Julie Duffy

  • Starting can be the hardest part of writing a story, so this week I’m giving you an opening line, to break through that block.

    I’ve written before about opening lines and how important they are to a story, so […]

  • Good for you! Looking forward to following along, month by month!

  • Love it!! 💕 Haha!

  • Happy New Year! If you haven’t quite settled into your new routine (or your old routine) yet, and want to get creative, this is the episode for you. Also, I’m inviting feedback on the questions of  -What you do […]

    • I make dates with myself on my wall planner. Pink hearts and everything. That way, my subconscious can get to work, and the whole family can see I’ve that time picked out. I don’t have a desk, so they’ve had to learn that me sitting in my bed, the couch, on the floor, with computer, or pen and paper, or simply staring into space, is ‘disturb only if you wish pain’ time.

    • I have also set up a fortnightly ‘Backside Glue’ writing group to meet at local library. Bum on seat, minimal chat, get stuck in to your project. After 2 hours, option of lunch. We’ve just had the first one, and I finished a short story that’s been lurking around for a couple of weeks.

  • Translation’s a fascinating challenge.

    Good luck with your new project, too!

  • Sometimes lowering the stakes for a story can be the best way to make your writing go well.

    So let’s play. Let’s be silly. Let’s write a story that can’t possibly be a masterpiece and just, instead, have some […]

  • Ah, congrats on retirement…and commiserations, too 😉 Now you’re your own boss and that takes some getting used to.

    I STRONGLY suggest giving yourself a schedule and some monthly goals (small, achievable ones that won’t stress you out, and that you can gain satisfaction from exceeding). It doesn’t have to be ‘write every day’ or ‘write x words…[Read more]

  • Happy New Year!

    Here’s your first writing prompt of the year.
    The Prompt
    Use the title The Cruelest Month and set your timer for 30 minutes. Write a story with a beginning, middle and an end
    Tips […]

  • Thanks for your thoughts and feedback!

    I’ll be interested to hear how you go about revising those novels. That’s a new-ish challenge for me, and I’m always on the lookout for how other people approach it.

    Also, 3K words a day? Holy moley! Good for you!

  • I definitely find taking breaks pays dividends…as long as you recommit to the writing afterwards! 😉
    I love the goal of pleasing yourself, in your writing.
    Happy new year!

  • Keeps the focus on writing…good stuff! Happy new year!

  • Good for you! Can you make a more measurable commitment? It doesn’t have to be impressive, just something you can measure.

    You might want to check out the newsletter I just sent for some worksheets to help with that.

    Also, this is going to sound weird but I cleaned up my eating habits this year (more veg, no sugar) and it helped tremendously w…[Read more]

  • “Without overthinking” ha! Isn’t that just the problem. We are writers because we are thinkers, but it can hold us back too. I love your motivation for taking this course. Sounds like a winner.

    Happy New Year to you!

  • Happy New Year!!!
    I love a fresh start, don’t you? (I know, it’s completely arbitrary, but hey.)

    Here’s what I committed to last month:
    * Research write and submit article under contract (by Dec 18) — DONE and handed in a day before the deadline (WUT?!)
    * Podcast & blog weekly – NOT DONE. I did a lot of thinking about the future of…[Read more]

  • Every month we gather here to discuss what we’ve achieved and commit to making more progress in our creative lives in the coming month. We call it our   Serious Writer’s Accountability Group or SWAGr, for short! […]

    • Hello, all,

      Happy New Year!

      So, my plan for December was to finish the two unfinished stories I had from November and then go back to my novel. I did work on both the stories (and had a bit of an epiphany on the conclusion of one), but decided to focus more on the novel and I did get a good amount done (both editing and working out some plot and character issues I was having).

      For January, it is more novel. I have signed up for a “Finish Your Novel” online class (https://www.loft.org/shop/product_detail/2/classes/1217/finish_your_novel/) that starts next week. I have done a short, in-person workshop with the instructor before and she was great. I’m hoping this will help me work out a straightforward plan for getting the novel finished without overthinking, while I continue with my editing.

      • “Without overthinking” ha! Isn’t that just the problem. We are writers because we are thinkers, but it can hold us back too. I love your motivation for taking this course. Sounds like a winner.

        Happy New Year to you!

    • Happy New Year!!!
      I love a fresh start, don’t you? (I know, it’s completely arbitrary, but hey.)

      Here’s what I committed to last month:
      * Research write and submit article under contract (by Dec 18) — DONE and handed in a day before the deadline (WUT?!)
      * Podcast & blog weekly – NOT DONE. I did a lot of thinking about the future of StoryADay though.
      * Write 16000 words on — and finish— the novel (this is a stretch goal, but it could happen — NOT DONE, but I did write 7372 words, and make significant progress, so there’s that.

      In January I will
      * FINISH the first draft of the novel
      * Dedicate 2 weeks to revising the previous novel
      * Write a short story
      * Create writing prompts every Wednesday
      * Podcast at least twice.
      * Read 30 mins a day
      * Play piano every day

      I know some of those don’t seem like writing commitments, but they kind of are. Doing a creative activity that is NOT related to writing is so refreshing. I have other things on my list (including meditation) that I’m trying to incorporate too. Seems like I don’t have time, but also seems to expand the time I have available, if I remember to do it.

      GOALS FOR 2018
      I’m also going to throw in my goals for 2018, here.

      I’m making a personal shift to focus on fiction. That’s going to have some ramifications for StoryADay, but don’t worry, the May challenge, at least, will still be happening. But I’m letting go of any ambitions to morph StoryADay into a massive empire.

