NaNoWriMo Prep: 8 Things to Do Before NaNoWriMo Starts

Untitled

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start to fall, the crisp air bites at your cheeks, and all of the coffee shops are full of the smell of pumpkin… and crazed over-caffeinated writers preparing for the impending storm. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but for people like me, this is the month of readying yourself for the battle against a novel that seemingly never wants to be written. Ideas for stories or novels swarm my brain on a regular basis, but as soon as NaNoWriMo is in arm’s-reach, it’s like they go into hiding.

There are millions of things we suddenly remember while NaNoWriMo is in progress that we wish we would have thought about before–or, at least, that’s the case for me. So I took it upon myself last year to keep a little ongoing list of all the things that I should have done before NaNoWriMo started. Here are some things you can think about or start working on now to have a more productive November.

Find Character Inspiration and Names:
We all know the struggle of character naming in the heat of the moment. Even if you are a “pantser” at heart, you know the time that building a character can take away from your word count. So why not do some minimal planning and figure out your characters before you have to stress about them?

Create/ Brainstorm your Cover Art:
If you are anything like me, you know the pain of going onto the NaNoWriMo forums and seeing all the beautiful cover art all ready in the signatures of all the eager and prepared Wrimos. You try to ignore them, but in the back of your mind, every sentence you write is backed up with an unbearable longing for your own cover. For me, it was my greatest downfall and distraction in the first week of last year’s festivities, and I will definitely be working on mine before November this year.

Research your Genre and Take Note of Any Applicable Conventions:
This is a great thing to do, especially if it is your first time writing within this genre. Knowing the conventions or other common features of your genre will really help you get in the groove, and it’s one less thing you will need to research when you get started.

Do the Math, Plan Your Numbers for the Month:
If you are a student or work full-time, you will need to work around your life’s schedule to win NaNoWriMo. The lovely word count tool on the website will try to tell you that you need to write roughly 1600 words a day, but for some people that’s simply not doable. So go through your schedule, find the best writing days, and try to amp up your word count on those days. This is also good if you suffer from chronic stress and need to give yourself a little break once or twice a week from novel land. If you need a few days off, just calculate that into your weekly numbers and make sure that you can make up for them on another day. The biggest part of NaNoWriMo is keeping a steady pace and making sure you take care of yourself and life outside your novel, as well.

Book Some Days Off for Catch Up or Damage Control:
This one kind of ties in with the last tip. Slipping and falling behind is pretty easy to do–life happens and you can’t expect the world to stop for NaNoWriMo (not yet at least). If you can afford to do so, I highly recommend keeping at least one day near the middle and end of the month dedicated to catching up. I personally keep a few days closer to the beginning of the month to get ahead so that I can focus on all my duties as a Municipal Liaison, and that works best for me.

Figure Out Your Goals and Rewards:
I’m a big believer in setting goals and planning rewards for when goals are achieved. If you are someone who finds themselves unmotivated often, then you should definitely set multiple short-term goals and rewards, such as for every 10,000 words written. But if you just need that one big push to get to the end, give yourself one big end goal and work towards that. Every year my reward is a winner shirt for the year and a big celebratory dinner with all the friends that had to put up with crazy-NaNoWriMo-me.

Prepare Your Inner Editor:
I want to talk more about this in a later post, but for now, I am going to explain what you can do to get ready for your novel frenzy month. Any seasoned Wrimo knows that the biggest word count killer is your inner editor. That little voice in your head that moves your fingers to that backspace button, makes you read back 8 pages, or convinces you to delete whole chapters. You need to start training yourself to fight against that little voice. I have some tips and tricks to help you beat it once and for all, but right now, you can start by practicing the ever so simple mantra “write now, edit later.” It will seriously change the way you write anything and everything. There are settings for you to turn off your word-processors editing tools if that helps you at all, but just start practicing, I promise it will make a huge difference.

Clear Your Workspace and Computer of Distractions:
Nothing is better than a well-organized workspace. All your references in order, the perfect little spot for your coffee… it all helps everything flow better when things are in place. I always make sure to clean up my computer while I’m in the cleaning mood. I hide all the distracting files or games in a folder and flood my desktop with motivational quotes and inspirational images or references. It’s really helped me out when I am looking around for something to distract myself.

How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo? Will you be trying any of these tips this October? Let us know!


