Let’s Talk About Flash Fiction

In which I encourage you to write Flash Fiction and tell you about an upcoming online workshop.

Flash Fiction chat, April 10, 2017

Posted by Story A Day on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The online workshop will happen on April 22, 2017 from 4 PM until late.

There are 10 tickets for full workshop participants (writing exercise, critique and discussion) and 40 reduced-price tickets for audience-only attendees.

Sign up now

How To Set Exciting Writing Goals for Next Year — And Actually Meet Them, This Time!

This time next year, you could be staring at a list of achievements that are directly related to the goals that matter to you…

StoryADay Writers' Annual Review Bundle graphic
Scroll down to get your worksheets!

The Allure of the Fresh Start

I love the idea of a fresh start, don’t you?

It doesn’t matter when it happens (New Year, the first day of spring, the start of a new academic year), I’m always ready with my list of “this time it’ll be different” resolutions.

  • This time I’ll get my assignments done ahead of time!
  • This time I’ll write every day, even if I don’t feel inspired!
  • This time I’ll floss three times a day!

    And What Happens Next?

    You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?

    I’m excited to follow through on my plans for about three days.

    Then I start to force myself to stick to the new regime.

    Then I start to miss a day here or there…

    …and suddenly it’s June and I’m flipping through my journal and I find that massive, guilt-inducing list of Things I’m Going To Do Differently This Year, and my shoulders slump, and I spend the next three weeks in a slump, wondering why I can’t get anything done.

    Sound familiar?

Continue reading “How To Set Exciting Writing Goals for Next Year — And Actually Meet Them, This Time!”

SWAGr – Monthly Writing Goals & Check In

What People Are Saying About StoryADay May 2014

Welcome to the first meeting of our monthly Serious Writers Accountability Group (Acronym: SWAGr, because every insecure writer needs a little swagger, don’t you think?)

Writing is a lonely business and, as StoryADay May proves year after year, there’s nothing quite like peer pressure for helping you meet your goals.

Every month I encourage you to come here, leave a comment and tell us what your goals are for this month. Then, next month, check in, tell us how you did and what you’re going to do in the following four weeks. (It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Examples of Goals

  • “I’m going to write every morning from 6-7 AM.”
  • “I’ll write 250 words a day, minimum.”
  • “I’ll write 10,000 (fiction) words this month.”
  • “I’ll write one full story and revise another.”
  • “I’ll write four stories and submit one story to a publication.”
  • “I’ll outline that presentation I’ve been putting off working on, and create half of the slides.”
  • “I’ll track my time and see what’s getting in the way of my writing.”
  • “I’ll keep a journal to track my resistance to getting the work done.”

 So, what will you do this month? Leave your comment below:

(Next check-in, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Tell your friends. )

Big News and New Things

I have BIG NEWS.

Celebrity Guest Prompters

Firstly — and I have to put this first because otherwise my head will explode — our first Guest Prompter for the month of May is none other than rock star author NEIL GAIMAN!!!

He’s providing the writing prompt for May 1, so don’t be late! (You can sign up to getPrompts By Email, if you haven’t already).

There are lots of other published authors and writing teachers lined up to share writing prompts during this Fifth Anniversary StoryADay May, so don’t miss out.

A Month Of Prompts…Today!

 New this year, I’m offering you the chance to plan ahead, with the brand new Month Of Writing Prompts ebook for 2014!

The idea of sitting down to write a new story everyday, cold, is pretty terrifying. But it’s less terrifying with a bit of forward planning.

For the past few StoryADay challenges, participants have told me that it’s really useful to be able to peek ahead at the upcoming writing prompts. Last May and September I supplied a week’s worth of prompts at a time to people on thePrompt By Email list.

This time, however, you can get the whole month worth of prompts today. Use them this coming May, or at any time in future.

(If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free reading app for your favorite gadget, here. Also, the ebook will not have the celebrity guest prompts, only the 31 written by yours truly. You’ll have to come to the site for the guest prompts.)

