2016 Announcements ~ A Hiatus

ss announcements 2016Happy 2016, everyone! We here at the Sprint Shack would like to wish you a wonderful new year filled with happiness, health, and lots of good writing.

Over the past years, we’ve been blown away by the amazing community that has sprung up around The Sprint Shack and word sprinting. We’ve loved sharing our writing advice and hearing yours. So many of you have accomplished amazing things with your writing and we’re sure that 2016 holds more of the same!

Unfortunately, we have an announcement to make – one that is somewhat difficult for us: as of today, the Sprint Shack will be going on an indefinite hiatus.

This decision was not one that was easy to make for us. But after much discussion and reflection, we’ve decided that putting the Sprint Shack on hiatus is the right thing to do as we all venture further into our own writing and personal projects.

We are not sure if, or when, the Sprint Shack might return, but we have decided to leave that open for the time being. As we pursue other projects, we’ll most certainly miss the Sprint Shack and this incredible community. So we’re leaving this open-ended for now. If, in the future, we feel we have the time to commit to the site again, we’ll pick everything back up.

But for now, we’re putting things on pause. And though this was a hard decision, we’re confident that it’s the right one.

We’re positive that 2016 is going to be a wonderful year for the writing community. We’re so glad to have been part of it for so long and thank you all for your participation, engagement, and enthusiasm you’ve brought to this site.

We’d love to keep in touch with you! You can find us at our respective websites/social media outlets:

Faye Kirwin

Cristina Guarino

Taylor Eaton
Little Write Lies

Thank you all for your support! Happy writing in 2016 and beyond!


The Sprint Shack Team
(Faye, Cristina, and Taylor)

New Book Alert! Faye Kirwin’s “The Writember Workbook”

Exciting news, folks! Friday 1st May marked the launch of co-founder Faye Kirwin’s first e-book, The Writember Workbook. Clocking in at 274 pages, the workbook teaches authors how to use psychology to master the art of writing every day and is now available at Writerology.net.

Want to make writing a habit? The Writember Workshop will help you make that dream a reality. Over 32 lessons, you'll use psychology to master the art of daily writing—because your words matter.

If you’ve ever thought about writing on a regular basis, there’s never been a better time to make it a reality.

Over the course of the Writember Workshop, you’ll learn how to build the ultimate writing routine, find your personal motivation triggers, inspire yourself on demand and master self-discipline. The aim: to make writing a habit.

Interested? Then pick the programme that best suits you:

The Committed to Creativity Programme

The Guided Workbook

If you’re the go-it-alone type, then the newly released Writember Workbook will let you work through the 32 lessons and worksheets at a pace that suits your lifestyle. You’ll also be given access to the Writember Twitter and Facebook communities and receive a monthly email to keep you accountable on your daily writing journey.

The Serious About Storytelling Programme

The Ultimate Accountability E-Course

If you prefer accountability and personalised support, then the Writember e-course is more up your street. In this programme, you’ll have a lesson and worksheet delivered to your inbox every day for a month, receive one-to-one coaching, and get a free copy of the Writember Workbook.

Want to make writing a habit? The Writember Workshop will help you make that dream a reality. Over 32 lessons, you'll use psychology to master the art of daily writing—because your words matter.

Want to take part in the Writember Workshop? Head on over to Writerology and enrol on your perfect programme!

Still not sure? Hear about the workshop from a past student, Kristen Kieffer of She’s Novel, who now has a stunning writing streak of over 60 days:

“Struggle no more! I was a binge writer banging out 1,000s of words once every couple of weeks before I found the Writember Workshop, and it was plain to see that my writing wasn’t getting any better. I knew I had a problem, but I still struggled with adopting the daily writing mentality.

The Writember Workshop held me accountable for the length of the course and taught me how to sustain my writing habit once the month was over. I now write every single day and my work is visibly improving. Three cheers for Faye and her amazing course!”


Tell us what you think of the Writember Workbook in the comments below or get your own copy here!

