Worldsmyths is an online fantasy writing group founded in 2016. First established as a forum, we now make our home on Discord, and serve as a group for speculative fiction writers, with a focus on the fantasy genre. 2021 is our fifth anniversary, and so we decided to present this anthology as a way of showcasing our fantastic community.
See the Submissions and FAQs for more information!
NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Hoo boy. Now here is a lofty goal that has defeated many a writer. 50,000 words in 30 days? That is a LOT! In my last post about writing with depression I talk about starting slow, starting with a sentence a day until you build up to a habit of 1000 words a day. With NaNoWriMo that isn’t possible. You need to hit the ground running with 1667 words a day. So let’s see how we can modify my earlier suggestions into something workable by looking at ‘meal size’, community support, and mental health.
Many Small Meals – 1667 words a day is more than what a lot of professional authors put out, so it is a big ask. That’s a few hours of writing even for fast writers. 1667 words is like a whole Thanksgiving meal. It is a lot of food to shovel into your mouth at once. So if that number sounds intimidating, we need to break out the knife and fork and carve it into smaller, bite sized chunks. If you are already struggling to write, and can’t sit down and slam out 1667 words in a single writer session, break it into bites. 1667 words is 4 smaller sessions of 417 words each. That’s a paragraph or two, depending on your style of writing. You could break that down even further and do a few sentences at a time, 8 sessions of 208 words each. Think small, write often. Do a little, a lot. Before you know it, you’ll have 1667 words.
Binge Eating – Some writers (myself included) find it easier to get the writing done in as small a time period as possible. This is where sprints come in. You write as many words as possible in a defined period of time. Sprint for 10 minutes, 15, 20, and see how many words you can write. There are plenty of places you can find sprints – On the NaNo forums, in writing groups, on Twitter and Instagram. And the best part – You aren’t the only one doing the sprints! You write alongside other people, with some gentle competition. That can help, if that sort of thing motivates you.
The best part about NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is the community support. Strangers cheer you on, you can make new friends at local meet ups, there are those virtual sprints on social media. It’s great! So take advantage of it! Seek out the NaNoWriMo community and join in on the fun.
I personally find it super motivating to not be writing along in the dark. It can make the mountain feel a little less steep when you are part of a group pulling towards the same goal. Here are some places where you can find NaNoWriMo communities.
https://forums.nanowrimo.org/c/regions/81/none NaNoWriMo Local regions. These subsections of the forum are organized by area. A lot of the regions have Discord channels and/or local write-ins (where you meet up and all write together). See if your area has a local support group!
https://www.worldsmyths.com/ /https://discord.gg/bSc64bbnkr Shameless self promo here! We have a Discord server focused on speculative fiction (though other genres are welcome!) with dedicated NaNoWriMo channels. The best part? We are active year-round! The excitement and camaraderie doesn’t end as soon as December arrives, like on the NaNo forums.
https://4thewords.com/ Does gametization get you moving? Then 4theWords might be for you! Write words to defeat monsters and get rewards. Dress your avatar and participate in the huge monthly questline focused on NaNoWriMo. My referral code is ETFCY69776 if you want some rewards!
How do you keep yourself healthy while pursuing a lofty goal? There are a few things to keep in mind.
Food and Water → Words need fuel! Regular meals and hydration will go a long way in keeping your head clear.
Exercise → No, you don’t need to go climb a mountain. My counselor recommends three minutes a day where your heart rate is about 90 bpm. That’s less than a song’s worth of activity. Some sit ups, a few flights of stairs, anything that gets you out of your chair and moving. Follow it up with 5 minutes of mindfulness. Focus on your senses for a few moments, what can you feel, smell, hear? Let your mind stay in the present for just a few minutes to center yourself.
Forgiveness → Some days 1667 words might not happen. Forgive yourself and try again tomorrow. Full stop. Forgive yourself. Life happens, and worry is misuse of the imagination. Don’t get bogged down by missing words and focus on the next day. Eyes forward!
As always, these are things that have helped me. You have to find your own path forward, but I hope this post helped!
Hi. My name is Freya Bell, and I have officially been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I am also a writer and a publisher. In this blog post I will share my strategies for writing while depressed. We will look at setting goals, keeping forward momentum, and strategies.
Picture it. You are climbing a mountain. A steep mountain. It just rained, so the trail is gone, replaced with mud. On your back is a pack filled with cement and hunks of rock. You want to sit down in the mud and wait it out. But you don’t. You keep putting one step in front of the other because at the top of the mountain is something you want. A publishing contract, a finished novel or short story. An inspirational blog post.