To celebrate the launch of this new ebook, it’s going on sale today at $0.99. The price will  slowly creep back up to its list price of $6.99 by April 30, (this is an Amazon Countdown Deal, if you’re interested in that kind of thing), so get your copy sooner rather than later.

Are You Ready?

Now, before you let your nerves get the better of you, remember that YOU SET THE RULES for yourself. If you think five days a week, or one story a week is what you can manage, that’s fine. Come along for the ride anyway. Take advantage of the community (I’ll open up the site for new registrations on April 25. Mark your calendars!) and tell your friends, because peer pressure is a wonderful thing!

Don’t forget to grab your graphics to let people know you’re taking part and browse the resource section for inspiration.

Need to Warm Up?

If you’ve bought the Warm Up Course Home Study version before, now’s the time to dust off your copy. Or if you’d like your own copy, there is a 10-day accelerated version too, perfect for warming up before May 2014. I’ve opened a new group in the community for anyone who wants to go through the course now. Let me know if you need access and don’t have a username yet (julie@storyaday.org).

Here’s what the course does for you:

  • Start writing in small, manageable chunks that will boost your confidence,
  • Generate 45 Story Sparks that you can turn into short stories,
  • Learn to carve out time for your writing, and break through your fear and block, by writing straight away,

When the course is over you will have:

  • 10 completed stories,
  • More story ideas than you can use during the StoryADay challenge, so you never sit down to a blank page,
  • The confidence to know you can make writing an on-going part of your life,
  • Practice  and discovery of your best working habits.
Get access now

In the mean time, I apologize for the extreme fan-girling at the start of this email (but I’d do it again) and:
Keep writing,
Julie

Julie Duffy
P.S. Remember that all these tools (including the daily prompts) are optional. Access to the site and the community remain free, forever. StoryADay May exists to encourage you to give yourself permission to tell your stories!

A Month Of Writing Prompts – The eBook!

writingprompts2014coverlarge

A Month Of Writing Prompts 2014


Writing a story a day for a month is a crazy endeavour, but one that hundreds of writers have signed up for every May since 2010. During month of courageous creativity, writers learn how to write every day (not ‘someday’), how to craft a story, how to write in different forms, how to fail and dust themselves off, and write again.
Are you ready to join them?
The StoryADay Month of Writing Prompts book shares the daily writing prompts for StoryADay May 2014: 31 writing prompts, meditations, lessons and pep talks to accompany on your journey to becoming a more prolific, creative and fulfilled writer.
Use these prompts during the StoryADay challenge, or any time you need a creativity boost.


Win A Trip To WANACon 2014

WANACon (run behind the minds behind the We Are Not Alone Tribe for writers) is coming!

The World Wide Writers Conference You Can Attend In Your PJs runs  February 21-22, 2014 and it is going to be great.

I say this, in all modesty, as one of the speakers 🙂 I’ll be speaking with Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA.com on “A Simple System To Rock Your Revisions” that works for novels AND short stories.

You can WIN a FREE pass to the conference here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Publish Your Own Short Story Collection

Around here we’re all about creativity. I don’t talk much about publishing because:
a, there’s plenty of material online about how to publish/get published and
b, Worrying about the publishing part before the writing part seems like putting the cart before the horse.

However, many of you have come along on the StoryADay May creativity binge a few times now and are starting to wonder “What Next?”

I strongly advocate trying many different things to get your work into the hands of readers, from submitting to traditionally-published magazines, publishing online, and yes, even self-publishing.

This summer and autumn I focused on putting together batches of stories that could be packaged together and sold as ebooks. Then I published them myself.

I’ve never felt more inspired, so I wanted to share the steps with you.

Why Write & Publish A Short Story Collection eBook?