Mazie-Bishop

Mazie Bishop is a fiery 23 year-old writer and journalism graduate from Canada. She is self-published and also has several poems and short fiction pieces published in various anthologies and magazines. Currently, she is in the process of writing her second novel, and is in the outlining stages of a quarter-life memoir. You can read about her little crafty adventures, read her work, and gander at her photos on www.theselittlepieces.com.

Goodbye #TNightSprints; Hello #TuesAMSprints!

Hey there, word sprinters!

It’s with half regret, half pleasure that we’re here to inform you that we will no longer be hosting #TNightSprints on our Twitter account and will be replacing it with another weekly sprinting event. It’s been almost a year since we started running #TNightSprints, and while we are no longer able to host it, we thank you for joining us in our many productive Tuesday and Thursday night sessions!

Cristina’s schedule has changed, leaving her with more writing time in the morning than at night. So without further ado, we’re introducing #TNightSprints’s replacement: #TuesAMSprints!

picjumbo.com_IMG_1729
Cristina will be hosting sprints from @TheSprintShack every Tuesday morning from 6:30 am EST to 7:30 am EST to give you fellow morning writers an extra boost (especially helpful if your motivation is usually lacking on Mondays)! For those of you who are voraciously productive in the mornings, these sprints directly follow those hosted by the @5amWritersClub and finish with only a half hour to go before @Novel_Adventure‘s morning sprints… this way, you can knock out ALL THE WORDS between 5 am and 10 am EST! (That’s 5 hours of writing. If you have that much time on a weekday to write, we salute and envy you).

We hope to see you out there for some early writing! If you can’t make #TuesAMSprints, remember to check out our Sprinting Schedules page to find sprints that work for your routine.

Happy sprinting!

#WriteFit Challenge – 4 Steps to Using Fitness to Fuel Your Writing Life

WriteFit Blog Title PictureBack when The Sprint Shack was first founded, a fun hashtag was floating around the Twitterverse: #WriteFit. With such a simple yet descriptive name, I immediately knew it’d catch on quick.

From there, I witnessed the very first beginnings of the #WriteFit challenge, which encompasses something every writer I know struggles to balance: the goals of sedentary writer life with the goals of a fit and healthy life. How can we be productive writers–something that requires hours of sitting, often with harmful posture and bright screens glaring against our straining eyes–while still maintaining good health? Poor habits for the sake of productivity aren’t sustainable–just ask the writer and cartoonist Howard Tayler, who had to get spinal surgery from too many hours of sitting at his desk.

Unfortunately, the challenge took place during an extremely busy month and I was unable to participate, but good news: the #WriteFit challenge is back, this time for a whopping three months instead of its usual one!

Here to talk to us more about the challenge are its founders, Jessi Esparza and Katie Siuta O’Shea.

Can you tell us the basics of the #WriteFit challenge for anyone who’s new to it? The what, where, and when?

#WriteFit combines writing plus fitness (hence the Write and the Fit) in a month-long challenge with a social twist. We’ve found that a fitness regimen really helps us stick to our writing goals. There’s something about exercising that helps us clear our minds and focus on getting words onto the page.

By setting goals, we take the first steps to actually meeting them, and by sharing those goals with the #WriteFit community we have people cheering us on and ensuring that we do.  Participants tweet, blog, or otherwise share their progress in word counts, number of steps, number of miles, minutes of yoga (however they’ve decided to keep track) and encourage other participants. You can do #WriteFit anytime, anywhere—it’s meant to be flexible to fit your lifestyle!

Each challenge typically lasts for a month, but right now we’re doing a few consecutive months. People can start at any time!

How do people interested in the challenge participate?

It’s easy! You set goals, achieve goals, share your progress, and support other participants in the challenge.

Set Your Goals: Set specific goals for yourself, such as writing 20-30 minutes every day (or 3x a week—whatever you choose!), paired with fitness goals, such as 30 minutes of exercise a day or reaching 10,000 steps a day. It doesn’t even have to be “writing” new words—some people are in the revising or querying stages and set their goals to spend time on those things.

Achieve Your Goals: This part’s simple—you actually sit down and write, and jump up and exercise (or visa versa–the timing’s not important)!

Share Your Goals: Use the hashtag #WriteFit on Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media site to check in and share your progress with your friends and the other participants.

Support Each Other: Check the #WriteFit hashtag and tweet other participants encouragement. Favorite, retweet, friend – it’s easier to stay on target when you have a community around you. The more involved you are, the better your results will be. You can even schedule writing sprints (or real sprints!) with each other.

Why did you decide to start the #WriteFit challenge? What was your initial inspiration?