You want to reach that peak, so you keep sludging through the mud. But it seems so far away, and some days the mud comes up to your waist and it takes all your energy just to keep standing, let alone to keep moving forward.
This is where goals come in. No, not the big goals at the top of the peak. Smaller goals. Lower that bar for yourself. No, lower. There you go. Set yourself a goal of a single sentence. That’s it. This isn’t your lofty goal, but it is a handhold to pull yourself up a little higher on the mountain. A single sentence, you can do that. A single sentence and you are done for the day. Close your notebook or word processor.
When times are dark, you don’t need to put more pressure on yourself by forcing it. If you are a reward driven person, reward your efforts. Congratulate yourself. You did the thing! Which takes us directly into our next point.
Keep the Momentum Going
Keep writing your sentence a day until it feels less painful. This may take a few days, it may take weeks. Be patient with yourself. Let your feelings guide you. No, not the depression voice telling you to sit down and let the mud flow over you. I’m talking about that frail little voice that congratulates you when you write your one sentence. It is in there and it is worth learning to hear it.
So a few days or a few weeks have passed, and you’ve written your sentences, and it’s starting to feel natural. It’s time to stretch, to reach for a handhold a little further away than a sentence. A paragraph. That’s just a few sentences stitched together. Reach, and do a paragraph a day for a few days or a few weeks until it feels less intimidating.
Do not stretch too far too fast!. This warning comes from personal experience. I’ll have a good day. The depression voices are on mud, the mud only seems as deep as the soles of my shoes, and the sun is shining. I overcommit. I say ‘one paragraph, one schmaragraph, I’m going to write 1000 words a day from now on.’ I bash the words out, I maybe even maintain it for a couple days. But the inevitable happens. I have a bad mental health day. The mud surges up to my knees and I stumble. That handhold of 1000 words might as well be on Mars. I fail to write 1000 words and the depression voices pounce, chanting ‘failure failure failure’. I’m back at square one, and even a sentence feels impossible.
Phew, that got a little personal. But take my experience as a warning. Be gentle with yourself. Go as slow as you need to. You have to walk before you can run. So pace yourself, build up to a higher goal over time (be that a few days or even months). Expand from a sentence to a paragraph to a page to X words a day.
Successes – Celebrate them! Say them out loud, tell a friend! Because they are successes, from a sentence to 1667 words a day (NaNoWriMo is coming up!). Try keeping a record of your successes so you can see how far you’ve come. A checklist, a spreadsheet, a jar full of skittles. However you track is up to you. Remember, you are in control of this process. You are! When the mud is high and the mountain steep it may not feel like you are in control, but you are the only person who can tell your story. So keep at it, one word at a time.
Backsliding – Whether it is from overreaching or from external influences, we all have bad days where reaching for the pen or keyboard feels like your arms are filled with lead. So there’s the secret – There is no such thing as backsliding. The words aren’t going anywhere. You aren’t losing your place on the mountain. You’ve still made progress towards your goal. Depression can’t take your progress away from you.
So what do you do when it feels like you are falling backwards? You accommodate. If you pull a muscle you wouldn’t try and run a marathon. Try a walk around the block instead. If you’ve been writing 1000 words a day, drop down to a page or a paragraph or a sentence. You get to keep the momentum going while allowing the bad day to happen. Because bad days do happen. Don’t let those depression voices pile mud on you.
This is what works for me. It might not work for you, and that’s okay. But give it a try. You might learn something.
The above chart is something I made for myself to remind myself how fast words turn into achieved goals. This is based on a 90k novel, but it illustrates the concept. Try it out. Got a 5k story to write? It will be done in no time at all!
Your goals are achievable. The mountain and the mud slow you down, but they can’t stop you. You CAN reach the peak and achieve what you want if you:
Take it slow
Pay attention to your comfort levels
Are forgiving with yourself.
I would say good luck, but this isn’t about luck. It is about perseverance and goal setting, and you CAN do it.
Myths, Legends, and Dreams! The speculative fiction short story anthology we’ve been working on since FEBRUARY. Featuring 16 short stories from 14 authors, inside the pages you will find fierce dragons, cunning succubi, and dangerous thieves. There’s a story for everyone, from retired superheroes to desperate soldiers.
We had a lot of fun putting this anthology together over the last 9 months. Well, and a lot of tears, and days where we wanted to quit, but mostly fun.
