Let’s Stick Together – in the StoryADay Cafe

Something I do with the StoryADay Superstars, is get together once in a while for writing sprints.

During this next couple of weeks, when everyone is isolating physically, I thought it might be helpful to open that up to the whole community. So you’re invited to join us for some writing dates!

When

Continue reading “Let’s Stick Together – in the StoryADay Cafe”

StoryADay+NaNoWriMo Mashup Pt. II

Last year I got together with Marya Brennan, the director of NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers’ program to talk about short stories.

We had so much fun that we decided to do it again this year. This time we took a close look at Flash Fiction. Here’s a replay of the livestream.

If you have any young people in your life, they may want to enter the NaNoWriMo YWP’s Flash Fiction Contest, running now (closing date: May 31)

What I Do When The Writing Stalls

I’ve been stalling on writing this blog post for about two weeks. 

Don’t worry, it’s not bad news or anything. I just couldn’t write it.

You know the feeling, right? You want to work on a project, but every time you sit down, something is wrong. You can’t find your way into the story, or you are seized with a sudden urge to research the perfect lamp for your desk…

My Favorite Productivity Hack

To get this post going, I used one of my favorite, sure-fire tricks:

Continue reading “What I Do When The Writing Stalls”

The Power of Being Vulnerable

Critique Week LogoRecently I was an invited speaker at a reading featuring local authors.

I got some laughs (phew!) and sold some books. It took nerve to do it, but I’m so glad I did.

In the breaks, I talked to other writers whose stories I had enjoyed immensely. And guess what? They knew who I was and told me they’d enjoyed my story. Some of them even asked questions about the status of the novel I’d read from at a similar event five months ago.

Can you imagine how that felt?

These great writers and performers remembered my work?!

Some of these writers have connections with a wider circle of writers in the area, some of whom are pretty big deals in their genres.

And now I have a connection to that wider world.

I want to talk to you today about how you can build and expand on YOUR network of writers

I got my opportunity because of a tiny decision I made about 8 years ago, to turn up at a local writers’ group’s critique night.

That group has been one of the best ways for me to get embedded in the local writing scene, and a wider writing scene. We share tips about conferences, contests, scholarships, events, blogs we’ve liked, podcasts we’ve discovered, basically anything to do with improving our craft. Sometimes we become friends

But Julie, I hear you say, I thought you said it was a critique group.

It is!

There’s a vulnerability and trust in the act of sharing your work, that encourages deep connections to grow.

I know I’m lucky. I live in a densely-populated area with lots of over-educated people, many of whom want to write.

You may not be so lucky.

Except that you are, because we live in the future, and we can do almost anything online that my group does in the physical world.

And this is the bit where I finally get to the point.

This time last year I offered a ten-day online critique group. A dozen writers showed up, critiqued each other’s work and received a full critique of a story (or 3000 words of a longer piece) from me and at least three other members of the group.

And I’m doing it again this year.

Get on the waitlist now

and I’ll send you my Critique Group Primer so you can always have the best experiences no matter where you get your critiques.

Video: Top 3 Tips for A Successful StoryADay September

Be A Superstar?

If you want some extra support including:

  • Daily video explainers of the prompts, and pep talks
  • Transcripts of the videos
  • Audio-only versions
  • A private site just for Superstars, to hang out and comment
  • Weekly video hangouts with me and the other Superstars throughout September

Sign up to become a Superstar now

Don’t want that much support? You can still get all the prompts in your inbox by signing up below:

Write on Wednesday – Quick Story Formula

This is an awesome way to quickly launch (and finish) a new story, any time you have time to write but are short on inspiration. Try it!

 

Use this story formula to to create an interesting character, give them a desire, kick off some intriguing action and plan the kind of resolution you want. Continue reading “Write on Wednesday – Quick Story Formula”

Let’s Talk About Flash Fiction

In which I encourage you to write Flash Fiction and tell you about an upcoming online workshop.

Flash Fiction chat, April 10, 2017

Posted by Story A Day on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The online workshop will happen on April 22, 2017 from 4 PM until late.

