• ThumbnailThanks to StoryADay-er Jeffrey T for recommending this resource!

    PostSecret is a site where people confess their secrets online, via postcard. Some are sweet, some are sad and some are downright disturbing. […]

  • Well done, Malcolm!

    I hit my 10,000 word goal for June, despite having started a bit late in the month. July’s been a bit of a bust so far, as far as new words go, though. Looking forward to getting back on track.

  • Well, there’s some accountabliity, right there!

    I should be careful what I say!! 🙂

  • or: Confronting Your Fears Can Be Fun!
    OK, I’m inviting you to write a story a day in May, just like that.

    How’s that making you feel? Feeling some resistance? That’s normal. Feeling a cold rush of terror? Not unusual. But I’ll bet you’re feeling something else too: a little thrill at the idea. (C’mon, you’re a writer. Of course you’re tempted.)
    Sharing your creative efforts is a risk and taking a risk requires bravery.
    And sometimes, taking that risk leads to something completely unexpected.

    Let me tell you a story about what happened when I met Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writer’s Month, an insane creativity challenge I in-no-way-ripped-off when I started StoryADay.
    How I Absolutely Did Not Rip Off NaNoWriMo
    In the late 1990s, when the Web was young, I had a writer friend who was a real sucker for collaborative creative challenges: Illustration Friday, Livejournal memes and, eventually, this crazy new thing called National Novel Writer’s Month.

    It was the first time I had entertained the idea that writing might be anything but a solitary endeavour.

    Over the years, I tried a few of these challenges (100Words.net, NaBloPoMo) and even came close to signing up for NaNoWriMo in 2009. I had read NaNoWriMo founder, Chris Baty’s book “No Plot, No Problem” and loved his ‘creativity for all’ outlook — but by this time I had I had two small kids and my creative life had contracted to the point where I was reduced to drafting critical analyses on Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends (I have a whole thesis on Gordon’s daddy issues, and Percy? Classic victim mentality.)

    So I chickened out. Again.
    What Do You Do When You Hit Rock Bottom?
    The winter dragged on and I sank into a deep slump.

    I was grumpy with everyone all the time. I needed a creative outlet but every time I started anything, even my beloved short stories, I failed to finish.

    You know that feeling when you’re scared to start because you might let yourself down again?

    One memorable day in March 2010 I hit bottom. Driving along a bleak country road in Pennsylvania – the bare tree-limbs reaching out to claw out the last shreds of my creative soul as we sang along to “Cranky, He’s The Dockyard Crane” – I snapped. That’s it, I thought. I have to do something really scary to jolt myself out of this. I’m going to write a story a day for a month. I can do a story a day, right? I’m going to finish each one, and I’m going to tell everyone about it, so they can shame me if I stop writing.

    It was terrifying.

    So I did it.
    See? “Inspired by” NaNoWriMo. Not “Ripped Off From”.
    Fast forward to this January.

    With two years of StADa under my belt I was ready to stretch my wings. My wonderful husband practically pushed me out the door to the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC (If you haven’t been to a conference, I can recommend it: being surrounded by professionals and passionate would-be-professionals has a powerful effect on your motivation and self-respect, never mind what the workshops do for your skills).

    The keynote speaker was to be NaNoWriMo’s own Chris Baty, which was a bit thrilling, but I wasn’t actually going to, you know, meet him or anything. (Not if I could help it, anyway.)

    The first evening was a whirl: so many ideas, so much inspiration, so many notes to take, so much preparation to do for the Agent Pitch Slam (like speed dating, with literary agents). I was up so late preparing my pitch than I hardly slept.
    I Blame Sleep Deprivation For What Happened Next.
    I stumbled into the wrong session. After ten minutes, I ducked out early to look for the right session. As I wandered past the author area, my heart gave a little lurch. There was a tall, bald man sitting behind a stack of Chris Baty’s books. And I’d just made eye contact with him. It couldn’t be, could it?

    The long moment stretched. My internal thermostat went crazy. I think I did that darty-eyed thing small animals do when cornered.

    What would I say? Would he be mad at me? And would he even understand me, now that my tongue had swollen up to three times its normal size and my mouth had turned to sandpaper?

    The next thing I remember, I was standing in front of the great man (really. He’s very tall) handing him a card and confessing my sins.

    He looked at the card.

    He looked at me.

    “Is it free?” He asked, somewhat unexpectedly.

    “Um yes, yes!” I said. “I mean I have some courses and ebooks people can buy if they want, but the challenge? Oh yes, totally free. They don’t even have to sign up at the site. I just think its so important to encourage people to be creative and…”

    I was babbling and breathless.

