Thursday, February 29, 2024


 By Stephanie Bearce

What a great month of nonfiction learning! Do you feel pumped up? Are you ready to write your award-winning book?

Or are you feeling a little lost? Wondering what you should do next?

That’s how I feel after every great learning experience, whether it’s NF Fest, a retreat, or a conference. Now that I’m back at my computer, without the inspiration and encouragement of fellow authors - exactly what am I supposed to do?

Because the “After-Event-Slump” is REAL – (and probably diagnosable by your local critique group…) I’ve come up with a few brain and writing boosters. Try these tricks to get moving on that fantastic new nonfiction project!

1.     Get an accountability partner.

Find a fellow writer who is willing to check in with you at least once a week and make sure you are on track. It’s amazing how productive you get when you must give an accounting to another person. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate meeting or reporting system. Just take ten minutes a week to exchange writing goals and accomplishments with a fellow writer. Accountability builds success.

2.     BIC – Butt in Chair.

Okay – here’s the cold hard truth. Sometimes you need to glue that hinny in the chair and WRITE. It’s a job. Block out your time. Cancel extraneous appointments and start writing that story. If you don’t spend time with your fingers tapping on those computer keys, you won’t have a manuscript to critique or sell. Write the horrible, awful, disgusting first draft and then set it aside. Once you have SOMETHING to work with you can move forward. Revisions are what makes the story shine. But first you must WRITE!!

3.     Dig out old projects.

Use what you’ve learned from NF Fest to revitalize old manuscripts. You’ll be amazed what new ideas pop into your head for how to write that story with a new format. Can you add humor? Turn it into a layered text? Examine the story from a different perspective? Take what you’ve learned and apply it to those old stories, and you may be astonished at the shiny new manuscript you create.

4.     Plug into a writing community.

Part of the joy of NF Fest is learning that there are other writers out there working and struggling just like me. Carry that spirit into your everyday writing life and participate in writing communities.  If you don’t have a critique group – form one! Put out a call on NF FEST FB page to see who would like to form a critique group. Check out your local SCBWI region, and organizations like Storyteller Academy, Manuscript Wishlist, Highlights Foundation, Institute of Writers, Storystorm, and 12x12 challenge.

5.     Plan your next learning event!

Writers need to be learners. While it is a whole very l-o-n-g year until the next NF Fest – there are many other learning opportunities out there. Find a retreat, class, or event that will move you forward in your career and enroll! 

Most important of all – keep telling those true stories. The world needs your voice and perspective.

And keep in touch – let us know how the journey is going! The Nonfiction Ninjas care and we’re here to help.

Happy Writing!

About the Author: 

Stephanie is the award-winning author of 35 books for children. Her newest book, Mary Anning and Paleontology for Kids, will be released by Chicago Review Press in May. You can learn more about Stephanie and the world of writing on the Way-Word Writers Podcast. or follow her X - @Stephanie Bearce,  Insta and FB - @stephaniemowrybearce.




  1. Thanks Stephanie. After StoryStorm and Nonfiction Fest, March can definitely be a slump month. Great ideas!

    1. Rate Your Story has March On with Mentor Texts posts throughout the month. Here is the link for registration. It's free.

  2. Stephanie, I know I need an accountability partner, and I have tried to find a mentor, but have been unsuccessful to date. Any suggestions about how to go about this step? I have a critique group that meets once a month, but that is it. I do write in rhyme and I do write info-fiction, not that I am adverse to writing pure non-fiction.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Colleen,
      You could post to the NFFest Facebook Group and ask if anyone wants an accountability partner. Do you have an SCBWI regional group? That would be another way to connect with a writing buddy. Conferences, retreats and webinars (and many of those are free) will help you connect with other writers. Good luck finding a good match!

    2. We are moving to NC in a couple of months, so I will work with the Raleigh SCBWI group when I get there. I have already contacted a couple of critique groups. And, I will post to the NFFest Facebook Group. I tried that angle with my Caldecoots cohorts, but that did not really lead to any results. Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Robin Brett WechslerFebruary 29, 2024 at 7:58 AM

    Thanks for the boost, Stephanie. And thank you, everyone at NFF and every post writer, for all the advice, suggestions, and tips!

  4. Headed for March on Mento text month to take StoryStorm PLUS NF fest and see what is out there already! Thanks for a terrific month.

  5. Robin,currie1@gmail.comFebruary 29, 2024 at 8:28 AM

    The above is NoT anaymoua - Robin Currie

  6. There's always that initial let-down, but I love the idea of continuing to look for learning events. I have some online classes lined up and I'll be attending the MMW conference in April, to help me keep that momentum going!

  7. Thanks so much for this post! This was my 1st year learning about NonFiction Fest, and I have looked forward to the daily posts this month and have learned so much! I just followed you on Instagram and your podcast! Looking forward to listening!

  8. Thank you all so much for sharing your expertise over the last 29 days. I look forward to NFFest every single year and always walk away with valuable information. Cheers from a grateful learner.

  9. Thank you for the tips post NF Fest.
    I’m off to find an accountability partner! Appreciate all you and the Ninjas have done this month . The speakers and info was amazing, as always!

  10. What excellent advice, Stephanie! The slump is real, but you've given us great ways to keep writing. Thank you!

  11. Thanks, Stephanie! I have a new NF PB that stems from reading this month's posts. I really appreciate the whole NF Fest team and contributors.

  12. Thanks for offering a month of NF wisdom. I need to go back and "study" several posts...I'm way behind so glad they're here. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  13. Thank you for the tips, and for another wonderful NF Fest! I truly appreciate the hard work of all the NF Ninjas and the authors who created the posts for this year. I do miss the calendar you had at the first NF Fest though-I enjoyed that.
    BTW-Will there be a 2nd annual NF Writing Contest?

  14. Thanks for the tips!

  15. Thank you, Nonfiction Ninjas, for helping me to grow as a writer.

    Suzy Leopold