There are 10 tickets for full workshop participants (writing exercise, critique and discussion) and 40 reduced-price tickets for audience-only attendees.

Sign up now

How To Set Exciting Writing Goals for Next Year — And Actually Meet Them, This Time!

This time next year, you could be staring at a list of achievements that are directly related to the goals that matter to you…

Listen to the podcast episode that goes along with this post:

The Allure of the Fresh Start

I love the idea of a fresh start, don’t you?

It doesn’t matter when it happens (New Year, the first day of spring, the start of a new academic year), I’m always ready with my list of “this time it’ll be different” resolutions.

  • This time I’ll get my assignments done ahead of time!
  • This time I’ll write every day, even if I don’t feel inspired!
  • This time I’ll floss three times a day!

    And What Happens Next?

    You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?

    I’m excited to follow through on my plans for about three days.

    Then I start to force myself to stick to the new regime.

    Then I start to miss a day here or there…

    …and suddenly it’s June and I’m flipping through my journal and I find that massive, guilt-inducing list of Things I’m Going To Do Differently This Year, and my shoulders slump, and I spend the next three weeks in a slump, wondering why I can’t get anything done.

    Sound familiar?

Continue reading “How To Set Exciting Writing Goals for Next Year — And Actually Meet Them, This Time!”

SWAGr – Monthly Writing Goals & Check In

What People Are Saying About StoryADay May 2014

Welcome to the first meeting of our monthly Serious Writers Accountability Group (Acronym: SWAGr, because every insecure writer needs a little swagger, don’t you think?)

Writing is a lonely business and, as StoryADay May proves year after year, there’s nothing quite like peer pressure for helping you meet your goals.

Every month I encourage you to come here, leave a comment and tell us what your goals are for this month. Then, next month, check in, tell us how you did and what you’re going to do in the following four weeks. (It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Examples of Goals

  • “I’m going to write every morning from 6-7 AM.”
  • “I’ll write 250 words a day, minimum.”
  • “I’ll write 10,000 (fiction) words this month.”
  • “I’ll write one full story and revise another.”
  • “I’ll write four stories and submit one story to a publication.”
  • “I’ll outline that presentation I’ve been putting off working on, and create half of the slides.”
  • “I’ll track my time and see what’s getting in the way of my writing.”
  • “I’ll keep a journal to track my resistance to getting the work done.”

 So, what will you do this month? Leave your comment below:

(Next check-in, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Tell your friends. )

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!

A Month Of Writing Prompts – The eBook!

writingprompts2014coverlarge

A Month Of Writing Prompts 2014


Writing a story a day for a month is a crazy endeavour, but one that hundreds of writers have signed up for every May since 2010. During month of courageous creativity, writers learn how to write every day (not ‘someday’), how to craft a story, how to write in different forms, how to fail and dust themselves off, and write again.
Are you ready to join them?
The StoryADay Month of Writing Prompts book shares the daily writing prompts for StoryADay May 2014: 31 writing prompts, meditations, lessons and pep talks to accompany on your journey to becoming a more prolific, creative and fulfilled writer.
Use these prompts during the StoryADay challenge, or any time you need a creativity boost.


Win A Trip To WANACon 2014

WANACon (run behind the minds behind the We Are Not Alone Tribe for writers) is coming!

The World Wide Writers Conference You Can Attend In Your PJs runs  February 21-22, 2014 and it is going to be great.

I say this, in all modesty, as one of the speakers 🙂 I’ll be speaking with Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA.com on “A Simple System To Rock Your Revisions” that works for novels AND short stories.

You can WIN a FREE pass to the conference here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Publish Your Own Short Story Collection

Around here we’re all about creativity. I don’t talk much about publishing because:
a, there’s plenty of material online about how to publish/get published and
b, Worrying about the publishing part before the writing part seems like putting the cart before the horse.

However, many of you have come along on the StoryADay May creativity binge a few times now and are starting to wonder “What Next?”

I strongly advocate trying many different things to get your work into the hands of readers, from submitting to traditionally-published magazines, publishing online, and yes, even self-publishing.