Jessi originally came up with the idea a) to make actual progress on her novel, b) to keep up with her other writing projects, and c) to counteract working a 40 hour desk job followed by coming home and sitting more.

Katie, who is way more social media savvy than Jessi, saw how much progress Jessi was making and decided that #WriteFit should be a legit thing. She posted on her blog and Twitter and invited others outside our small circle of friends to participate too.

What has participation been like in the last challenges?

We’ve done the challenge several times in the last two years and we’ve been overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm. It really spread and took on a life of its own. Even when we weren’t specifically running a #WriteFit challenge month, we loved seeing that people were still making their own challenges, or keeping up with their goals.

After starting her YouTube channel, Katie O’Shea Books, Katie posted several official YouTube #WriteFit Challenges, and it has continued to grow from there.

From what I understand, there’s also a #ReadFit for non-writers and those who just want to read more! How does that work?

The same way as #WriteFit, except instead of writing goals, it’s reading goals. A lot of our friends who didn’t write but loved books wanted to join, so we created a hashtag for them too!

Will #WriteFit and #ReadFit be back in the future? Do you have a set schedule for future challenges, or are they as you have time?

Definitely! Our current challenge is going on through at least July. We don’t have a set schedule but typically we run at least two official challenges a year. Of course people can also continue to use the hashtag throughout the year.

Jessi Esparza is a writer, designer, and nerd of all tradesJessi Bio Picture, who loves cuddly animals, witty people and yummy food. You can find her on Twitter @jessimesparza or on her writing blog, jessiwritesthings.tumblr.com. She has an ongoing serial about what happens when the fairytale realms and modern day world collide. Read it at http://www.wattpad.com/story/1616693-tales. You can also check out her artwork at jessisketches.tumblr.com.

Katie Bio Picture

Katie Siuta O’Shea is lawyer by day and a writer by early morning/late night. She loves photography, music, traveling, and setting way too many goals. You can find her online on Twitter and Instagram @ktoshea, her YouTube Channel Katie O’Shea Books, or her blog, katieosheabooks.blogspot.com.

The Aftermath: What I Learned From My First #10KWritathon

10kOkay, first confession: I wrote the first draft of this post DURING, not after, yesterday’s #10KWritathon. I needed a word boost and a break from my current WIP, which I’d been working on for approximately 6 hours. So I figured it was time for a change of pace, subject, and genre.

This was my first #10KWritathon, so I thought I’d write up a post for you guys on how it went and what I learned. And my decision to switch gears brings me to my first two lessons: be prepared and switch it up.

Lesson #1: Be prepared. Probably the hardest part about this Writathon for me was that, not only was it my first time attempting to write 10k in one day that I can recall, I wasn’t as prepared as I’d have liked to have been. My original plan was simple: spend the few weeks between the announcement of the Writathon and the actual day of it tearing apart my WIP and reorganizing it into a cohesive outline, then work on rewriting problematic areas during the Writathon itself. But what I didn’t account for was a little thing called life, and that actually-not-so-little thing wedged itself between me and my plans just about every day possible until I had very little time left. As a result, I found this challenge to be a struggle—perhaps more so than I normally would have with a concrete outline and budding ideas—and so, I had to resort to lesson 2.

Lesson #2: Switch it up. Ideally, this step should take root in your planning and preparing stage. Come to the Writathon with a list of things you’d like to work on, which can include anything from a short story to an article to a chapter, or even an outlining or brainstorming session for a new work. Of course, some will want to knock out 10k on one manuscript alone, and that’s great! But for many, writing for hours at a time on one manuscript can often bring us to that proverbial brick wall we call writer’s block when we’re suffering from sheer exhaustion, and having something different to work on—bonus points if it’s a completely different format or genre— is a great way to wake your brain up and refresh your creativity.

Lesson #3: Have a timer ready. This goes for whether you’re participating in the Writathon or hosting it, yourself! I used my phone as a timer to remind myself when sprints began and ended, that way I didn’t accidentally let my break spill into writing time or get so caught up in a lucky wave of words that I missed the sprint’s end. Of course, if you’re going to use your phone, you’ll have to be diligent about not checking it during your sprints; the whole point to having an alarm is to prevent you from looking up to check the clock/Twitter, so make sure to put your phone on silent or Do Not Disturb mode so you aren’t tempted to check it!