  • It imposes deadlines and a finite end to each project
  • It can inspired you to finish and polish your stories
  • Setting my own them and writing my own ‘themed anthology’ helped me focus on what to do every time I scheduled a writing session.
  • Because I was sick of only writing to someone else’s specifications and then spending weeks waiting to hear back to hear that I hadn’t quite hit what they needed [1. I won’t stop submitting to magazines and online publications. I just needed another outlet too!]. I wanted to feel like I was spending more time writing than researching markets.
  • To build an audience of readers, not just other writers (much as I love my online writing buddies, we all need readers!).
  • To build a track record of publications with reviews and feedback.

Was It A Success?

A resounding success.

My experiment is still a bit of a work in progress as I have only released a few things, and my marketing is designed to produce results over the long haul. But I can tell you that I have never been more inspired or productive in my writing life. Just the thought of taking control, seeking feedback from trusted writing friends, polishing and releasing these stories, has filled me with drive and broken through any number of writing blocks in the past few months.

Because my marketing plan isn’t fully in place yet (and relies on more collections being released over the next year), I’m not going to talk about sales figures yet.

Short Story ebook blueprintGet The Blueprint – Free!

I am, however, going to share how I got the books out into the world, created mechanisms for gathering reader feedback and began to share my stories with the world.

If you’re already on the StoryADay mailing list you should have received a copy of the lesson I put together, sharing what I did (check your email).

 

It contains everything from:

  • How (And Why) To Write & Polish a Themed Batch Of Stories
  • My Timeline For Putting Together An eBook
  • Preparing for Publishing (including preparing the text and cover, and what you must include to ensure readers connect with you)
  • Working with Amazon to Create A Kindle Edition (including a walk-through of the publishing process)
  • Working With Smashwords To Create Other eBook Formats (including technical details and tips on how to use Smashwords to increase your book’s reach)
  • What I Did To “Release” The Book (includes how I sought reviews, spread the word and gathered feedback)
  • What Next? (Includes tips for ongoing marketing, and planning the next collection)
  • Your Turn (A pep-talk on the three most important steps you must take if you’re going to try this)
  • Resources (includes links to all the services I use for publication and promotion.

If you’re not on the mailing list you can add yourself now and receive your free copy of my detailed guide to Publishing Your Own Short Story Ebook Collection




Short Story Bootcamp

It’s November and the writing blogs have all turned their attention to the novel. What’s a short story writer to do?

For while we love our novel-writing fellows, we lovers of the short story don’t always want to write novels in November.  Or maybe we’re just not in a novel-place right now. Sometimes we just want to write stories. Sometimes it’s just as hard to sit down and write a short story as it is to sit down and write a novel. And we get grumpy in November, when we’re forgotten about.

Well grump no more.

The StoryADay Warm Up Course is back, but this time it’s personal.

Checklists

Seriously.

I’ve beefed up the course with personal coaching calls and expanded materials, without losing any of the awesome results-driven focus of the original course. This time you get at least one personal call with me as well as a Q&A teleseminar. You also get worksheets to keep track of your progress (and I’ll be asking to see them!)

That’s right, it’s a Bootcamp and I’m your drill sergeant, only friendlier. A friend-sergeant. A drill-friend. Something.

Interested?

The course starts on Monday November 18, 2013. Three weeks later you’ll have:

  • 10 completed stories under your belt,
  • More story ideas than you can use in a month, and a method for generating them forever, so you need never again fear the blank page,
  • The confidence to know you can make writing an on-going part of your life,
  • Practice  and discovery of your best working habits.
  • Coaching that cuts through your excuses and helps you find a way to write every day, not someday.

Add to Cart

$147 $97
(until midnight Sunday, 17, 2013)

need more information?

But wait, there’s more

(Yeah, I said it)

Bonus Coaching Sessions

You can also add on four additional coaching sessions (one for each of the second and third weeks of the course, one at the end to launch you into the next phase of your writing life, and another one a few weeks later to make sure you’re still on track).