And this is only the first in the series! We will do this whole show and dance again next year, with the theme ‘Moonlight and Darkness’. Daring heists, secret trysts and deadly secrets. This anthology will feature stories that take place under the cover of darkness. What to participate? You can either join our writing Discord server (https://discord.gg/fvPPa6hQDG) or you can wait for the call to submissions to come out in early 2022!
See What the Reviews are Saying!
We did a looooong livestream to celebrate the launch of Myths, Legends, and Dreams! We talk about what got us into writing, what the process of making the anthology was like, and a lot of chatting about writing. We are still live at the time of posting, but if you missed it and want to see more, click the link below!
These prompts are optional. You can choose from any, all, or none of these prompts for this challenge
Prompts Theme: Sleep 1) ‘People are committing surprising acts in their sleep’ or 2) ‘Write about dream assassins who are tasked with fighting nightmares that disturb people’s sleep.’ 3) ‘Darkness and Moonlight’, stories that take place at night, deadly secrets, daring heists, and secret trysts 4) Picture prompt: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/793407659348391970/
Deadline: October 31st by 11:59 PM EST Word count: 7,000 words or fewer How to Submit: Join the Discord server! (link above)
The preorder shop for ordering physical copies of the anthology is now open! The shop will only be open until September 30th, and then after that you’ll only be able to order eBooks. To preorder a physical copy, you can go here https://myths-legends-and-dreams-an-anthology.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders
Good news! Even though our official Indiegogo campaign ended, it turns out we qualify for their InDemand program, which means we can keep using Indiegogo to fund raise even though the main campaign ended! If you missed the campaign but still want to support us, you can go to the campaign page here.
Our beautiful cover was designed by a freelance graphic designer named Kaitlin Klockow of Nite Owl Creative. Her prices were super reasonable, she answered all of our questions, and she did an amazing job! We highly recommend her.
We hit our goal of $750 dollars today! Of course, shipping has to come out of that first, so we don’t take $750 home, but we are getting there! All the support is greatly appreciated, with this money we will be able to pay for professional cover art, interior illustrations, and an advertising campaign for the eBook.
To celebrate we are launching some stretch goals! No one likes getting paid in exposure, so our first goal is to raise an additional $250CAD, which will allow us to pay each author $10CAD. It’s still a token payment, but better than nothing!
We also are introducing a stretch goal of $1750, which would allow us to hire a (cheaper) professional editor. A professional editor starts around $750, so we have to make this goal quite high to make sure we can cover the cost.
Again, thank you so much for the support! If you are unable to financially support this campaign, feel free to share on social media, or tell your friends! Anything helps
Ally, Penguin, Tangwystle, and Sheepy (the business committee) have started reading through the Anthology stories! You will start to see comments coming in, but we ask that you refrain from making edits just yet, to give all four of us the chance to read. We will have some basic comments to you by Tuesday, April 6th, and you will have 10 days to address them (Friday, April 16th). You aren’t required to implement everything we’ve commented, there may be things we don’t understand about your story, so the comments are there to start a dialogue.
Formatting – We didn’t enforce it for the initial submission, but we ask that people go in and format their stories to fit the following requirements. This will make it 1000 times easier for us when we are preparing the manuscript for publishing. *Single spaces *Indented paragraphs *Size 12, Verdana font *ONE space after each sentence.
The Plan – Our plan is to do several rounds of editing to get these stories polished. This first round is focused more on big picture plot stuff (developmental editing) like plot, pacing, character arcs, and satisfying endings.
We invite members of the community to help edit! The link to the folder with the stories is below. Remember to comment both on things that need a second look, and on the parts you like. Once this round of editing is complete in Mid April we will do a second round of editing, making sure the stories are satisfying to read, before moving onto the more mechanical elements of writing, like eliminating Show vs Tell, filtering, and run on sentences (as a non exhaustive list)
Art! We have an artist lined up willing to do some illustrations for us, so we are asking people to go into the doc linked below and indicate which scene they would most like illustrated from their story. This doesn’t guarantee it will be illustrated, but it will help the artist select what he wants to draw.
The Indiegogo Campaign – We are currently at 88% funded (though shipping has to come out of that first, so it’s more like 50%) and we have 12 days left to go until the campaign ends. If you would like to support us, please visit https://igg.me/at/worldsmyths/x/26237864#/
Acceptance into the Anthology Because we hit the number of slots we were aiming for, we are going to accept all the stories that were submitted – with a caveat. We do expect these stories to be as polished as possible, so if an author is unable to address the comments within the 10 days given, we will have to consider removing them from the anthology. We understand that life happens of course, so if you are unable to meet the 10 day editing deadline, please let us know as soon as possible so we can look into accommodations.