Romance Author Tracey Lyons Hosts “Sprinting: It’s Not Just For Runners!” Workshop!

We at The Sprint Shack, obviously, love all things word sprinting. So when we see an avid word sprinter doing what they can to get the word out to other writers and broaden the community, we get pretty excited—especially when that sprinter is kind enough to mention us as a resource!

Yesterday, romance author Tracey Lyons attended the Romance Writers of America’s New England Chapter “Let Your Imagination Take Flight” conference, where she hosted a workshop on word sprinting entitled “Sprinting: It’s Not Just For Runners!” Tracey reached out to us ahead of time to ask if she could mention The Sprint Shack, which we were of course thrilled by and supportive of.

Tracey discovered word sprinting after signing with a new agent and experiencing anxiety over a tough deadline. “I needed to get her the completed manuscript of a proposal I’d pitched to her. After days of chasing my tail around, a friend saw my angst-filled post on Facebook and suggested I try the sprinting method—and the rest, as they say, is history! I ended up completing that novel in a record six weeks!”

In the workshop, Tracey outlined the pros and cons of sprinting, offered tips on how to get the most out of a word sprint session (whether you’re sprinting alone or with a group), and made suggestions for turning off your “pesky inner critic” and giving yourself permission to write freely. She also provided author testimonials and a handout including websites and twitter handles to help get participants started in the sprinting community (that’s where we came in!). She ended the session with a word sprint and a follow-up discussion of the process and the attendees’ experiences.

“My hope is that the writers who attend these types of workshops will use the sprinting method of writing as another tool to help them achieve success,” Tracey said prior to the workshop. “Even if you’re only doing a few fifteen minute sessions a day, the word count adds up, giving you the confidence to keep moving forward.”

We hope everyone who attended the workshop had a great time and took something away from it. If you were there and found us through Tracey’s workshop, feel free to contribute to the conversation by letting us know your experience in the comments below!

An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author, Tracey’s books Tracey Lyons-1345-LR-Colorhave been translated into several languages. She has appeared on the award winning Cox Cable Television show, Page One and at the famous Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC. She holds membership in Romance Writers of America and Novelists Inc.

Tracey writes historical and contemporary romances. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at www.traceylyons.com and follow her on twitter at @traceyjlyons.

Time Change – One More Hour of Writing

Hello all you lovely writers. Fall is crisp in the air and the days are getting shorter. Autumn is here…and so is the time change (at least in North America).

In case you haven’t done so, we’re serving up a reminder to set your clocks back one hour today! And what better way to take advantage of that extra hour than by using it to write! Get your word counts up for NaNoWriMo (join us for #SundayScribes word sprints on Twitter – 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern) or finally edit that one tricky chapter you’ve been putting off.

However you use your extra hour today, make sure it’s well-spent.

Happy writing!

Happy Birthday to Us! The Sprint Shack is One Year Old!

ss bdayYep, you’ve read that right. Crazy, isn’t it?

Twelve whole months have passed since The Sprint Shack was born, and we’d like to thank our readers and fellow word sprinters for coming along on this crazy run with us. We’ve lapped the track several times over, slipped and fallen, and picked ourselves up for yet another round each time. We don’t plan on stopping any time soon and we can’t wait to see what the next twelve months hold.

And–surprise, surprise–we’re sprinting all day to celebrate it! Follow us on Twitter to join in on the word sprinting action throughout the day. We’d love to write with you!

First, we each have a few words about creating The Sprint Shack and what that’s been like for us and our writing.

Cristina R. Guarino

Starting The Sprint Shack alongside Faye and Taylor has done wonders for my writing. I couldn’t be happier that theCristina Guarinoy agreed to join me in this endeavor–I couldn’t have done it without them! They’re both fantastic, brilliant, motivated writers, and I’m learning a lot from and am inspired by them daily.

