my first festival and I’ll definitely be back for next year’s. Thank you ladies!!! It was wonderful!!!

  33. Lyn says:

    Many thanks to all the Rubies who have helped, encouraged and occasionally cajoled us to even greater efforts. Special thanks to the lovely sprint hostesses. Thanks to you I’ve got back into the habit of setting aside some time each day to write (or revise)and regained my enthusiasm for my current WIP.

    I made my 50 points by the skin of my teeth, although I’ve been pretty mean with the awarding of points, since although I had other projects, making a dent in my revisions was the primary goal, and thanks to TWWF I think I’ve got the toughest chapters in the bag now!

    I also wrote several blog posts, read and reviewed two books I’d committed to, and read through my crit partner’s MS with final comments. I lost several days through ‘real life’ and didn’t make as many sprints as I would have liked, but I do feel I’ve achieved a great deal which I wouldn’t have done without TWWF

    I can’t believe it’s over, I wish it could go on all year, but perhaps if promises of keeping the chat room open materialise we can all get together again from time to time for mutual encouragement.

    (Oh and thanks to the ‘Swag giveaways I have a couple of great new books to read.)

    Sending huge thanks from across the pond,

  34. Heidi Luchterhand says:


    Honestly, I’m not quite sure how, not with my kids’ crazy basketball seasons, but I’m heaving a big sigh of relief tonight. Now…on to spring! (I can say that. I live in AZ!)

  35. Lynn Cahoon says:


    It’s been a great festival… Thanks for letting me play.

  36. Elise Hayes says:

    Whoo-hoo!! I just logged in my last points and have officially met not only my weekly goal, but my festival goal (by the skin of my teeth–I’m just at 50 points–but I did it!).

    And I’m very happy to report that I broke the 300 page mark in my revisions…less than 100 pages of revising to go (and this is the big revision–after this, it’s double-checking the historical details and doing some polishing, so I’m quite excited to have made this much progress in 6 weeks).

    Now that winter is over…happy spring writing to all!

  37. Kelley says:

    Oh, I am so close to making my festival goals…so close. I’m at 48 points. If I can crank out another 1000 tonight, or revise another 10 pages, I’ll make it!

    Still, I got a lot done. I read three books, wrote 7500 new words, revised my current WIP for its first request, judged my GH entries, finished a great writing class, started a self-study course and coordinated my chapter’s contest. More than I would have accomplished w/o WWF.

    If I could change anything, I’d get my heiney to more sprints because every time I did, great things happened. One of the afternoon sprints provided me with a new mantra, “Write Ferociously”. And I’m trying. Thank you, Tammy.

    Great times, Rubies. Thank you for the WWF. As my husband said one year after he’d opened all his Christmas presents: When does the Easter Bunny come? Granted he was only five years old at the time but that’s how I feel tonight. When can we start again?

  38. Elisa Beatty says:

    Woo-hoo!!! I MADE MY GOAL!!

    Just logged my final point, so I made FIFTY!!!!

  39. Kristina Mathews says:

    I’m at 49 points. I don’t think I’ll make it, but it’s not like I’m going to stop working tomorrow. I suppose I could cheat and count all the times I went over by a half point, but I won’t. Maybe next year I will factor in half points. Or give myself credit for helping kids with homework and meeting with their teachers.

    I am very close to finishing the last couple of chapters, then revising the lean chapters before doing a final polish. Hoping my well established habits are going to carry me though to the end of March.

    • Don’t hurt yourself for this, Kristina. Look at all you’ve accomplished thus far! How much of that would have been put off at some other time? You’ve done so well, and we’re so glad you shared it with us and allowed yourself to develope those new, sure to stick with you, habits. Go get ’em!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I have to note that Kristina checked in again on the Brag Blog with the following:

      “Didn’t think I’d make it. Had kid crisis and needed to deal with homework

      But I did it. With 30 minutes to spare. I could keep going, but I have a parent
      teacher conference tomorrow, so I should get some sleep.”


      Congrats, Kristina!! Here’s to perseverance!!!

  40. Liz Selvig says:

    I’m a day late and not posting for the prizes, wonderful though they are, but just to say I MADE IT — and I had so much fun this year. Much as I refuse to wish time away, I can’t wait to do it again in 2013!
    Thanks, Rubies. You put so much work into this–and you should know how many of us think it was totally worth it!

  41. Elisa Beatty says:

    Winners will be announced by the weekend!!

    Sorry for the delay!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Phew!!! It’s been a crazy weekend here…but technically, the weekend’s not over yet here on the West Coast, so I’m just squeaking by….

      We have a LOT of prizes to give away today. I’ll be contacting the first group of eight by email tonight, and then contacting the second group of eight in about forty-eight hours (when I should know what prizes have been claimed by the first eight, and what’s still available).

      I beg for your patience!!!

      Here are the winners, in the order names were drawn:
      Arlene Hittle
      Jennifer Kamptner
      Teresa Hearl
      Dottie Taylor
      Cia Paul
      Amanda Sumner
      J.D. Faver
      Kristina Matthews
      Kristina Knight
      Liz Selvig
      Eileen Emerson
      Eve Shi
      Lynn Cahoon
      Heidi Luchterhand

  42. G. Ogan says:

    To me, “ergonomics” means the “fit” of something! Writing about pregnancy might be an ill fit for most men (even some physicians would recuse themselves from anything other than a clinical explaination). However, there may be a few highly empathetic fathers-to-be who really could delve into such a topic. Ergonomics in the world of mechanics means the interface between the tool and the user, but I got the idea you meant the interface between the writer and his/her subject matter.


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