This summer and autumn I focused on putting together batches of stories that could be packaged together and sold as ebooks. Then I published them myself.

I’ve never felt more inspired, so I wanted to share the steps with you.

Why Write & Publish A Short Story Collection eBook?

  • It imposes deadlines and a finite end to each project
  • It can inspired you to finish and polish your stories
  • Setting my own them and writing my own ‘themed anthology’ helped me focus on what to do every time I scheduled a writing session.
  • Because I was sick of only writing to someone else’s specifications and then spending weeks waiting to hear back to hear that I hadn’t quite hit what they needed [1. I won’t stop submitting to magazines and online publications. I just needed another outlet too!]. I wanted to feel like I was spending more time writing than researching markets.
  • To build an audience of readers, not just other writers (much as I love my online writing buddies, we all need readers!).
  • To build a track record of publications with reviews and feedback.

Was It A Success?

A resounding success.

My experiment is still a bit of a work in progress as I have only released a few things, and my marketing is designed to produce results over the long haul. But I can tell you that I have never been more inspired or productive in my writing life. Just the thought of taking control, seeking feedback from trusted writing friends, polishing and releasing these stories, has filled me with drive and broken through any number of writing blocks in the past few months.

Because my marketing plan isn’t fully in place yet (and relies on more collections being released over the next year), I’m not going to talk about sales figures yet.

Short Story ebook blueprintGet The Blueprint – Free!

I am, however, going to share how I got the books out into the world, created mechanisms for gathering reader feedback and began to share my stories with the world.

If you’re already on the StoryADay mailing list you should have received a copy of the lesson I put together, sharing what I did (check your email).

 

It contains everything from:

  • How (And Why) To Write & Polish a Themed Batch Of Stories
  • My Timeline For Putting Together An eBook
  • Preparing for Publishing (including preparing the text and cover, and what you must include to ensure readers connect with you)
  • Working with Amazon to Create A Kindle Edition (including a walk-through of the publishing process)
  • Working With Smashwords To Create Other eBook Formats (including technical details and tips on how to use Smashwords to increase your book’s reach)
  • What I Did To “Release” The Book (includes how I sought reviews, spread the word and gathered feedback)
  • What Next? (Includes tips for ongoing marketing, and planning the next collection)
  • Your Turn (A pep-talk on the three most important steps you must take if you’re going to try this)
  • Resources (includes links to all the services I use for publication and promotion.

If you’re not on the mailing list you can add yourself now and receive your free copy of my detailed guide to Publishing Your Own Short Story Ebook Collection




Short Story Bootcamp

It’s November and the writing blogs have all turned their attention to the novel. What’s a short story writer to do?

For while we love our novel-writing fellows, we lovers of the short story don’t always want to write novels in November.  Or maybe we’re just not in a novel-place right now. Sometimes we just want to write stories. Sometimes it’s just as hard to sit down and write a short story as it is to sit down and write a novel. And we get grumpy in November, when we’re forgotten about.

Well grump no more.

The StoryADay Warm Up Course is back, but this time it’s personal.

Checklists

Seriously.

I’ve beefed up the course with personal coaching calls and expanded materials, without losing any of the awesome results-driven focus of the original course. This time you get at least one personal call with me as well as a Q&A teleseminar. You also get worksheets to keep track of your progress (and I’ll be asking to see them!)

That’s right, it’s a Bootcamp and I’m your drill sergeant, only friendlier. A friend-sergeant. A drill-friend. Something.

Interested?

The course starts on Monday November 18, 2013. Three weeks later you’ll have:

  • 10 completed stories under your belt,
  • More story ideas than you can use in a month, and a method for generating them forever, so you need never again fear the 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.
  • Coaching that cuts through your excuses and helps you find a way to write every day, not someday.

Add to Cart

$147 $97
(until midnight Sunday, 17, 2013)

need more information?

But wait, there’s more

(Yeah, I said it)

Bonus Coaching Sessions

You can also add on four additional coaching sessions (one for each of the second and third weeks of the course, one at the end to launch you into the next phase of your writing life, and another one a few weeks later to make sure you’re still on track).