Lesson #4: Writing all day is hard. Well, duh, right? But I include this here because, during the busy hubbub of our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that, yes, writing is hard—even (and, sometimes, especially) when you have all day to do it. It’s so darn easy to stretch that break out a little longer, or call for an extra break before you really need one, or busy yourself with menial tasks to avoid the actual work. So, while most writers will tell you with confidence that writing 10,000 words in a day is hard, participating in a #10kWritathon might be the exact reality check we need to understand just how hard it is to do this daily for a living. And maybe, possibly, that’ll give us some more appreciation for whatever our daily life is like, and encourage us to enjoy and make use of the small snatches of time we have to write amongst all our other responsibilities.

Lesson #5: Word padding isn’t helpful. Some may argue with me on this, and this is a lesson born of both our Writathon AND NaNoWriMo, but it’s one I’m going to stick to. While writing the original, unfinished, messy draft of this WIP during NaNoWriMo, I let the words absolutely fly. Adverbs ran amuck; I stretched conjunctions into their full length to create stiff but wordy dialog; and I described everything I could, often derailing my work from the plot and the issues at hand. It helped me reach 50,000 words, and I did get some great lines and ideas out of it, but I took it too far. The result? A troublesome #10kWritathon in which I struggled to reorganize and rewrite the beginning of this work, and the manuscript is such a nightmare to get through that reaching 10,000 words, even including outlining and brainstorming, felt like slogging through thigh-deep mud to a far-off finish line.

In fact, I didn’t reach 10,000 words. I burnt out at just over the halfway point.

Ultimately, though, this challenge has brought me to a little epiphany I’ll call our bonus lesson: Any word count, whether 100 or 10,000, is a victory. This is something we commonly say to motivate anyone who is disappointed in their word count during a sprint, and it’s true—but until yesterday, I didn’t understand just how true. Watching the #10KWritathon hasthag scroll throughout the day on my Tweetdeck was a great reminder of how productive this challenge is for so many people; some reach their goals, some don’t, others don’t aim for that number at all. But it’s helpful to know that, even if your word count didn’t get quite where you wanted it to, it may just have inspired someone else to keep writing—which is one of the wonderful and beautiful things about our little writing community on Twitter.

And now… our Hall of Famer! While I didn’t get to 10,000 words yesterday, one determined writer did. A HUGE congrats to Christina (@chuffwrites) for reaching 10k in our first in-house #10kWritathon!

And, of course, here are some honorable mentions with their stellar word counts:

Cari Wiese (@cariwiese) with 8,003 words

Tami Veldura (@tamiveldura) with 7,954 words

Holly Starkey (@holly_starkey) with 6,000 words

L.A. Lanier (@TheSquibbler) with 4,986 words

Congrats everyone! And for those not mentioned here, if you participated, let us know how you did!

Get Ready—We’re Hosting a #10KWritAThon!

10k
Just a little over a year ago, the awesome Nicky Stephens wrote a guest post for us on her latest word sprinting feat, the #10KWritAThon. The #10KWritAThon, as the name suggests, is a writing marathon and word sprinting event on Twitter in which the goal is to write 10,000 words over the course of a day. Since then, writers across Twitter have picked up on the challenge, hosting some of their own and gathering fellow word sprinting fiends to partake with them (we hear Get Wordies is going to be hosting a few for Camp NaNoWriMo and regular NaNoWriMo this year, and you can find the schedule here).

On Sunday, March 1st, we’re kicking the month off with a #10KWritAThon of our own! Join us for a day of word sprinting and crank out your own 10,000 words, or write what you can. We’ll have a bunch of goodies to inspire and motivate you, including writing prompts, competitive wordscrims, and maybe even some cute pictures of baby animals as rewards for your word sprinting prowess.

We’ll develop a full schedule as the date draws closer and will update this post with information, so check back soon! Full details will also be posted to our Upcoming Sprints page. To prepare, check out our own Faye Kirwin’s article on InfoBarrel, How To: Write 10,000 Words In A Day!

Happy writing, and see you March 1st!

Sprint Watch! Where to Word Sprint this Camp NaNoWriMo

The halfway point of Camp NaNoWriMo approaches! Whether you’re on track, storming ahead or playing catch-up, there’s one thing that can give your word count a super-boost. Yep, you guessed it: the word sprint. There are so many of them going down this month that you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Here’s a recap of the various word sprinting events scheduled on Twitter this Camp NaNoWriMo. Some are planned, others spontaneous. Some are long, some are short. Some are recurring, while others are one-offs. Take your pick, write up a storm and, most importantly, enjoy yourself!