Not only has starting The Sprint Shack connected me with amazing and talented wordsmiths, it’s given me a type of liability to ensure I stay on top of my craft: how can I dispense advice about writing if I don’t stick with the number one rule, which is to write every day? So to ensure I stayed on top of my work, I recently started a Write Chain (Faye’s ingenious idea!) and am approaching a month straight of writing one page of fiction and/or one blog post per day. As of today, my WriteChain link is at 28. That’s probably the most days I’ve ever written in a row, including during NaNoWriMo—I always take a day or two break during that challenge.

And to know that it’s been a year and NaNoWriMo is approaching AGAIN–I can’t believe it’s already been an entire 12 months since we’ve gone live, and more than a year since I got involved in this wonderful Twitter-centric writing community! I still have a long way to go with my writing, but for the first time since I picked up a pen, I feel I’m getting close to fully understanding what it is to be a writer and what I want out of it. I have lots of goals I’m working toward thanks to my decision to delve into this community and start up The Sprint Shack, and while many of them are taking longer than I hoped or anticipated, I’m definitely enjoying the process.

Happy birthday to us, and a big, warm thank-you to all who have been around from day one!

Taylor Eaton

Has it really been one year since The Sprint Shack was born? Somehow it feels like it’s been longer. A lot longer.

ITaylor Eatonn the last year I’ve published my book, The Suicide of the Moon, and added an extra story per week to my site. I created a write chain so long that it could circle the world (365 days!). Not to mention, I’ve begun to learn the finer points of writing non-fiction posts for The Sprint Shack – something I’d not done much of before.

I’ve also seen myself go from writing over 2,000 words a day to writing less than 50 on some days. I’ve learned the challenges that come from trying to find a balance of pursuing a traditional career, maintaining relationships (with friends, family, significant others, and myself), and writing.

I can’t say I’m where I thought I might be one year out from the start of The Sprint Shack. I thought – for one – that I’d have written more than one book. But at the same time, I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished in my writing. And I feel like I’m ready for bigger things – literally. I’m ready to take a stab at writing a more traditional length novel (though I’ll still continue with my flash fiction – I can’t quit that). And I’m so excited to see where my writing goes.

I can say, without any doubt, that my writing wouldn’t be at the point it is without the constant support that The Sprint Shack readers and word sprints have offered me. And not to mention the amazing co-founders I’ve had the honor of writing alongside.

Happy first birthday, Sprint Shack! Can’t wait to see where we’re at for our second!

Faye Kirwin

The past 12 months have brought a lot of change for me. I delved deeper into the blogging world, here at The Sprint Shack and at my personal blog, Writerology.net. I’ve met so many amazing people, both online and off. I graduated from university. I’ve just started a business and launched my first e-course, the Writember Workshop. And that’s just the non-fiction side of my life!

Happy birthday to us! The Sprint Shack is one year old! Here's what the founders have to say...My fiction and writing style have also undergone a metamorphosis. Since November 29th 2013, I’ve written every day as part of the Write Chain Challenge, which has let me make progress on my larger projects as well as try my hand at some flash fiction. I love that writing is now an integral part of my day, so much so that it feels strange to even think about not writing.

My expectations of myself and my mindset towards my goals have definitely changed. I know now that if I truly want to do something, I can make it happen. Even if I falter and fail at first, if I don’t give up and keep at it, I know I can do it. That’s made so much of a difference to my life.

How has word sprinting made a difference in your writing? Have you been a Sprint Shack reader from day one? Let us know–we’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget to sprint with us throughout the day on Twitter!

Thank you again, lovely readers, and here’s to yet another year!
-The Sprint Shack Team

New Book Alert! Taylor Eaton’s “The Suicide of the Moon”!

We have some exciting news! Our own co-founder, Taylor Eaton, has just launched her first collection of micro fiction. Titled “The Suicide of the Moon”, it’s now available as an ebook at Amazon (with Kobo and Nook versions on the way)!

The Suicide of the Moon: A collection of flash fiction stories by Taylor Eaton.

Right now, “The Suicide of the Moon” is available for $0.99 (but in less than a week the price will go up, so grab it now)!