During these 45 minute sessions we can tackle:

  • Productivity
  • Creative blocks
  • Time management
  • Story points
  • Your plan for developing your writing career

And I will critique one of your stories each week, to review your progress and help with your writing development.

If you’re really serious about getting your writing life in gear, this kind accountability will make the difference between wishing and doing.

 Add to Cart Just the course? $147 $97

Add to Cart Add on the Bonus Coaching now? $147

View Cart

Announcing the 7DayStory Webinar

In case you missed the last post:Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 12.06.54 AM

As you’ve probably noticed I’ve been working on a little side project called The 7Day Story(write, revise and release a short story in 7 days).

It’s like a graduation gift for people who have been through StoryADay: a little more time to work on a single story; a little more help with the ‘what now?’ after you’re finished your first draft.

I’m working with Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA.com and we recently ran a challenge where we guided people through the process of writing, revision and releasing a story in 7 days. The feedback was phenomenal, so we’re running the challenge again, starting on July 1. You can sign up here.

But this time we’re previewing the whole thing in a free webinar, next Wednesday. Join us, live online, for the webinar, and we’ll take you through our week-long inspiration, drafting, and tiered revision process — a process that you can use over and over again to turn out polished short stories in next-to-no-time. We’ll take questions during the webinar, so do sign up if you have any questions to ask us about the process, or tips for first-timers. We’ll also be making a big announcement during the webinar that I think you’re really going to like (we’re putting the final touches to that right now. Shhhh!).

A little bit about my co-conspirator: Gabriela Pereira (who actually has a fancy, traditional MFA) has made it her mission to show the rest of us how to get all the good parts of a University-based MFA, without the time-wasting and crippling tuition bills. She has loads of enlightening things to say about the revision process, which really complement what I try to do here at StoryADay.org (which is mostly about inspiring you and empowering you to get those first drafts done). I’ve learned a lot from her already and, in The 7DayStory, we’ve put together a set of tools which take you that next mile along the writing road.

Join us for the 7DayStory webinar, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at 1PM (EST, GMT -5).

(If you can’t make it to the webinar, make sure you’re on the mailing list so you hear about our Big Announcement, when it’s ready!)

Take The 7DayStory Challenge Today

The 7DayStory is a new short story writing challenge, from the creators of StoryADay May and the DIY MFA:

  • Write and revise a story over the next seven days
  • Use the hashtag #7DayStory to connect with other working writers.

Why Write A Story in 7 Days?

We believe that it is by writing that we become writers. But it’s not just by writing. It’s also by finishing, revising, releasing our work, and connecting with readers and other writers, that we become writers. So we’re encouraging writers to sharpen their writing skills by writing, revising and releasing short stories in seven days.

  • Finishing your first draft in a day or two, before you lose momentum
  • Revising the story over the next few days in several passes
  • Connecting with other writers to find sources of support and feedback.
  • Releasing the story to trusted readers, or perhaps even publications.
  • Repeating the process often, to learn from your experiences and reinforce the writing habit.

Sign up now to join the #7DayStory challenge and get daily updates to keep you on track through the writing and revision process






 



But That’s Not All

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to stumble through this process alone? What if someone put together a guide for gathering ideas, writing that first draft and working through the somewhat overwhelming process of revising and releasing your story?

Coming Soon: The 7Day Story eBook7DS-Cover-Tangerine-LG

 

Write, Revise, Release, Repeat: Your Blueprint for Short Story Success

by Gabriela Pereira and Julie Duffy.

Join the challenge today!

What are you waiting for? Enter your email below and join the 7DayStory Challenge!






 



Take The 7DayStory Challenge

Just because StoryADay May 2013 is ending soon, don’t think I’m letting you off the hook. You’ve developed some great writing habits this past month and you shouldn’t let those go.

To encourage you to continue with your short story writing, I’ve teamed up with Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA.com and, next week, we’re bringing you:

The 7DayStory Challenge

The 7DayStory

  • Write and revise a story in a week;
  • Check in online to connect with other people taking the #7DayStory challenge.