PLANNED SPRINTS

These events have been planned in advance, with their start and stop times predetermined. Some are one-off events, just for Camp, and others happen all year round. See if any take your fancy and let us know if you’re going to take part!

Camp NaNoWriMo and the #NaNoThon

What: Prepare yourself for an epic 8-hour writing marathon, courtesy of NaNoWriMo. Those word counts don’t stand a chance.

Where: Follow the #NaNoThon hashtag on Twitter for word sprint start and stop times and to report your word counts!

When: Saturday, April 12, from:

United Kingdom: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
US East Coast: 12 noon to 8 p.m.
US West Coast: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sprint Shack and the #TalesAndTea Party

What: You are cordially invited to our weekly word party, where we drink cup upon cup of delicious beverages (tea, coffee, the purest water from an enchanted spring—take your pick), eat scrumptious treats, and write many, many words. Sprints last for 20 minutes, with 10 minute breaks in between.

Where: Hosted by @TheSprintShack, you can follow the word sprint start and stop times and report your word counts using the #TalesAndTea hashtag.

When: Saturdays, all year round, from:

United Kingdom: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
US East Coast: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
US West Coast: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Friday Night Writes and #WriteClub

What: Every week, the doors to #WriteClub open, the writers of the world flood in, and the words flow out. Sprints last for 30 minutes, with 10 minute breaks in between, and run for a whopping (almost) 24 hours!

Where: Stay up-to-date with all the #WriteClub action using this hashtag and follow the host, @FriNightWrites, for sprint start and stop times.

When: Fridays, all year round, from:

United Kingdom: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.
US East Coast: 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.
US West Coast: 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Remember: you don’t have to take part in the full length of the word sprinting events (e.g. if you join in #WriteClub, you don’t have to write for nearly 24 hours). Dip in and out as time and life allows!


SPONTANEOUS SPRINTS

These sprints are often spur of the moment, unplanned events. The start and stop times are announced by the host a short while in advance, so keep an eye out for them by searching for ongoing sprints using the popular sprinting hashtags listed on the Sprinting Resources page and following the frequent sprint-meisters listed below.

@TheSprintShack
@NaNoWordSprints
@GetWordies
@NaNoPals

For more word sprinters, check out the Notable Sprinters page, and let us know if you spot any other frequent sprint hosts or events on Twitter! We’d love to add them to our list.

~

Will you be taking part in any of these events, or hosting your own this Camp NaNoWriMo?

Guest Post: Beau Barnett – Word Sprints, #WriteClub and Some Staggering Statistics

Word Sprints, #WriteClub and Some Staggering Statistics: Beau Barnett discusses the camaraderie of #WriteClub and some staggering stats.Hey everyone. Have you ever heard of #WriteClub? If you have, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen my number-filled tweets. I’m #StatsGuy. I keep the word count statistics for #WriteClub. If you want to know how many words the US managed to write during their 5th sprint on the night of August 16th, 2013… I can tell you (15,553 words, btw). Want to know how many words you wrote during #WriteClub in 2013? I can tell you.

Why in the world do I do this? To really answer this question, you have to know that there are two things I love basically more than anything else in this world. Sports… and stats. If you are like me, and also love sports and their associated statistics, you’ve heard of the Elias Sports Bureau. They are the official stats tracker of basically every single major sporting league in the United States, and they pretty regularly come up with some incredible (and slightly ridiculous) numbers. During the 2004 American League Championship Series, they came out with a statistic after Boston won game 4 that no team down 3-0 in a series had ever won game 5 after winning game 4 in extra innings after midnight. For some reason, after #WriteClub started in October 2012, I had this crazy idea that it would be kind of cool if #WriteClub had its own Elias. Silly me thought, “Why not me?” and #StatsGuy was born.

You could argue it’s a labor of love, and that I’m not getting anything whatsoever for sitting at my dining room table pretty much every Friday night and writing and inputting numbers into a spreadsheet. Truthfully, I’d tell you that I’ve gained a lot. The sheer number of friends I’ve made as a result of #WriteClub is staggering. The support and camaraderie from the 1100 people that have participated over the last year is incredible. Without it, I know that I would never have had multiple short stories published.

It’s also so amazing to see a writer finish a project of some sort during #WriteClub. Everyone rallies around them surrounding them with congratulations and love. Every week it seems there’s at least one person out there that mentions the sprints offered by #WriteClub enabled them to break through a block. It seems like whenever a new person joins in for a sprint or two, they are absolutely made to feel welcome and a part of the team. It IS truly a labor of love; I do it because I love it.

