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!

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A Month Of Writing Prompts – The eBook!

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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.


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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 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




  1. I won’t stop submitting to magazines and online publications. I just needed another outlet too!
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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

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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

 

 

 

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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]

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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.

A Time To Live

I was going to be starting the StoryADay Warm-Up Your Writing Summer Course today, but I’ve decided to postpone it until September.

I’m going to explain why and then I’m going to offer you some free tools, and a chance to help a worthy cause. If you just want the goodies, you can skip ahead.

Why I’m Not Running The Warm Up Writing Course This June

I live in one of those mythical neighbourhoods where everyone knows everyone else and we like each other. We have Easter Egg hunts and a Christmas party and our kids all ride bikes and play in the street together all summer and there is always a parent or five hanging out with them. It’s the kind of neighbourhood where you know that if your kid does something stupid while you’re not looking, one of the other parents will hunker down and gently discuss why ‘we don’t that’ and negotiate a peace treaty between whichever kids need it.

And if anyone needs help, the neighbourhood springs into action.

And we’re springing into action.

Last weekend my next door neighbour’s five year old daughter, Gabriella, was suddenly admitted to the local children’s hospital and diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain cancer.

So we’re babysitting and running errands and making sure life seems as normal as we can for all the kids here at home. We’re raising money and cooking meals and organizing prayer chains and trying to be available for anything our friends might need.

And yes, though all this I could find time to run the course. But I wouldn’t be able to give it my all, and that’s not fair to anyone. So I’m postponing until September, when I will offer the Warm-Up Your Writing Course again, at the summer rate.

And in the meantime, I’m going to spend the summer creating high-quality free content and tools to help my lovely StoryADay friends focus on creativity and productivity and to keep writing every day, not ‘someday’.

An Important Reminder For Writers

But this bump in the road has reminded me of a very important rule for writers:

As important as it is to keep writing, it’s even more important to keep living. Only by grabbing life with both hands and holding on tight through every experience, can we hope to be able to write stories that help, heal, entertain, make readers think, and, in our own small way, change the world for the better.

How You Can Help

Having a sick child gets expensive really quickly, especially when it is something as complicated as brain cancer. So I’m raising money for the family by offering a special discount on my Time To Write Workshop for $17 $10, with 100% of the proceeds going to Gabriella’s family.

The Time To Write Workshop contains three modules to help you figure out why you never seem to find as much time as you’d like for your writing and how to change that. It comes with two bonus worksheets you can print out and use to track and plan your time, and it comes with an mp3 version for auditory learners and interactive mind maps for the more visual among you.

Click here and use the code “forGabby” to get the Time To Write Workshop at a 40% discount AND send $10 to a family in need.

 

If you already have the Time To Write Workshop but still want to help, you can click here to donate directly. Or, if you can afford some prayers, we need them too.

(As a thank you, please help yourself to the PDF of the Idea Generator Resource Sheet — which is part of the Warm-Up Your Writing Course).

More details about the Time To Write Workshop (remember, use the code ‘forGabby’ for your discount).

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