Sick of starting and never finishing writing projects, in April 2010 I announced that I was challenging myself to write a story a day in May.
“Write a story a day. Finish them.” Those were the only rules.
Born of A Hunger To Write
Word spread around the writing blogs and the Twitter hash tag #storyaday was born. Within 3 days about 80 people had signed up to join in, and many more joined throughout the month. At last count (not counting spam bots) the active membership was in the hundreds.
Some people decided to write on weekdays only, some declared they would sketch a story idea every day, some weren’t sure what they could manage anything, but just the idea of committing to this hare-brained scheme with a bunch of other writers had got them so excited they couldn’t resist.
The enthusiasm for the project amazed me. It spoke of a hunger to write, no, a hunger for permission to write that I never dreamed was so widespread.
We gathered our story ideas and fragments and waited for the “off”.
Who Were The Writers?
The writers came from all walks of life and all over the world:
- The youngest participant was a seven-year old home-schooled girl from Texas.
- One of our writers from nearer the other end of life’s journey lives in New Zealand. Every day she had written and posted her story long before the US participants woke up.
- We had participants from the US, Canada, Singapore, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
What Did They Achieve?
While several of the writers did write 31 stories in as many days, many others declared victory on their own terms.
Some were simply thrilled to be writing actual stories again after years of putting it off.
Some were active novelists who found that writing stories every day jumpstarted their creativity and allowed them to try new voices and approaches, freshening up their prose.
Some have already had external success with their Story A Day stories: Matt Zandstra’s Story A Day idea turned into a radio play that was chosen as a runner-up in a contest at the BBC’s Writer’s Room — judged by a working BBC drama writer.
Me? I got to write (almost) every day, finish most of the stories and, in the process remember how to make a short story hang together.
But most of all, I got a huge creative boost from writing, reading and sharing stories with a bunch of other writers who understand the urge to write in a way that ‘normals’ in our lives, no matter how loving, really can. I found friends. I found my tribe.
Please come back to the site between June 11-14, when we’ll be highlighting some of the best stories to come out of this, the first StoryFest.
Then, sign up for the mailing list, so we can send you details about next year’s challenge.
Whether as a writer or a reader, we’d love to have you as part of the family.