Taylor has been writing flash fiction/micro fiction (super short stories) for a while over at her blog, Little Write Lies, but this is her first book. The twelve stories in “The Suicide of the Moon” are all centered around the moon, portraying it as beautiful and sad at some times, yet capricious and curious at others. The stories range in genre (fantasy, sci-fi, literary) and voice.

Fun fact: Taylor actually wrote the majority of these stories during our word sprints on Twitter!

Still not sold? Some early reviews for “Suicide of the Moon” have called it: “an outstanding work of art” and “simply amazing.” Plus, the stories are short – perfect for reading during a commute to work (or when taking a small break from your Camp NaNoWriMo writings)!

Go get “The Suicide of the Moon” now and start reading! Click here!

And don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Oh, and make sure to sign up for Taylor’s Little Write Lies newsletter if you want some free bonus moon stories!

Cristina’s thoughts:

I love love love this collection. I read it back when Taylor needed a few betas, and now that it’s finally released, I can’t wait to read through the final version! Her hard work through all of this is really apparent in her tight prose and beautifully crafted stories. Whether you need a collection of stories to read sporadically in your free time or a quick read to devour in one sitting, “The Suicide of the Moon” is entertaining, thought-provoking, and just downright awesome.

Faye’s thoughts:

Taylor’s outdone herself with “The Suicide of the Moon.” Lyrical, thought-provoking, engaging and evocative, it’s a beautifully written collection of stories, one I’m honoured to have beta-ed for. I think it’s the mark of a great writer to be able to evoke so much emotion in the reader in so few words, and Taylor does it with such grace and ease.

Even though all the stories in the collection are about the moon, each one is unique and differs from the others in tone, genre, narrative mode and subject. You never know what you’ll find when you move onto the next story. It’s that sense of mystery and the poignant emotions inspired by each piece that stay with the reader long after each story has ended. And it’s that feeling that’ll keep this reader coming back for more every time!


Tell us what you think of “The Suicide of the Moon” in the comments below and get your own copy here!

The Story Shuffle Writing Game

The Story Shuffle Writing Game: Put your imagination to the ultimate test!March has arrived, with spring (hopefully) bouncing along in its wake. Time to brush away the cobwebs that gathered during winter, and what better way to do that than with a new writing game—the Story Shuffle!

You may recall February’s post, detailing the writing events at the Sprint Shack for the upcoming months. We asked you to submit some short prompts—character bios, settings, years and items of interest—for March’s writing game and you didn’t disappoint! We now have a bank of prompts, ready to give your imaginations a work out.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

What is the Story Shuffle?

In a nutshell, the Story Shuffle is a writing game that involves creativity, imagination, flexibility and a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking for a break from your current project, a bit of light-hearted entertainment, or a potential plot idea, this is the place to be.

What does it involve then?

I have four piles of cards sitting on my desk: character bios, settings, years/eras, and items of interest. Twice a week, every Saturday and Tuesday throughout March, I’ll shuffle each pile and pick a card from them at random. These four cards will combine to give the story starter for that half of the week.

What are the rules?

  1. Write a short story, piece of microfiction, novel, poem, script—whatever floats your boat—using the bio, setting, year/era and item of interest from the current (or past) prompt.
  2. Tweet us on Twitter or message us on Facebook with the #StoryShuffle hashtag, letting us know you’re taking part.
  3. If you want to, post your masterpiece online, direct us there, and we’ll point others towards the link too!
  4. The deadline for the challenge is the end of March, so have any stories you’d like us to promote posted by then.
  5. Take part in as many or as few prompts as you like. Just have fun!

Each Story Shuffle prompt will be announced on Facebook and Twitter, from @TheSprintShack using the #StoryShuffle hashtag. Write something for each story starter, just the one, or pick and choose your favourites—the choice is yours!