Why Take Part In The 7DayStory Challenge?

It’s an opportunity to:

  • Challenge yourself
  • Reinforce the good writing habits you developed during StoryADay May (or make up for what you missed out on!)
  • Connect with other writers.

Gabriela will also be sharing some of her DIY MFA revision strategies, which will be a huge help to us around here, sitting on piles of first drafts as we always are at the end of May.

The #7DayStory Challenge starts June 3, 2013. Check back here on Monday for details.

Half Way Through StoryADay May – Check In

We are officially half way through StoryADay May 2013.

Just think, if you write a story today, you’re over half way there!

Some Reminders

It’s Not Too Late | Courses & Books To Help | Prompt Preview Exclusives |

It’s Not Too Late To Start

OK, you meant to start writing at the beginning of May but you didn’t quite get there. Or maybe you started on May 1 and fell off the wagon at the first bump.

It’s not too late. Really, it’s not.

Just start writing today. Forget about the past, don’t worry about the future. Write a story today. Even if that’s all you do, you’ll still be one story ahead of where you are now. That’s one more story you can revise, and submit, or just point to and say “I did that”.

Then, if you want to, come to the site and brag — you can post an “I did it!” on each day’s writing prompt blog post, or you can register for the community and brag in The Victory Dance group.

Trust me, if you write something — anything — today, you will feel sooooo good.

Courses And Workbooks That Can Help

I have workbooks and courses and videos available to help you get over the hump, out of a slump, or whatever else you need (that ends in ‘ump’).

All are available instantly online. Check them out.

Warm Up Writing Course (Home Study Version) – Watch the free webinar if you’re not ready to commit to the full course.
Time To Write Workshop (included in the Warm Up Writing Course)
StoryADay.org Guide To Breaking Writers’ Block (Kindle edition, but you can download Kindle software for your computer/phone/tablet if you don’t have the gadget itself)
The Free Creative Challenge Workbook — don’t forget, if you went through this before the challenge started, go back now and look at your notes. Remember why you’re doing this, what it means to you and where you planned to find ideas (and time).

New Feature – Prompt Previews

Every year I provide writing prompts for the challenge. You can find them on the site or subscribe to receive them by email (they go out everyday at midnight in my time zone (GMT -5) for the next day’s writing).

This year I’ve introduced a popular new feature: The Prompt Preview.

If you subscribe to the Prompt By Email mailing list you get a sneak peek at the next week’s upcoming prompts, each Saturday. This seems to be helping people come up with Story Sparks in advance. No more panicking about what today’s story is going to be!

There are still two Saturdays left in this year’s challenge, so sign up now if you haven’t already.

And remember, the prompts are optional. You can use today’s, use another prompt from the past, or write your own story entirely.

 

I think that’s it for today.  Now excuse me, I have a story to write. Don’t you?

Keep writing,

Julie

 

 

 

How Was Your Writing Year?

Worksheet Alert! I have a new, free worksheet for you! Take a few minutes to look back at what you’ve done this year. Spend a little time patting yourself on the back on this new worksheet for those of us who like lists but aren’t linear thinkers…[read more]

Worksheet Alert! I have a new, free worksheet for you!

We all love the New Year: the retrospectives, the ‘where are they now’s, the ghoul pools, the feeling of starting afresh and of possibilities.

Well, the end of the year is nigh and it’s time to take a look at your writing life. And I have a printable worksheet to help you do just that.

 

Introducing The StoryADay.org “My Writing Year” Quick Planner

It’s a one-page, 8.5″x11″ printable form without any straight lines — perfect for those of us who like lists but aren’t linear.

(If you’re not using a US printer and paper, you’ll need to check the ‘resize to fit page’ box in your printer options, but it should work out OK.)