      So my theme for the year is “Go Pro”, but that is more about my attitude to my writing than any focus on cash flow.

      I’m not quite sure how that shakes out for StoryADay and I’d be grateful to hear your thoughts on what you like about this place, what you’d miss, what you crave, etc. Because this places started out (briefly, back in March of 2010) about my need to (shame myself to) write more, but within days became about a community of writers giving themselves permission to be creative, to challenge themselves and spur each other on.

      • Your goals are so inspiring! And yes, definitely need some non-writing creative things to help fight writing burnout.

        I really like StoryADay as a community. I know the monthly check ins keep me motivated, and of course I love the May (and September) challenges. If you want to pare down some of the activity on your end, maybe some prompts for the month, instead of weekly, or just a couple of monthly posts to keep this from eating up too much of your time.

    • I took all of December off from writing (except when I felt like it, obvi) and that was a great stress reliever. The break really rejuvenated me and made it easier to get back to writing today.

      January: I just finished two fics I needed done by the 10th, so that’s out of the way. Now I have one 10,000 word fic to get done by the end of the month, but I’m back to my 750 a day goal, so I know I’ll get that done in no time.

      My main goal this year is to write and write whatever I want without worry, and I’m feeling pretty confident I can get this done.

      • I definitely find taking breaks pays dividends…as long as you recommit to the writing afterwards! 😉
        I love the goal of pleasing yourself, in your writing.
        Happy new year!

    • My resolution for the year is to be more productive. That translates to writing as in I want to write more. I have been very unmotivated lately, not just in writing. I think it’s winter. I’m going to overcome it and so I plan to write more. I’ve been slacking on the writing, so right now, anything counts.

      • Good for you! Can you make a more measurable commitment? It doesn’t have to be impressive, just something you can measure.

        You might want to check out the newsletter I just sent for some worksheets to help with that.

        Also, this is going to sound weird but I cleaned up my eating habits this year (more veg, no sugar) and it helped tremendously with unfogging my brain. Let me know if you want to know the resources I used to help with that.

    • Keeps the focus on writing…good stuff! Happy new year!

    • Thanks for your thoughts and feedback!

      I’ll be interested to hear how you go about revising those novels. That’s a new-ish challenge for me, and I’m always on the lookout for how other people approach it.

      Also, 3K words a day? Holy moley! Good for you!

    • My writing hasn’t been a priority lately, and this is the year that changes. My goals include:
      *completing 85k challenge
      *finishing rewrite/edit on first book in trilogy (creating a language had me stuck)

      I enjoy the May writing challenge, though the September one kicks my tail every time (beginning of new academic year). I also agree that maybe cutting down on the number of prompts to monthly vs weekly may benefit your own writing progress.

    • Like a couple of other people who have commented on this thread, I write during the September challenge, but do not come close to my goal. It’s also the start of the new academic year for me, as opposed to the end of one, which is the case during the May challenge. I would be fine with monthly writing prompts, or perhaps you would find it easier to continue with the weekly prompts if the September challenge went away. Please keep going with the May challenge.

      I replied to your email on the changes to the site. I’ll summarize my email since other regulars on this forum are posting feedback here. The gist of what I wrote was this: I file away the writing prompts and I post on the SWAGR forum each month. The other features on the website I don’t get much time to peruse.

    • I’m a recently-retired college professor trying to make the shift from academic writing to something not requiring citations. There are two challenges to this plan: an unfinished academic project that keeps trying to morph into something else, and my schedule, or lack thereof. After a lifetime of being connected to the school year, being retired feels less like freedom than freefall.

      So my goals for January:

      Find a balance between a schedule and spontaneity.
      Reassess the academic project and develop a plan for completion
      Complete a multimedia work, “2017 in Review”, which traces my life as recorded in tweets, Facebook posts, photos, and paper journaling. It’s a sort of scrapbook I am using to learn some new tech skills.

      • Ah, congrats on retirement…and commiserations, too 😉 Now you’re your own boss and that takes some getting used to.

        I STRONGLY suggest giving yourself a schedule and some monthly goals (small, achievable ones that won’t stress you out, and that you can gain satisfaction from exceeding). It doesn’t have to be ‘write every day’ or ‘write x words every day’, but committing to doing something to further your writing x days a week, and following through, will do wonders for your mental health around writing.

        I also (as a non-morning person, I can’t believe I’m saying this) am a big fan of experimenting with hitting the writing desk first thing, before you tidy up or do any of the other things that you feel like you ought to do before you’ve ‘earned’ your creative time. Nope! Do your creative work first, and the rest of your day goes SO much better. Or find whatever part of the day works best for you, and do your work then. Never apologize.

        Here are my goal-setting and planning worksheets, in case that helps. Also, don’t forget to check in to the SWAGr post every month and make your commitments. We’ll hold them for you!

    • Good for you, Ingrid!

    • Translation’s a fascinating challenge.

      Good luck with your new project, too!

    • I resolved to write for at least 30 minutes a day during 2018. So far, so good. I have written seven stories as of today, January 13.

      I am also happy to report that between May 1 and September 30, 2017 I wrote 113 stories based on Julie’s 2017, 2016, and 2015 May prompts and the September 2017 prompts. Four of those stories have been accepted for publication. Thank you, Julie!

    • Good for you! Looking forward to following along, month by month!

  • When I started StoryADay May back in 2010, some of 100 or so people who took part really stuck with me. One was Gabriela Pereira, who had just finished up an MFA and was transitioning from student to working […]

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