Remember: the Story Shuffle writing game is all about flexibility and fun. One week’s story starter could have a bio, setting, year and item that don’t seem to fit together at all. It’s down to your imagination to cook up a situation where that could happen, whether it’s an alternate reality, futuristic or ancient world, far-off planet or a different universe entirely! Let your muse run free and take you where it wishes to go.

So, are you ready for the Story Shuffle starters? Here you go:

1st March 2014

Character: Ex-pirate-turned-travelling-salesman
Setting: Persia
Year/Era: 3014
Item of interest: Enchanted canvas

4th March 2014

Character: An 8 year-old math genius who talks with a lisp
Setting: Vienna
Year/Era: 1066
Item of Interest: A fake voodoo doll

8th March 2014

Character(s): A group of American college students in a study abroad programme
Setting: The frozen wastes of the Bahamas
Year/Era: Future Wild West
Item of Interest: A dusty, out of tune piano

11th March 2014

Character: A blind pianist
Setting: A café in Florence
Year/era: Late 1700s
Item of interest: A mask that steals people’s faces

15th March 2014

Character: A talking turtle who dresses up as a hare for the local forest races and has an unhealthy coffee addiction
Setting: The centre of a black hole
Era: 2046
Item of Interest:
A cracked mirror that forms a portal between dimensions

18th March 2014

Character: A 13-year-old competitive plate spinner who’s worn the same t-shirt every day for 2 years
Setting: A secret room hidden behind a locker at a futuristic school on the moon
Era: Cold War
Item of Interest: A pair of mismatched slippers that cause the wearer to teleport to the place they’re thinking of instantly


Are you taking part in the Story Shuffle? What fantastical and outlandish ideas have you come up with so far?

Writing Events at the Sprint Shack

Writing Events at the Sprint Shack 2014Writing is the name of the game here. We want to help you to write the stories locked in your hearts, to release the creativity bottled up inside and let it flow across the page in a flood of words and pixie dust.

Sometimes, though, your idea reserves are blocked or run dry. When that happens, writing even a single line can feel like punishment. Writing isn’t a punishment. It should be a joy.

Team Sprint Shack want to help those stymied by writer’s block or suffering from an idea drought. To do that, we have some fun and inspirational (funspirational?) events lined up during the run-up to Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Here’s what we have in store for you over the coming months…


February: The Writing Prompt-A-Thon

The Writing Prompt-A-Thon kicked off on Facebook at the start of February. Each day this month, we’ll post a writing prompt for you and repost any writing prompts you send to us!

What kind of writing prompts are your favourites? Pictures, music, quotes, opening lines? Let us know in a comment below and we’ll make sure we include those in our stockpile.


March: The Story Shuffle

For March, we have a writing game planned! It requires some prep though. Throughout February, we’d love for you to submit some short character bios, settings, time eras/years and items of interest, either in the comments below, on Twitter (tweet to @TheSprintShack), Facebook (message the Sprint Shack), or through email (send to thesprintshack@gmail.com).

We’ll write each bio, setting, era/year and item on index cards and give each group a good shuffle. When March arrives, we’ll pick a card from each pile and these will combine to give you your writing challenge for the day! Then you can write your story during our regular word sprinting events!

Want an example? We’d pick out one bio, setting, era/year and item card and ask you to write a story based on that. For instance:

Bio: a cigar-smoking woman in her thirties, with a tattoo of an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph on her wrist and a tendency to limp when under stress
Setting: tea parlour
Era/Year: 2403
Item of interest: golf club

Now, what kind of story could you make from that? One you might never think of otherwise, that’s for sure!

We’ll write a post with further details and more information closer to March. For now, start submitting those Story Shuffle prompts—one, two, three or all four of them!


April: Camp NaNoWriMo

The first Camp NaNoWriMo is in April this year! Excited? We certainly are! Though we haven’t anything set in stone yet, we’re planning some events to make Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 the best one yet.

Do you have any suggestions or preferences for events? What would make your Camp session particularly writerrific? Let us know in the comments section below!


Which events will you be taking part in? Do you have a prompt for the Prompt-A-Thon or Story Shuffle?

