NaNoWriMo Part 3: A Mini Version

I am happy to host my writing colleague and friend, JM Reinbold, who every November offers an alternative to the 50K word challenge of NaNoWriMo: MiniWriMo.

MiniWriMo is an on-line writing challenge—participate through the Facebook group—sponsored by the Written Remains Writers Guild. Today, Joanne answers 5 questions about MiniWriMo for writers who want to set a steady but less stringent goal for turkey month.

Jm-No-Snake-cropFirst, an introduction:

JM Reinbold is the author of the DCI Rylan Crowe English Village mystery series. She is also a poet, editor, and the Director of the Written Remains Writers Guild. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware. Her fiction, essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, and on blogs and websites, as well as being nominated and selected for awards, grants, and literary fellowships.

Now, the questions:

Q: What is MiniWriMo?

A: MiniWriMo (Mini Writing Month) is an alternative to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Q: What are the daily expectations?

A: MiniWriMo is a 250 words a day for 30 days challenge.

Q: Why did you start MiniWriMo?

A: I started MiniWriMo for a number of reasons. One is, a few years ago, I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote a novel in 30 days. It was exciting, but mostly it was grueling. Another reason is, I wanted to develop a “write every day habit.” Most days, I can’t write 1,666 words a day, but I can write 250 words a day and often I write quite a few more and better words because I feel less stress when I sit down at my writing desk. Finally, MiniWriMo is a challenge anyone can participate in and achieve without rearranging their life or increasing their stress.

Q: How would a new participant prep for November and MiniWriMo?

A: Prepping for MiniWriMo is similar to prepping for NaNoWriMo or any other long-term writing challenge. A participant chooses their project: writing a short story, writing chapters of a novel, essays, blog posts, or other writing. They could also choose to edit / revise an already completed project. They sketch out a plan, in whatever form works best for them—an outline, story notes—or they can “pants” it, if they prefer. They make sure they have everything they need to do the work: a writing space or place to go to write, the necessary equipment and resources. They also try to anticipate activities or events during November that might cause them to miss their writing time, such as holidays, business travel, etc. and find work-arounds.

This year, we’re trying something new. Along with the writing challenge, we’re creating do-it-yourself mini writing retreats. Writers will design mini-retreats, most likely one for each week of the challenge. During these mini retreats, a participant might write, but s/he might also choose to do something other than writing that enriches his/her writing life – perhaps studying a particular aspect of writing craft or another subject for which s/he hasn’t been able to find the time, or visit with a writer friend to catch up, or think deeply about a story project, or take a walk or go dancing, or read a favorite author.

Q: What happens of December 1st, when MiniWriMo is over?

A: We celebrate our success! And for some of us, we keep on going, writing something every day, moving ahead to our next goal as authors.

For those who wish to continue with daily writing / editing, we have a Facebook group for that, too—250 Words Plus for Writers.

missingFor more about JM Reinbold, visit her website and check out “Missing,” the first in her English Village mystery series.



To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

write-here-every-dayNovember 1 is four weeks away. If you’re a writer, you know what that means: the clock is ticking toward NaNoWriMo. Continue reading “To NaNo or Not to NaNo?”

A Submission a Day x 40

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgI am writing this on Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, the day in my childhood that meant spending all day wearing a princess costume and scrapping like a prize fighter for cheap throws at a parade.

Good times, those were.

The next day began Lent, the 40 days of reflection and sacrifice that, for me as a child, meant no chocolate until the Easter Bunny came. After six weeks of deprivation, I was so desperate for a hit, I chomped the ears off an innocent rabbit while it was still warm from my Easter basket.

I’ve moved away from places that have carnival though I still wear three strings of beads (purple, green, gold) on Mardi Gras day. And while I no longer observe Lent in the traditional give-up-something way, old habits are hard to break. I still do some kind of reflection, and sometimes I do a project, like 40 Days of Book Praise. That was fun

I’ve decided I’m not crazy about deprivation but I can get behind action. So, for the next 40 days, I am going to act on an area of my writing life I have neglected: submitting.

My vow for the next 40 days is to submit one piece of writing, or send a query, or fill out a writing-related app, per day. I have a backlog of pieces waiting for a home, and I need to supercharge my efforts so my little writing orphans can make it out into the world.

One submissiony thing a day. For 40 days. I’ll be so busy submitting, I won’t even worry about the chances of rejection.

What is your take? Is sacrifice or action your kind of thing? Or a combination?  And who wants to join me in doing 1 writing thing – your choice – per day, for the next 40 days?




Guest post at The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

RamonaGravitarToday I have the pleasure of guest blogging for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This IWSG’s purpose is to encourage writers to discuss their fears and triumphs, challenges and accomplishments. It’s run by working writers and the group welcomes new and experienced writers:

“Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!”

My post is called The Sprint Method of Writing. It offers advice on how to establish a daily writing routine as well as how to use a journal to help with daily writing tasks.

A Write Every Day Q&A

RamonaGravitarThis past weekend I offered a workshop on How to Find and Use a Writing Hour. I’ve been banging the Writing Hour drum for a while now, with no plans to stop. This is another drum-banging post.

Why do I promote the one hour a day plan so strenuously?

Continue reading “A Write Every Day Q&A”

The Sacred Writing Time Pledge 2014

On New Year’s Day of 2012, I created the Sacred Writing Time Pledge. The Pledge was born in response to a writing group colleague who bemoaned her lack of organization, willpower, family cooperation, and other reasons (aka excuses) that prevented her from being the steady, daily, productive writer she wanted to be.

 Writers write. Writers who get published complete work and submit that work to agents and editors. That’s how it works. The way to write for publication is to commit to it. That means nothing–and no one–stands in the way of your writing goals.

Don’t allow reasons (aka excuses) to gain power over you and undermine your goals. I’d like to invite my writing friends and colleagues to take the Sacred Writing Time Pledge for the first time, or renew from last year.


The Sacred Writing Time Pledge


I ____________ (<-your name) do solemnly swear to devote _________ amount of time each day to Sacred Writing Time. That means no one and nothing disturbs this time, including myself.

I will work at __________ (<-location). When you, the undersigned, see me at this location, you will respect my Sacred Writing Time and not disturb me unless there is blood flowing from multiple places on someone’s body.

Signatures: __________________(<-yours) _________________________(<-your family’s)


Best of luck to all of you in your writing endeavors for 2014!