During these 45 minute sessions we can tackle:

  • Productivity
  • Creative blocks
  • Time management
  • Story points
  • Your plan for developing your writing career

And I will critique one of your stories each week, to review your progress and help with your writing development.

If you’re really serious about getting your writing life in gear, this kind accountability will make the difference between wishing and doing.

 Add to Cart Just the course? $147 $97

Add to Cart Add on the Bonus Coaching now? $147

View Cart

Announcing the 7DayStory Webinar

In case you missed the last post:Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 12.06.54 AM

As you’ve probably noticed I’ve been working on a little side project called The 7Day Story(write, revise and release a short story in 7 days).

It’s like a graduation gift for people who have been through StoryADay: a little more time to work on a single story; a little more help with the ‘what now?’ after you’re finished your first draft.

I’m working with Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA.com and we recently ran a challenge where we guided people through the process of writing, revision and releasing a story in 7 days. The feedback was phenomenal, so we’re running the challenge again, starting on July 1. You can sign up here.

But this time we’re previewing the whole thing in a free webinar, next Wednesday. Join us, live online, for the webinar, and we’ll take you through our week-long inspiration, drafting, and tiered revision process — a process that you can use over and over again to turn out polished short stories in next-to-no-time. We’ll take questions during the webinar, so do sign up if you have any questions to ask us about the process, or tips for first-timers. We’ll also be making a big announcement during the webinar that I think you’re really going to like (we’re putting the final touches to that right now. Shhhh!).

A little bit about my co-conspirator: Gabriela Pereira (who actually has a fancy, traditional MFA) has made it her mission to show the rest of us how to get all the good parts of a University-based MFA, without the time-wasting and crippling tuition bills. She has loads of enlightening things to say about the revision process, which really complement what I try to do here at StoryADay.org (which is mostly about inspiring you and empowering you to get those first drafts done). I’ve learned a lot from her already and, in The 7DayStory, we’ve put together a set of tools which take you that next mile along the writing road.

Join us for the 7DayStory webinar, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at 1PM (EST, GMT -5).

(If you can’t make it to the webinar, make sure you’re on the mailing list so you hear about our Big Announcement, when it’s ready!)

Take The 7DayStory Challenge Today

The 7DayStory is a new short story writing challenge, from the creators of StoryADay May and the DIY MFA:

  • Write and revise a story over the next seven days
  • Use the hashtag #7DayStory to connect with other working writers.

Why Write A Story in 7 Days?

We believe that it is by writing that we become writers. But it’s not just by writing. It’s also by finishing, revising, releasing our work, and connecting with readers and other writers, that we become writers. So we’re encouraging writers to sharpen their writing skills by writing, revising and releasing short stories in seven days.

  • Finishing your first draft in a day or two, before you lose momentum
  • Revising the story over the next few days in several passes
  • Connecting with other writers to find sources of support and feedback.
  • Releasing the story to trusted readers, or perhaps even publications.
  • Repeating the process often, to learn from your experiences and reinforce the writing habit.

Sign up now to join the #7DayStory challenge and get daily updates to keep you on track through the writing and revision process






 



But That’s Not All

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to stumble through this process alone? What if someone put together a guide for gathering ideas, writing that first draft and working through the somewhat overwhelming process of revising and releasing your story?

Coming Soon: The 7Day Story eBook7DS-Cover-Tangerine-LG

 

Write, Revise, Release, Repeat: Your Blueprint for Short Story Success

by Gabriela Pereira and Julie Duffy.

Join the challenge today!

What are you waiting for? Enter your email below and join the 7DayStory Challenge!






 



Take The 7DayStory Challenge

Just because StoryADay May 2013 is ending soon, don’t think I’m letting you off the hook. You’ve developed some great writing habits this past month and you shouldn’t let those go.

To encourage you to continue with your short story writing, I’ve teamed up with Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA.com and, next week, we’re bringing you:

The 7DayStory Challenge

The 7DayStory

  • Write and revise a story in a week;
  • Check in online to connect with other people taking the #7DayStory challenge.

Why Take Part In The 7DayStory Challenge?