I’ll admit, it does sorta drive me nuts when someone reports that they “only” wrote X words for that sprint, though I completely understand it. If you show up for a few weeks and I start to recognize you, I get a pretty good idea of how many words you’re capable of writing, and I know (being able to write 1500+ at times myself) it’s disappointing when things are just off and you’re reporting word counts that are 20% of what you know you can do. Here’s what I have to say to that: WRITING IS HARD. IF IT WERE EASY, EVERYBODY WOULD DO IT.

So you just wrote 150 words when the last sprint you went off for 1200? That’s still 150 words closer to writing every writer’s favorite two: THE END. Also, that 150 may just be the most difficult 150 words in the entire project, that without, you can’t even write the 1200 you write in the next sprint. Most important thing about that 150 words you reported disappointedly? YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP. (Another thing I hate: THE STUPID FIGHT CLUB JOKE. GAHHHHHHHHHHHH.)

When I originally started keeping the stats a couple of weeks after #WriteClub started, I did so very haphazardly. I didn’t track individuals, I didn’t use a spreadsheet, I simply totaled up all the word counts reported and gave that number between sprints, then went back and totaled those at the end of the night. A couple of months later I started tracking things in a notebook, including individual totals.

I decided to start 2013 off by getting organized and tracking things in an Excel spreadsheet. We wrote 27,175 words that week. 3 weeks later we cracked 50,000 words for the first time, which we have never gone under again. February 8th the UK started having their own #WriteClub and I started tracking them as well. February 22nd the US cracked 100K the first time, then on March 22nd we wrote our 1,000,000th word worldwide. March 29th the US broke a million on their own, and #WriteClub was a force to be reckoned with.

I’m sure that @MeganWhitmer never dreamed that would happen — and now we’re nearing our 10,000,000th word. January 10th of this year, Australia started a branch of their own (since Friday night for those of us in the US is Saturday afternoon for them) and now we run sprints *almost* all day on Fridays.

As far as numbers go, here are a few interesting ones:

1144 people have reported at least one word count.

Worldwide:

1,000,000th word: March 22nd, 2013
2,000,000th word: May 10th, 2013
5,000,000th word: September 6th, 2013
9,000,000th word: January 10th, 2014 (during the Australia kickoff)
10,000,000th word: February 28th, 2014

Total words in 2013: 8,832,689 (this includes the 1.2M words written during the 2 day marathon to kick off NaNoWriMo)

Top single sprint: 38,612 (this was the final sprint of the NaNoMarathon)
Top single sprint during normal #WriteClub time: 30,149, November 1st, 2013
Top single sprint besides the marathon: 23,609

274 sprints cracked the 10,000 word barrier

US:

1,000,000th word: March 29th, 2013
2,000,000th word: June 7th, 2013
5,000,000th word: November 8th, 2013
6,000,000th word: January 10th, 2014

Total words in 2013: 5,812,604

UK:

250,000th word: April 19th, 2013
500,000th word: May 31st, 2013
1,000,000th word: August 2nd, 2013
2,000,000th word: November 29th, 2013

Total words in 2013: 2,155,152

Australia:
44,973 words (as of 1/24, when this post was written)

There were 864,933 words written during the #WriteClub marathon that were not during the normal Friday night times included in the worldwide total.

Have you participated in #WriteClub? If not, what are you waiting for!? Come add your words to the tallies!

————————————————

Beau Barnett

ABOUT BEAU BARNETT

Beau Barnett, better known as #WriteClub’s StatsGuy and the array of seasonal nicknames he goes by on Twitter, is a published author and sports enthusiast in Woodstock, Georgia. Unlike many writers, he not only loves numbers–he excels with them. You can find him posting on his blog, www.beaubarnett.wordpress.com, or logging numbers for this week’s #WriteClub on his Twitter.

 

 

Without further ado, here is your Story Shuffle writing prompt!

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

That should be fun to pull off. Have fun with it!

Sprint Watch! The #10kWritathon

Hello and happy holidays, word sprinters! We hope your week has been full of cheer and a considerable helping of words, but if writing has been pushed to the sidelines lately, don’t feel too bad. We’ve spotted just the event to get you back on track.

On Sunday 29th December, word sprint legend Nicky Stephens (known on Twitter as @Rhapsody2312) has a mammoth writing marathon planned: the #10kWritathon. As you probably guessed by the name, the aim of the challenge is to write 10,000 words in one day, though if the thought of writing 10k makes you dizzy, feel free to aim for something lower.