    “Huh,” he said, looking up at me (he was sitting down). “This is so GREAT!”

    He beamed.

    I beamed.

    We started ranting about creativity and the importance of people giving themselves the permission to write. We raved about community and the other creative challenges on the web (he gave me generous, concerned advice about running a challenge), and we shared typical-writer-insecurities. We talked about the thrill of writing and the joy of having a hand in other people’s growth as writers. We promised to stay in touch. I may have started to refer to him as “m’new-boyfriend-Chris-Baty” (it’s OK, the wonderful husband understands). I walked around on a cloud for the rest of the weekend.

    The last person I saw, as I wheeled my suitcase out into the New York streets, was m’new-boyfriend-Chris-Baty, sitting in the lobby, tapping away on his laptop. He looked up and waved. I had a new ally and it felt wonderful.
    Confront Your Fears And Wonderful Things Can Happen
    Starting StoryADay was scary.

    Walking up to Chris Baty was scary.

    Sitting down to write every day is scary.

    But pushing yourself to do the scary thing is almost never a bad idea. (Unless that scary thing involves heights. Or venemous snakes. Don’t do them.)
    You Can Do This – Today
    I cannot stress strongly enough the value of:

    Making a commitment to your writing,
    Taking a chance on yourself,
    Reaching out to a wider community of writers,
    Being open to support and encouragement from unexpected sources.

    StoryADay May is one way you can do all those things. Sure, the aim is to write a story a day, but I’ve always maintained that you should set your own rules. Some people aimed for 3 stories a week and hit that challenge. Some people aimed for 31 but their lives got complicated and they came out of the month with ‘only’ 12 stories … and were still thrilled.

    But you don’t have to wait for May and you don’t have to travel to New York to confront your fears.

    Write a story today. Post it online, if you dare.


    [UPDATED] See? I didn’t make this up!

  • julied posted a new activity comment 4 years, 12 months ago

    Awesome! Check your ‘notifications’ for a friend request then I’ll add you to the forum!

  • Ha! I wasn’t sure where that was going Marbella! 🙂 Nice!

    Thanks for ‘playing’. Impressed you managed this as well as your regular daily writing. Amazing, isn’t it, how writing begets more writing?

  • Thumbnail
    Thinking about signing up for StoryADay May but scared to take the plunge?


    If you need proof that YOU CAN WRITE, sign up for the StoryADay Warm-Up Writing Course starting this Friday, April 6. But sign […]

  • @ jflorob Thanks for posting. I got a strong sense of Sarah as a real person – and yet she wasn’t so weak as to be annoying. Well done! Scary and true.

  • Trapped:

    It’s dark. Or she’s blind. Oh God, is she blind?

    One hand scrabbles at her face, her other on the floor, pushing her body up from its fetal position. Her breaths come fast and shallow. Heart […]

  • After reading the first few lines of “The Door” by E. B. White [1. found in Fifty Great Short Stories, Milton Crane (Ed.)] my immediate feeling was one of outrage: here I am reading a story by the author of a […]

  • ThumbnailIntro: What Is Pinterest?

    Pinterest is a bookmarking site that lets you save images, rather than text links.
    Find a page (or picture) you like on the web, ‘pin’ it and add one of its images to a visual […]

  • ThumbnailMy nine-year-old son recently volunteered that he hates “I” stories, because you can’t know the main character’s name until someone else says it.

    I found it interesting that he finds this lack of information […]

  • ThumbnailThis week’s story is “Live From The Continuing Explosion”, taken from Perfect Circles, a collection of previously-published short stories by Simon Kewin. (Full disclosure, Simon is a former StoryADay participant […]

  • Thumbnail

    When you write, if it is to be any good at all, you must feel free, free and not anxious.
    -Brenda Ueland “If You Want To Write”

    Some of my best writing, before I started to concentrate on my fiction again, was […]

  • Thanks, Lisa. I had way too much fun writing this.

    And clearly, we could be friends 🙂

  • ThumbnailI came across this delicious map in an online archive, instantly started thinking about story-writing.

    Not only do our stories often start out this way (we can see, maybe as far as Cleveland, but beyond […]

  • ThumbnailWhy? Because your story is part of the sum of what it is to be human.

    Write today.

    Are you ready for StoryADay in May? It’s coming back!!!

  • ThumbnailDon’t even think of telling me you can’t think of anything to write.

    Not with a site like Pinterest at your fingertips.

    What is Pinterest? It’s a virtual scrapbook where people grab and save images from the […]

  • ThumbnailThe Prompt

    It’s January: the time of resolutions and fresh starts.

    Write a story in which your character is starting over, has a fresh start, or resolves to do something differently from now […]

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