5 Gift Ideas For Writers

5 gift ideas for writers: What to buy a writer who has everything?What to buy a writer? It can be quite the conundrum for writers and non-writers alike. We each have different processes, different tastes, different approaches to writing—what then can we buy that goes beyond the basic ‘pen and notebook’? Here are my top five gift ideas for writers to help anyone struggling to find that perfect present.

1. Paperblanks

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to suggest notebooks, but Paperblanks journals are a weakness of mine. With a wide range of gorgeous covers in many different styles and sizes, Paperblanks make a wonderful gift for a writer.

Buy a small notebook that fits snuggly into bags and pockets for writing on the go or opt for a larger journal that wouldn’t look out of place in an antique bookshop—or something in between! Whatever design you choose, Paperblanks add a touch of elegance to a writer’s collection, not to mention look stunning on their bookshelves!

2. Scrivener

If Microsoft Word doesn’t meet all of a writer’s needs, there’s a good chance Scrivener will. This word processor allows you to organise and move between your chapters and scenes with ease, order index cards for each scene on a corkboard, and keep folders full of research, notes, character interviews and more in the same file as your story—no more switching between documents and trawling through folder after folder looking for where you saved the notes on your main character’s uncle’s best friend’s cat.

Another plus about Scrivener is that, although it’s made with writers in mind, it can be used to complete other projects as well. I used it to write this article, as I do with all my blog posts, and organising and writing my assignments for university is made so much simpler by Scrivener. It’s a great all-round writing programme and I heartily recommend it.

(Bonus: If you took part in NaNoWriMo 2013, you can get up to a 50% discount!)

3. Write or Die

This is a particularly great gift for word sprinters. Load up the desktop version of Write or Die, enter your word count goal and your time limit, then hit ‘write’ and start to type… and don’t stop, because, if you do, there’ll be consequences. Should you stop writing for longer than your ‘grace period’ allows, brace yourself for alarming sounds (think of blaring car horns), unpleasant images (yucky creepy-crawlies) and, if you’ve selected ‘kamikaze mode,’ disappearing words!

Okay, when you phrase it like that, Write or Die sounds a bit scary. In truth, it is scary, but in the same way a rollercoaster is—while the sudden twists and drops of the ride get your heart pounding and adrenaline rushing, the consequences in Write or Die send your fingers flying across the keys and your imagination soaring. As long as you keep that pesky inner editor gagged and bound, Write or Die is a writer’s best friend.

4. Framed favourite quotes

When my motivation to write is low or I hit a stumbling block in my work-in-progress, I find inspiration in the words of others. My favourite quotes, about writing and life, litter my computer and my desk, on hand to pick me up when I’m feeling down.

One thing I find particularly inspirational—and beautiful—is a framed quote. It can hang on your wall or sit on a surface and remind you of what’s important in your life. So, if you want to give a writer a gift that’s both thoughtful and motivating, find out their favourite quote and make it a centrepiece in their room.

5. Time to write

As clichéd as it sounds, time is a very precious gift to many writers. With so many things to do, writing often takes a backseat, pushed aside for friends and family, housework and errands. If you’d like to give a writer a gift that isn’t so focused on the material, then respect their writing time and help them to keep it reserved for writing. Whether that’s by doing something as simple as making them a cup of tea or the more demanding task of keeping children occupied, anything you can do to keep writing time sacred is very much appreciated by writers.


What are some of your gift ideas for writers? Have you received a particularly lovely writing gift recently?

Interview with Taylor Eaton: On writing and The Sprint Shack

Hello all you word sprinters!

Have you heard? This last Thursday (Oct. 24), Sprint Shack co-founder Taylor Eaton was interviewed on Blog Talk Radio. Aside from speaking about her writing, she discussed The Sprint Shack and its origins. If you’d like to listen to the interview, you can hear it here.

The discussion about Sprint Shack starts at 4:14 in the interview’s recording.



Have any questions for Taylor about Sprint Shack, word sprints or writing? Leave a comment here!