What Is StoryADay?
A month-long short-story challenge in which writers write (finish) a short story every day In May.
(And sometimes again in September.)
StoryADay.org is the online hub for writers taking part in the challenge: part blog, part writers’ community, all designed to help you write everyday, not “some day”.
- What Are The Rules? | Do I Have To Create A Username Here? | Do I Have To Post My Stories Online? | Do I Have To Write 31 Stories? | Does It Have To Be Fiction? | Do I Have To Finish What I Start? | If I Miss A Day, Have I Failed?
How Do I Sign Up?
Just make the commitment and start writing on the first of the month.
When you sign up you’ll get a bundle of bonuses, and an invitation to join the community next time it opens for new registrations (usually late April and late August).
Story A Day May/Sept
- Write (finish) a story every day for a month (N.B. we do this every May, and sometimes in September too!).
- Stories may be any length (50 words? 5,000?) but they must be stories (they must take us or the characters somewhere).
- Stories may be fiction or non-fiction (but if you’re already blogging in non-fiction or keeping a journal, consider trying fiction)
- You get to decide what “every day” means. If you need to take Sundays off, go for it. You make your own rules, but you are encouraged to set them up early, and stick to them!
- Sign up as part of the community here. Or don’t. But please do get a username and join in the groups and comments.
- You can post your story at your site or here or you can simply post an update in the Victory Dance Group saying that you completed that day’s story.
No, you can participate in Story A Day on your own terms. You just have to sign up, so I can send you (optional) writing prompts, and so you can claim your worksheets and bonuses.
BUT If you want to hang out with the community here, and post messages, then you’ll need a username. If you don’t, just write and be free! You can always come and post comments on the main StoryADay blog post to let us know how you’re getting on, and link to your stories.
Absolutely not. One of the motivations behind StoryADay was to take the emphasis off writing-for-publication and encourage people to pursue quantity, not quality. Too often we get caught up in whether what we are writing is any good, and it gets us stuck. StoryADayMay gives you permission to write quick and dirty prose, to get out a bunch of first drafts.
[NOTE: some publications consider a story ‘published’ even if it has appeared in a different form on a blog. If you think you might want to submit your stories to publications, you may wish to keep them under wraps for now. Password protect your blog entries, post excerpts or summaries, keep silent, whatever you need to do.]
If you’re happy enough with what you’ve written to post it online, go ahead. If the thought of an audience is slowing you down, then by all means keep your stories private. You can polish them up, rewrite them, laugh at them or abandon them just as you please, next month.
You can still use your StoryADay blog/status updates/comments to chart you progress, moan, celebrate, or procrastinate. Up to you.
No. You should decide before you start if your StoryADay rules include weekends, or if you’re going to need Wednesdays off. Me? I’m going to try to write 31 stories, because I think that’s the challenge I need. But I encourage you to make your own rules and then try really hard to stick to them.
A story is a story. If you want to write autobiographical stories, or stories from your grandparents or creative non-fiction, go ahead. If you’re already posting non-fiction pieces on your own blog, or if you write a personal journal, I’d encourage you to break out and try a few fiction pieces this month. Take a story that could be autobiographical and turn it into fiction. Just for fun. Just to try something different. But no, you don’t have to.
Yes. Sorry, this is where I get strict. Yes, you should finish your stories and you should finish a story every day.
I’ve read a lot of interviews with and books by successful writers (I’ve even interviewed a few myself). You would be amazed at how many of them say “Finish what you start”. It is really easy to get bogged down or lose the plot around the midpoint of a story. By forcing yourself to carry on and find the end, you are learning to craft a story. If you don’t finish the story, you’re just writing fragments, not stories. You’re capturing ideas, you’re not crafting a tale.
Finish your stories.
If you miss a day or don’t finish a story, move on. You still have every other day of the month (of your life) which is a new day, on which a new story can be told.
Don’t go back and try to finish yesterday’s story. Leave it. Wash your hands of it. Move on.
As long as you keep writing, you’re not failing.
How Do I Sign Up?
Once you are on the list, you will receive an email telling you when sign-ups open. Follow that link to set up a username. You’ll get an account at StoryADay.org that will allow you to join groups and post in their forums, befriend other people and leave comments on blogs and different areas of the site.
You don’t have to use the StoryADay.org site to write a story a day, of course. Feel free to do your individual challenge at your own site.
I’ve Signed Up, Now What?
If you have a username, and are logged in, the black bar at the top of your browser is really helpful for taking you around the site. In the “My Account” drop-down menu you can view activity around the site, filtered various ways (by friends, by groups, by favorite).
