Stop Sabotaging Your Writing Dreams – March 2016 Newsletter

StoryADay News March 2016

In This Issue

  • News & Notes – The Warm Up Course Is Back + Podcast Intern
  • Featured Articles – Permission To Write
  • Coming This Month – Productivity
  • Inspiration – Reading Room and Writing Prompts
  • SWAGr – Commit to your writing
  • Podcast Engineer Intern

News & Notes

Welcome, all! (Including the 59 people who joined the list last month!)

It’s already March, which means we have something like eight weeks until StoryADay May! I’m shaking up a few things this year, so stayed tuned for next month’s newsletter that’ll tell you what’s new, and how to be first into ‘behind the velvet rope’ community when it opens up again in late April.

In the meantime, let’s spend three of those weeks together, warming up for StoryADay.

I’m running a LIVE version of the StoryADay Warm Up Course again this year, with (new this year) a private Facebook group.

(And yes, if you’ve ever taken the course before or bought the Home Study version, you can join in this time around, for free!)

It all kicks off on April 2, 2016, so watch your inboxes for more news about that.

February’s Theme: Permission To Write

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is getting started…and a lot of that is to do with allowing ourselves to get over our fears and doubts. In these three articles I talked about ways to stop sabotaging your writing dreams and instead, give yourself permission to write.

These articles all have audio embedded, so if you have things to do but can’t bear to stop ‘reading’ click on the “play” button. If you’d like more of these (or if you’d like hem in podcast form — downloaded automatically onto your device of choice) let me know by replying to this email.

How To Be A Successful Writer

In which I use the Pixar movie Wall-E to encourage you to succeed on your own terms…

Want To Write More?

In which I bust all your writing excuses (and give you a little pep talk, too…

Your Right To Write

In which I award you a printable certificate that guarantees you Permission to Write 😉 …

Coming This Month – Productivity

Having dealt with building good writing Habits in January, and given sourceless Permission To Write in February, this month at the blog, I turn my attention to Productivity.

You want to write, you believe you should be writing, maybe you are writing.

Now you need to ramp up that word count, or that story count, and get in some serious writing practice.

Watch the blog for weekly articles on the business of creative productivity.

Inspiration – The Tuesday Reading Room

If you want to write short stories you should be reading short stories. I’ve reviewed a selection of short stories this month, including stories by Richard Matheson and Adam Foulds.

SWAGr

Have you posted your goals for March in our Serious Writers’ Accountability Group yet? Check out this post, and add your pledge in the comments.

Remember, you don’t have to pledge to do anything particularly impressive. It can be “read three short stories this month” if that’s what works for you.

Just remember to come back next month and tell us how you got on.

Accountability, geddit?

Podcast Intern Opportunity

Would you like to get some practice editing, uploading and managing a podcast workflow?

I’ve been recording audio of the blog posts all year, and would love to put out a regular podcast, but the time required to edit and splice and upload and notate is defeating me.

If you’re interested in online business, audio production, or podcasting and would like to learn more about Libsyn, iTunes, metadata and social media marketing, we need to talk.

You will:

  • Take my audio and check it for flubs and mistakes
  • Edit intro and outro loops that I supply, onto each episode.
  • Check volume levels
  • Upload audio to Libsyn (including adding metadata for episodes)
  • Create episode listings (‘show notes’) post of the blog.
  • Have Skype training sessions and consultation with me.

Interested? Email me (julie at storyaday dot org) and let me know!

 

Phew! OK, that was a lot of news. Inspired? Check out these writing prompts before you go. And now,

Keep writing!

Julie

If you want to read more like this, let me send future articles straight to your inbox:

Ready, Set…StoryADay May Is Almost Here!

It’s Almost Here! The 5th Annual StoryADay May starts tomorrow, with a writing prompt from award-winning novelist Neil Gaiman.

In the the last few hours before the challenge lots of people hear about it, lots of people sign up, and lots of people start giggling nervously and thinking “what have I done?”. Here are some reassuring words before we get started:

You can do this.

Nobody dies if you don’t write 31 fabulous stories next month.