Take a few minutes to look back at what you’ve done this year. Spend a little time patting yourself on the back as well as taking note of opportunities missed, or where you could do better next year. Capture where you were and how far you’ve come. Scribble down a few plans for next year.

Get your free copy now!

 

If you discover any surprising truths or want to share anything you put down, leave a comment here.

Get a free 17-page creativity workbook when you sign up for more articles like this



Save Our StoryADay!

Sending out an SOS to writers who are struggling with StoryADay this May

sos

Maybe you haven’t started yet. Maybe you’re eight stories in. Maybe you started and then, well, life got in the way and…
But where ever you are, there are still 23 days left in May.
What will you do – in the next 23 days – as your gift to your Writing Self?
Here are 9 Ways To Save (or Support) Your StoryADay May:

1. Reset Your Goals

Only you know what’s going on in your life. If you know (or have discovered) that you simply can’t write a story a day, ask yourself what you could write. Three stories a week? One story, but worked on four days out of the week?
This is your challenge. Make it what you need it to be.

2. Forget The Past

Missed a day (or eight)? Forget it. Forgive it. You have today. Write something today.

3. Forget The Future

31 stories in 31 days sounds like a lot – and it is. What if you’re tired? What if you can’t face the idea of having to do another story tomorrow?
Well, what if the world ends and there is no tomorrow? What if aliens abduct all the writing materials on Earth tonight?
Just write for today.

4. Forget Your Audience

Nothing is more paralysing than thinking about what someone might think of your writing. On a first draft you must shut out all those voices. Don’t worry about the snooty woman in your book club who thinks First Person stories are lazy. Don’t worry that your sister will recognize herself in the portrait of the uptight pain in the posterior you are writing. Write to entertain or amuse yourself, to exorcise your demons, to distract yourself from having that drink or eating that fourth slice of pie. Whatever.
You do not need to share these stories with anyone. Write for yourself.

5. Write Rubbish

Really. You are allowed to write something truly terrible. Because if you allow yourself to write badly, you can laugh at yourself, and laughter is powerful voodoo. And then you can learn what not to do tomorrow.
And, the chances are, somewhere in that steaming midden of middling prose, will be a phrase, a clause, a character, an image — something — that you’re just a little bit proud of and that will make you come back and try again tomorrow.

6. Read & Comment On Someone Else’s Stories

Go to the StoryADay blogs and pick one. Read a story. Leave a comment. Admire the double bravery of your fellow writer who both wrote a story and put it out into the world. Encourage them. Imagine how it might feel to get a little of that love in return. Want it? Write something!

7. Get A Buddy

If you do read and comment on some other StoryADay participants’ stories, you’ll probably find that you’ve just built yourself a personal cheering squad.
It’s a pretty awesome, supportive community over at StoryADay.org. Comment on someone’s story and they’re liable to come looking for yours. Ask them to check in on your progress and they will. Knowing that someone is waiting for your story (or to see your post in the Victory Dance group) can work wonders for your productivity!

8. Use The Prompts

Even if you hate the idea and sit staring at them for ages before anything comes, prompts can be a great way of getting you started on your day’s writing. Even if it’s just to shout, “This is stupid. I’m writing X, instead!”
You can subscribe to the StoryADay Prompts By Email service (this week they’re focusing on ‘character’), or check out these other prompt sites on the Resource Page.

9. Take the StoryADay SOS Course

I’ve run this course in April for the past two years, with good results. It’s a guided writing course with lessons and a dedicated private forum. You write three stories each week, starting with micro-mini stories and building on your successes. If you are really having trouble knuckling down and writing, this might be just the jump-start you need.
I’m going to run the course again starting this Friday, May 11, and it will run through until May 31 as a Save Our StoryADay Rescue course.Click here for more details.
BONUS CONTENT: I’m including in a weekly one-to-one Accountability phone call with me – a 10-15 minute check-in each week to chat about how you’re getting on, and what might be holding you back.

Limited to 20 people so don’t delay!