NaNoWriMo 2014 Kick-Off!

It’s here! NaNoWriMo 2014 has arrived!

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

We know you’re busy plunging into your novels and building the foundation for your word counts, so we’ll keep this short. Here are a few things we’ll be doing here around The Sprint Shack (in addition to writing our own NaNo novels), to help you hit that 50,000th word by the end of the month!

Word Sprints

We’re hosting our normal schedule of word sprints each week in November. You can join in any of these sprints that we host on our Twitter account:

Mondays: Competitive #wordscrim at 14:00 PDT / 17:00 EDT / 22:00 GMT, hosted by Faye.

Tuesdays: #TNightSprints at 18:00 PDT / 21:00 EDT / 02:00 GMT, hosted by Cristina.

Wednesdays: Competitive #wordscrim at 14:00 PDT / 17:00 EDT / 22:00 GMT, hosted by Faye.

Thursdays: #TNightSprints at 18:00 PDT / 21:00 EDT / 02:00 GMT, hosted by Cristina.

Saturdays: #TalesAndTea Party from 08:00-10:00 PDT / 11:00-13:00 EDT / 16:00-18:00 GMT, hosted by Faye.

Sundays: #SundayScribes from 10:00-11:00 PDT / 13:00-14:00 EDT / 18:00-19:00 GMT, hosted by Taylor.

Don’t forget about #WriteClub (hosted by @FriNightWrites) every Friday and #Wordscrim Wednesday (hosted by all of these wordy folk) every–you guessed it–Wednesday! We’ll also keep you updated on other special NaNo sprints going on throughout the month.

Posts

As usual, we’ll be posting here with tips on how to make the most out of this year’s NaNoWriMo and motivation to keep those words flowing! We’d also like to take this time to announce that the wonderful Mazie Bishop will also be contributing to The Sprint Shack this November in order to help us help you on your NaNoWriMo adventure! Say hello in the comments and make her feel welcome!

Mazie-Bishop

Fun

We’ll make sure to provide a bit of entertainment to you all (via #NaNoWagers and other shenanigans)!

Our Novels

Lastly, we want to give you a look at what we’re all working on for NaNo this year!

Taylor Eaton

I’m working on a fantasy novel. That’s right. A FULL LENGTH NOVEL. This is a huge leap from the flash fiction that I typically write. I completed a full novel last NaNo, but couldn’t bring myself to ever re-visit it. And this year I’m trying something different: I’m pantsing it. All the way. No outlines. No plotlines. Nothing has been prepared. I’m excited and extremely apprehensive to get started. 50k, here I come!

Faye Kirwin

This year I’m rebelling and working on two projects over the next 30 days: one is a novel idea I’ve had for a few years now and finally hammered out a plot for, and one is editing (shock, horror!) a past NaNoWriMo novel. As a result, I don’t know if I’ll reach 50k, but I intend to use all the sprints and writathons of NaNoWriMo to help me make headway on two WIPs that should have been finished a loooong time ago. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Cristina Guarino

I guess I’m a combination of Faye and Taylor: I’m being a bit of a rebel by working on my old fantasy novel, rather than a brand new novel. There are still a few ten thousands of words left to FINALLY complete the first draft, and then I can loop back around and do some VERY much-needed rewrites of the first third or so. I don’t know if I’ll get to 50k either, as the rewriting process might take me longer than my typical NaNoWriMo writing, but the fresh writing I’ll be starting with should take up a good deal of my word count goal… especially since I, too, am pantsing the rest!

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What are you working on this NaNo? What would you like to see from us to help make sure your NaNo is the best one yet? Let us know in the comments below. Happy NaNo-ing!

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.

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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!

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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!

Editing While Sprinting (and NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” Initiative!)

editing while sprintingOur main focus here at the Sprint Shack is word counts. We’re all for the quantity side of the quality vs. quantity debate (for first drafts, anyway!) and fully support frantic writing sessions riddled with typos and plot holes while sprinting. However, as writers, we know there comes a time when you have to pause. When you’ve exhausted your creativity, or finished a project, or want to polish what you’ve written thus far. It happens to us, too. And as much as we may want to avoid it, it’s the truth:

Eventually, we all have to edit.

Does that mean you should stop sprinting? Of course not! As we’ve reiterated before, the beauty of word sprinting isn’t limited to the amount of writing you can squeeze into one sitting. It’s about community and motivation, maybe even more so than it is about how many words you can string together in 20 minutes. And since editing is something so bittersweet we cringe at the very word, community and motivation are two things we can desperately use during the process.

When I first started word sprinting, I was confused to see writers editing during the allotted sprinting times, reporting to #WriteClub with meager 49-word counts. I wasn’t sure what the point was in reporting word counts one tenth of everyone else’s, when they could be using the opportunity to explore fresh ideas and return to edit on their own time. Then came Faye’s awesome idea, the #TalesAndTea Party.

If you’re unfamiliar, the #TalesAndTea Party is a sprinting party we host on our Twitter every Saturday from 08:00-10:00 PST/11:00-13:00 EST/16:00-18:00 GMT. We all get together with various attendees on Twitter with tea and snacks and write for 20-minute sprints. And while I try to make it every Saturday, it’s tough to always have some fresh idea to work on at that very time, every week, indefinitely. But I still wanted to make the party when I could—and that’s when editing while sprinting started to make sense.