Whatever your word count goal, Nicky has 12 hours of word sprinting games and challenges to help you reach it! Let’s take a peek at the schedule:

#10kWritathon Schedule for 29th December

If you have keen eyes, you may have noticed the hour gap between the Bestseller’s List and Dashing events–that’s the Freestyle hour, to do with as you choose. You could spend 15:00 to 16:00 catching up if you’re behind on your word count, taking a well-earned break, grabbing some food, updating the world with your progress… The possibilities are endless!

All times listed in the schedule above are for your local area, which gets around the time zone problems that usually plague planned sprinting events–for example, 9 a.m. in GMT would be 4 a.m. in EST, which, unless you’re a very early riser, isn’t the best time to be sprinting. Instead, you can do your writing marathon between the far more comfortable times of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for where you live! Good, huh?

If you can’t do the full 12 hours, dip in and out of the word sprints as time permits. Don’t forget to check in with other sprinters throughout the day with the #10kWritathon hashtag and report your scores for each game so that a winner can be declared!

Have some unanswered questions? Leave a comment below or contact @Rhapsody2312 with your queries, and be sure to follow her on Twitter to stay updated on any future #10kWritathon events!

Finally, a message from the hostess:

For those who feel slightly intimidated by the idea of writing 10k in a day, may I just say that it doesn’t matter if you reach 10,000 words, or 10. The idea is to inspire you to write, and have fun while doing so. Even if all you manage is half an hour of the game that sounds the most fun to you, jump in whenever it suits you, post your word count on Twitter, and allow yourself to feel proud that you made the effort and are that much closer to reaching your writing goals.

This isn’t a race to the finish line. It’s a three-legged sprint designed to get your logic, your muse, and your motivation to work together without realising that’s what they’re doing. So have fun, and try not to drop those plot eggs. They’re fragile. ;D

Are you excited yet? We are! Will you be joining us on Sunday for the #10kWritathon?

Life After NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is about writing a novel. Throughout November, we bleed, sweat and cry out words, until 50,000 of them sit on our computers. Those words are still there now, squirrelled away in our document files, waiting to receive some love and attention, waiting to be groomed and made presentable, waiting for a bit of polish… and for many NaNo novels, they’ll still be waiting years from now. Why is that? Because so many people abandon their writing after NaNoWriMo.

That’s understandable at first. You’ve just gone through a 30 day writing marathon. You’re mentally and physically exhausted, you have a backlog of work to tend to, and on top of that, you should probably inform friends and family that you’re actually still alive. A break from writing is just what you need—and a short break is perfectly okay. It’s when that ‘short break’ spins out into weeks and months of writing inactivity that it becomes a problem.

NaNoWriMo throws us into gear and propels us forward. Don’t let that momentum die away just because November is over. The challenge of writing 50,000 words is only the first step towards a much larger goal: a finished novel. The only way to do that is to keep writing in your life after NaNoWriMo.

What if I haven’t finished my first draft?

The folks who run NaNoWriMo encourage you to write a complete novel in 50,000 words, but if you didn’t quite get that far or only got partway through your story by the time you hit 50k, then finishing your first draft is at the top of the To Do list.

Fortunately for you, NaNo might be over, but the word sprinting mania that went with it certainly isn’t. @TheSprintShack runs daily sprints and there are a whole host of other fantastic Twitter accounts that hold their own weekly sprinting events. You can find a list of the sprinters here and their events here. Take advantage of the productivity boost they give you and finish that first draft.

I’ve completed my first draft. What now?

NaNoWriMo has dedicated January and February to revision and publishing tips, dubbing them the “What Now?” Months. Here’s a taste of the things they’ll be doing to help novelists who want to turn their stories from fluffy first drafts to sleek finished products:

  • Advice articles posted on the official NaNoWriMo blog
  • Pep talks from professional authors to motivate, inspire and guide the revision process
  • Webinars with publishing experts and NaNo-novelists
  • Discussions across the Twittersphere about where to go with your story now

But if you can’t wait until the New Year to start editing your NaNo novel, you can check out the Now What? resources from last year right here.

I have no motivation without NaNoWriMo. What can I do?

If the challenge element of NaNoWriMo motivated you the most, there are plenty of other writing challenges for you to join.