You will also find tabs under the Story A Day banner, that take you to various areas of the site.
Good places to start are “About“, which tells you about the project, “Activity, which shows you what everyone else has been up to. You might also want to check out “Groups” to find like-minded writers, and the “Resources” page, for inspiration and tools.
When the challenge starts, you’ll probably want to go straight to the “Groups” area to hang out with people you’ve met.
You will be able to send private messages to other people, by clicking on their picture and going to their profile.
Everyone should join the Victory Dance group and post there when you finish your story for the day. If you do not have a username, you can post your “Woo-hoo!” in the comments of today’s blog post.
To show off your bold participation in StoryADay, grab a participant badge for your blog (other online home). Post it with pride.
What’s that Status Update Thingy on the community pages?
It’s where you can post a message that will appear on the main Activity page. It’s a way you can tell everyone what you’re thinking, or ask everyone a question. You can link to posts at other sites by simply pasting a URL in there, or you can use HTML ‘a’ tags if you like.
Some People Seem To Have StoryADay.org/username Blogs. Can I Get A Blog?
It was a perk for people who took part in the first three challenges. On hiatus now. May become available again some day.
StoryFest is a chance for us to promote each other’s stories to the wider world by linking to them from Twitter, Facebook, blogs and anywhere else we can post. It takes place over one weekend only, in order to create some urgency, for people to come by and visit now, and not put it off. (The blogs, however, will be on StoryADay forever, as much as ‘forever’ exists)
Social Media Starters
Whether you’re posting in a blog, on Twitter, on Facebook or any of those other sharing sites out there, feel free to take any of these starter suggestions or make up your own. Customize them to link to your stories, other people’s stories or just the front of the storyaday.org site. Go wild!
#StoryFest: a celebration of the short story. This weekend, [DATES]. No admission fee: http://storyaday.org
[customize this next one for the genre and link to a specific story]
Need a little romance/mystery/time-travel/humor/suspense/sci-fi in your life? Try a short story today: [URL] #StoryFest
Short Stories: bit-sized brain food. Fine one that’s to your taste during #StoryFest: http://storyaday.org
Broaden your horizons with a day trip into someone-else’s world. Read a start story during #StoryFest: http://storyaday.org
Travel the world for free: Read a short story set in [insert location]: [link to specific story] #StoryFest
Ever wanted to time travel? Read a short story [link to a story set not in present day] #StoryFest
I had what I hope is a cute idea: how about posting links to your story as if it were a Personals Ad?
For my story “Broken Toys”, about an adulterous husband, I could use:
“Married man seeks discreet female friends for casual fun” Will he get away with it? http://bit.ly/a4qdGs #storyfest #PlotAsPersonalAd
Other stories might read like this:
“Warrior Princess seeks fortune and glory.” Will she find them? http://bit.ly/a8KI3x #storyfest #PlotAsPersonalAd
What could you come up with for your stories?
If you have provided personal details such as your name and email, admins of StoryADay may use them to contact you. They will not be shared with anyone else (unless there is a legal imperative).
Site-wide notices will reach you when you log in to StoryADay.org, and are routed through your StoryADay username and account.
You may unsubscribe from the mailing list (powered by Mailchimp) by clicking on the unsubscribe links at the bottom of every mailing.
If you have subscribed to feeds (such as the Daily Prompt) you will find unsubscribe links in those mailings.
If you wish to password protect your entries on a StoryADay blog for which you have author privileges, the site admins (currently just me) may still be able to access them. It is StoryADay.org policy to access your site only to help you with a technical issue, if requested to do so. I will NOT be poking around on the back end of your site uninvited.
StoryADay.org will never sell, rent or give your personal details to any organization — beyond storing them on a third-party database such as that of the webhost (Bluehost), mailing list company (Mailchimp), and Feedburner (e.g. if you sign up for prompts by email).
If you think this policy is missing something or if you are worried, please contact editor at storyaday dot org.
You retain all rights to your work.
What happens at StoryADay.org, stays at StoryADay.org. Except for the fact that any comments you post on the blog are public. So, there’s that.
If you are a nasty spambot, using your StoryADay username and/or site for anything other than writing-related goodness, your site may be deleted without notice. Sorry. This judgement is made by the admins of StoryADay.
If you are a real person who is concerned that you’re writing something that might get you deleted: you’re not. Any hint of humanity/that you’re using the site properly most of the time, and I’ll contact you before taking any action.
The Last Word
Please, please, please, back up your work. I do attempt to back up the StoryADay site, but you should keep copies of all your work somewhere else. Do not rely on me. (I’m serious about this.)