(But really, you can do this.)

Now for some practical words on Writing During The Challenge and Planning Ahead (yes, even after May starts, you’ll still have planning to do).

Writing During The Challenge

Here’s some news and some answers to the most frequently asked questions by new recruits (welcome!):

  • Writing Prompts – I provide optional writing prompts every day. You can use them or ignore them, whatever suits your style. If you want to get emails every morning with that day’s writing prompt, make sure you are on this list.
  • Guest Prompts – On days when a celebrity guest provides a writing prompt, you’ll still see a prompt from me, too. You can write to either prompt (or none).
  • Who are the Guest Prompters? Guest writing prompt providers this year include: Neil Gaiman; Heidi Durrow; Therese Walsh; Mary Robinette Kowal; Debbie Ridpath Ohi; Angela Ackerman; Elizabeth S. Craig; Becca Puglisi (and possibly more as I check my inbox. These professional writer types, it turns out, are generous and supportive! We like them! Sadly, there’s no guarantee that any of them will have time to come and hang out and read our stories. They have their own writing to work on!)
  • Where do my stories go? If you want to post them on your own blog or Tumblr or whatever, you can share a link in the community (maybe in The Victory Dance) BEWARE: if you post a story online some people consider that ‘first publication’ and that piece may not be eligible for submission to certain markets or publications, even if you revise it substantially. If you think you’re going to want to use your StoryADay pieces for contests or other publications, you probably shouldn’t post them online. You can, however, post excerpts and invite fellow StoryADay folks to come and comment on them.

Have more questions? Check out the FAQ and resource sections.

Planning For The Month

Here are some tips from a veteran (me!) on how to get through this month of extreme creativity:

  • Pledge to collect Story Sparks every day, wherever you are (Story Sparks are not outlines, but rather things that pique your interest as you go through your day; things that make you go “Oo, I might be able to use that in a story!”)
    Even if you’re using my prompts, most of them are intentionally vague, allowing you to customize them to your own interests. Why not sit down today and write some lists: people who annoy you, things that scare you, places you wish you’d been, things you wish you were brave enough to try; memories that stick with you… Mine these for ideas.
  • Plan ahead — Use the Creative Challenge Workbook to work through where how and what you’re going to write this month. If you’re having trouble making time to write, consider picking up the Time To Write workshop.
    I strongly recommend that you spend some time thinking about what kinds of characters, settings or themes you might look at for the first few days. Having a list of ‘possible things to write about’ makes it much easier to get to work each day, than simply sitting down and waiting for inspiration to strike. Make an appointment with yourself (put it on your calendar!) to sit down each week of the challenge and brainstorm 7-10 Story Sparks that you might use.
  • Watch The New ‘How To’ Videos on how to navigate (and get the most out of) the StoryADay online community. There are some very lovely volunteers hanging out in the community who will help make you feel at home. I’ll be introducing them soon!
  • 2014stadabadge150x69bSpread The Word – The more people who take part, and the more people you tell about StoryADay, the more effective the peer pressure! Take some time today to post this image on your social media network of choice, and tell people you’re taking part in StoryADay. If you know anyone who’s always saying they wished they wrote more, challenge them to join you. Spread the word. Use #StoryADay. (And no, I don’t get rich if you do, it’s just that this is one of those times when the adage “the more the merrier” really does apply!)
  • Set Your Own Rules – you may know right now that you’re only going to be able write six days out of every seven…and that’s fine. Set your own rules now — just make sure they seem on the challenging side of ‘manageable’.
  • Eat well and get as much sleep and exercise as you can. It’s amazing what sleep, exercise and eating-your-veggies can do for the creative brain. (Your grandmother was right!)
  • Do a little warm-up writing today. Check out today’s writing prompt: Fear!

I’m SO glad you’re coming along on this crazy adventure. You’re going to be amazed at how much you write next month and how creatively free you become. Sure there will be bad days, but you’ll be immensely proud of yourself if you just keep turning up. And you will definitely write some stories that we can all be proud of!

Onward!

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!