There’s the #WIPMarathon, which is great for keeping yourself accountable. With the challenge of tweeting your goals and posting weekly WIP updates to your blog, there’s motivation aplenty to make progress and have something to talk about. Not only that, there’s a growing network of supportive writing buddies that can be found through the #WIPMarathon hashtag. Find yourself some writing friends and drink in the motivation—and spread some yourself in turn!

Another long-term challenge to get you writing is #Nerdlution. Set yourself a resolution-like goal (or several) and work towards it for 50 days. The latest round of #Nerdlution began on December 2nd and ends on January 20th, but it’s not too late to join!

Then there’s the Write Chain Challenge, which emphasises daily writing in the hopes of making it a habit. Set yourself a daily writing goal and, every day you achieve it, you get a link. Pretty soon you’ll be wielding a fully-fledged Write Chain.

Okay, I’m feeling more optimistic now. Anymore advice?

Keep writing. Just because the caffeine-fuelled rush of NaNoWriMo is over doesn’t mean that work on your story has to end with it. You achieved something incredible during November. Don’t let that momentum die away. Take advantage of it, join another writing challenge to keep yourself accountable, carry on the word sprinting if that first draft isn’t finished or use the editing resources to whip that messy WIP into shape if it is.

Go out there and finish that novel.

~

What’s your plan for writing now that NaNoWriMo is over? Do you know of any other writing challenges that are good motivators? Tell us in the comments below or email us at thesprintshack@gmail.com! We’d love to hear your thoughts on life after NaNoWriMo.

Also, if you’d like us to keep you accountable, email us and let us know your goals, on a weekly or monthly basis. We’ll send a check-in email each week to see how you’re doing!

A (Writing) Lesson Learned: The Woes of a Lost #NaNoWager

So, I’d like to start this off with, yes, I did win NaNoWriMo. Don’t let the title of this post fool you. However, I DID make a #NaNoWager with Taylor and Faye—and that wager entailed that the one of us who didn’t win NaNo, OR got the lowest word count (if we all won or more than one of us didn’t), would share some embarrassing writing stories with you lovely readers.

Judging by the fact that my NaNoWriMo chart looks like a staircase with all its long plateaus of wordless days, it’s no shock that I came in last, especially since Taylor and Faye are word count machines. Still, although I now have to share this very embarrassing story (which, I’ll admit, I’ve had planned out since day one), I’m pretty proud of my success this year.

Anyway, I guess I have to get on with this. No more procrastinating. And I’m even going to round this out with a writing moral at the end, so try to stick through the cringe-worthy awkwardness.

I used to write fanfiction.

No, not the cool kind. Not like, Harry Potter/Resident Evil crossovers where Voldemort is actually a zombie (does that exist? Please tell me that exists). I’m talking about EMBARRASSING fanfiction, aka Choose Your Own Adventure anime fanfics when I was a tween and guy on guy fanfiction regarding my favorite band when I was a teenager. Yeah, I didn’t have many friends in those periods of my life.

I truly, genuinely wish I had a snippet of my first anime fanfiction to share with you. It was horribly written, even for a twelve year-old, in second person. I do remember one line in particular, pretty much verbatim:

I mean, Hiei was the hottest guy in your math class. And now you had a date with him!

Are you shunning me yet?

Because I’m pretty sure not a word of it is PG, I’m not going to post a snippet of my My Chemical Romance fanfic (yup) from when I was an awkward, fangirlish teenager. But let your imagination run wild. And if you REALLY want to get an idea of what some of my old original writing looked like, here’s a hint—do enough clicking around on my Twitter/blog/etc. and you may just stumble upon some. Any links that could possibly lead to the MCR fanfic (which, yes, is still on Fanfiction.net) have since been scrubbed clean from my profiles.

However, as much as I’m seriously fighting off the urge to delete this whole post in shame right now, I’m grateful for one thing: that all the support I received from my equally fangirlish peers on Fanfiction.net and Fictionpress.com gave me the motivation to keep writing. And it’s those types of communities that eventually led me to NaNoWriMo, and then Twitter, and then, eventually, the creation of Sprint Shack! And all the support in these communities has all but shaped me as a writer these past few months.

So I’ve learned a lesson from all the bad writing, and that’s that the most cliché of all writing rules is, indeed, true: practice makes perfect. I consider myself a decent writer these days, and if I listened to my own doubts—or the few flames that I did get—I wouldn’t be here now.

And that’s the lesson that NaNoWriMo reinforces in me every year. If at first you don’t succeed, flip your inner editor off and continue on anyway.

What about you? What’s some of your most embarrassing writing? Don’t leave me out on my own, here!