Sure, sometimes while editing you may produce as little as single-digit word counts (or even negative ones—just don’t include those in #WriteClub or Stats Guy might get mad!). But being with other writers and talking about your projects is enough to push you forward and really focus, two things that can be pretty difficult when it feels like you’re ripping apart your characters and plot from the inside out. Sprinting gives you the opportunity to have fun while editing and take the scariness out of it. Simply sit down, stretch your wrists, and edit with as much focus and determination as you can during those sprints. Then take a breather with the rest of us!

Part of the fun of sprinting is reporting your word count, but those who are editing can still find fun stuff to tweet. If you have a positive word count, even if it’s just ten words, report it! If you’re working on cutting down a bulky manuscript and you want to show off how much you managed to trim down, quote your count in the negatives! If you’re somewhere in the middle—not quite adding or subtracting words but simply polishing them up—you can always use the hashtag #WIPLines to quote your favorite sentence in the section you’re currently working on. Even something as simple as finally getting that pesky paragraph to flow properly is a great achievement and deserves some cheer from your sprinting pals!

This is all especially helpful now that January is coming up. After November, lots of NaNoWriMo participants break from their messy beast of a project and get to work on something else (or, if they’re like me, take a much-deserved and needed break) through the holidays. But come January, it’s time to buckle down and edit that NaNo novel, or so NaNoWriMo’s founders say: in fact, NaNoWriMo.org names January and February the “Now What?” months, in which the founders support the revision and publishing process with pep talks, advice articles, webinars, and even a contract that binds you to revising (or else)! As a part of the new “badges” feature on the site, you’ll also have the opportunity to receive a brand-spanking-new revision badge for your dedication if you succeed.

So whether you’re in the throes of editing your NaNoWriMo novel, working on a new project, or simply trying to rein in a wayward character in one of your other pieces, come sprint with us! We host sprints daily over on our Twitter, and Faye, Taylor and I participate frequently in #WriteClub, #FridayPhrases, and other planned and spontaneous sprints.

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Do you edit while sprinting? Thinking of trying it? Let us know in the comments below!

Guest Post: Megan Whitmer on Writing, Word Sprints and #WriteClub

Writing, Word Sprints and #WriteClub: Megan Whitmer talks the benefits of word sprinting with #WriteClub.I am, without a doubt, the slowest writer you will ever meet–not because I don’t know where my story’s going, not because I don’t have plans for the scenes I want to write, and not even because I can’t find time to write. I’m terribly, insanely slow mainly because I have a really hard time getting into THE ZONE.

It never fails. I sit down at my desk, and suddenly any one of the following thoughts runs through my head:

  • I should clean out my inbox.
  • I don’t have the right playlist.
  • Did I fold the laundry?
  • This desk drawer is full. Let’s clean it out.
  • My bookshelves are a disaster.
  • I’m cold/hungry/hot/thirsty.
  • No but seriously, I should make a new playlist.
  • Wonder what’s going on in the twittersphere today?
  • Mmmm…..Pinterest….

Next thing I know, an hour (at least) has passed and I haven’t written a word. I am, literally, the worst.

Now that I have a book deal and people are actually relying on me to meet deadlines, I can’t afford to work that way anymore. Even without a book deal–none of us are going to get published if we don’t actually FINISH what we’re working on, right?

That’s why I love sprinting. It forces me to focus on writing, and push everything else aside. I created #writeclub completely accidentally, but it’s been one of the best motivators for so many people in terms of getting words on paper. Every Friday night, people all over the world (the UK crew starts around Noon EST and the US West Coast finished up around 2am EST) are sitting at their computers, writing under the #writeclub hashtag. We write for 30 minute stretches with 10 minute breaks between them, reporting word counts after each sprint. It’s motivating to see the numbers everyone puts up every single week, and knowing I get a break every 30 minutes gives me time to, say, check Pinterest or iTunes or whatever other silly thing in the back of my mind.

Writers on twitter love to have company to motivate each other. You can often find them under the #amwriting or #writeclub hashtags, and there are blogs (such as The Writer Diaries) and groups (such as the 5am Writers Club) that host sprints throughout the week.

If you’re struggling to finish your own manuscript, or even just to get started, don’t be afraid to jump in on any one (or all) of the groups you find. If you can’t find one during the time you need it, tweet about it. Ask for help. If you’re looking for company, chances are someone else is too.

Most importantly–don’t give up. Remember, everybody works at their own pace. If you’re sprinting and your word count is less than half of everyone else’s, so what? You’re still getting words down. You’re making progress. Every word counts.

Besides, you will never ever be slower than me. I promise.

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Megan Whitmer

ABOUT MEGAN WHITMER

Megan Whitmer is a writer, word sprinter and the creator of #WriteClub. Follow her at @MeganWhitmer and make sure to join in for #WriteClub tomorrow (and every Friday) on Twitter! Learn more about #WriteClub here.