Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guest Post: Rules for #junowrimo sprints by Eden Mabee

Cafe Office
This week, I am very excited to share guest posts all about JuNoWriMo!! First up, is Eden Mabee, sharing a post she previously published on manyworldsmanyminds.wordpress.com. Take it away, Eden!


For some of you, June is the beginning of summer vacations and the end of school days (or for those in the southern hemisphere, the exact reverse).

For me, it’s June Novel Writing Month (JuNoWriMo for short).

Last year I got involved with JuNoWriMo because I needed to get more work done on some old NaNoWriMo manuscripts. The people at NaNoWriMo were running camps for two summer months but acceptance of NaNoRebels hadn’t fully sunk in to the NaNo community then.

Well, those of you who know me know I tend to jump in with both feet when I find something I like. Although it was my first year, I went right in and help host sprints (although I wasn’t that active in the site forums). I had a blast! I even ran the CampNaNoWriMo simultaneously, clocking over 122K words for the month in two manuscripts.

I also learned some things. One of these is how to best handle a sprint, not just for the day or the moment. But how to do writing sprints in general…

See, there are a lot of writing sprints out there, especially on Twitter. I like #wordmongering and the #teamsprinty sprints probably best of all because the communities are so close (the iWriteNetwork on Ning is wonderful too, but it involves adding another layer of process that slows down getting to the actual writing more than I like). Thing is, as much as I love these groups, I think they handle the health of the sprinter badly.

This may be a shock to you, but it’s not healthy to sit in one place and just fill pages with words for hours and hours a day. But it’s not just the days of writing. It’s the hours too. In fact… it’s a half hour and less.
Moment of Heaven

So, may I modestly suggest some rules (call them guidelines) that I wish to see more often used during writing sprints, not just for WriMos but in general. (These do not all involve health issues, obviously.)

  1. Be prepared! Have playlists ready, have the caffeinated (or alcoholic) drink of choice poured and seasoned to taste, have a small snack available (nuts or something with a bit of protein and fiber and fat in it would be ideal–brain power demands fuel too)–this is not an excuse to just nibble. If all is going well, you’ll be writing too much to get that cup to your lips more than once during the sprint. The snack might end up waiting until your break.
  2. Be prepared mentally! It’s not enough to say have all your shit together. You need to have your head in the game too. Have an idea of where your story will head. Know what characters you are going to write about. Have a visual image of the setting and the situation ready to write. Have notes and pictures that you can look at if you need them. Be ready to dive in at the start of the prompt.
  3. When your sprint-host says to write–Write. Don’t check email; don’t stare at your keyboard–write–even if it’s “I don’t know what Sally is doing now”.
  4. If you don’t know what to write (next time–see rule 2), then ask your sprint-host for a prompt. We have them–lots of them. I like to use visual prompts of pictures and videos, but I also use text prompts. When you get your prompt, follow rule 3.
  5. Stop writing when your sprint-host says the sprint is done. Don’t write through to the next sprint. Sprints are usually spaced with a 5 to 10 min break. This break is for your health and comfort. Get up, move, stretch a little…. go to the bathroom, whatever. Do not just sit and type. The ideas will hold that long.
  6. "LIFE" features prominently
  7. Talk to your sprint-host; yes, we are doing our own stories too, but we like to know what we can do to help make things better. We like feedback, encouragement, even banter. Twitter is supposed to be a social network not just another office.

And of course, I don’t have to make this a rule… Have FUN! Writers write because we love words and stories. If we didn’t, there are enough people who do who could do this work for us. We could just read while sitting on the beach drinking Mai Tais (okay, well, maybe not that). Thing is, writing doesn’t pay that much, not even when you start adding in the best sellers (if one adds in all the writing time before the big break and/or the money and time spent in promotion–well, more than a few are just starting to break even now).


Thank you for being here Eden! Connect with her here:


  1. I didn't even know about JuneOWriMo! I'd only heard about camp Nano.mthanks for sharing this!

  2. Great post! JuNoWriMo is so much fun, so glad I stumbled upon them last year - everyone during word sprints is such help in motivating me to write!


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