It’s an opportunity to:

  • Challenge yourself
  • Reinforce the good writing habits you developed during StoryADay May (or make up for what you missed out on!)
  • Connect with other writers.

Gabriela will also be sharing some of her DIY MFA revision strategies, which will be a huge help to us around here, sitting on piles of first drafts as we always are at the end of May.

The #7DayStory Challenge starts June 3, 2013. Check back here on Monday for details.

Half Way Through StoryADay May – Check In

We are officially half way through StoryADay May 2013.

Just think, if you write a story today, you’re over half way there!

Some Reminders

It’s Not Too Late | Courses & Books To Help | Prompt Preview Exclusives |

It’s Not Too Late To Start

OK, you meant to start writing at the beginning of May but you didn’t quite get there. Or maybe you started on May 1 and fell off the wagon at the first bump.

It’s not too late. Really, it’s not.

Just start writing today. Forget about the past, don’t worry about the future. Write a story today. Even if that’s all you do, you’ll still be one story ahead of where you are now. That’s one more story you can revise, and submit, or just point to and say “I did that”.

Then, if you want to, come to the site and brag — you can post an “I did it!” on each day’s writing prompt blog post, or you can register for the community and brag in The Victory Dance group.

Trust me, if you write something — anything — today, you will feel sooooo good.

Courses And Workbooks That Can Help

I have workbooks and courses and videos available to help you get over the hump, out of a slump, or whatever else you need (that ends in ‘ump’).

All are available instantly online. Check them out.

The 3-Day Challenge

Warm Up Writing Course (Home Study Version) – Now the I WRITER Course
Time To Write Workshop (included in the I, WRITER Course)
StoryADay.org Guide To Breaking Writers’ Block (Kindle edition, but you can download Kindle software for your computer/phone/tablet if you don’t have the gadget itself)
The Free Creative Challenge Workbook — don’t forget, if you went through this before the challenge started, go back now and look at your notes. Remember why you’re doing this, what it means to you and where you planned to find ideas (and time).

New Feature – Prompt Previews

Every year I provide writing prompts for the challenge. You can find them on the site or subscribe to receive them by email (they go out everyday at midnight in my time zone (GMT -5) for the next day’s writing).

This year I’ve introduced a popular new feature: The Prompt Preview.

If you subscribe to the Prompt By Email mailing list you get a sneak peek at the next week’s upcoming prompts, each Saturday. This seems to be helping people come up with Story Sparks in advance. No more panicking about what today’s story is going to be!

There are still two Saturdays left in this year’s challenge, so sign up now if you haven’t already.

And remember, the prompts are optional. You can use today’s, use another prompt from the past, or write your own story entirely.

I think that’s it for today.  Now excuse me, I have a story to write. Don’t you?

Keep writing,

Julie

How Was Your Writing Year?

Worksheet Alert! I have a new, free worksheet for you! Take a few minutes to look back at what you’ve done this year. Spend a little time patting yourself on the back on this new worksheet for those of us who like lists but aren’t linear thinkers…[read more]

Worksheet Alert! I have a new, free worksheet for you!

We all love the New Year: the retrospectives, the ‘where are they now’s, the ghoul pools, the feeling of starting afresh and of possibilities.

Well, the end of the year is nigh and it’s time to take a look at your writing life. And I have a printable worksheet to help you do just that.

 

Introducing The StoryADay.org “My Writing Year” Quick Planner

It’s a one-page, 8.5″x11″ printable form without any straight lines — perfect for those of us who like lists but aren’t linear.

(If you’re not using a US printer and paper, you’ll need to check the ‘resize to fit page’ box in your printer options, but it should work out OK.)

Take a few minutes to look back at what you’ve done this year. Spend a little time patting yourself on the back as well as taking note of opportunities missed, or where you could do better next year. Capture where you were and how far you’ve come. Scribble down a few plans for next year.

Get your free copy now!

 

If you discover any surprising truths or want to share anything you put down, leave a comment here.

Get a free 17-page creativity workbook when you sign up for more articles like this



Save Our StoryADay!

Sending out an SOS to writers who are struggling with StoryADay this May

sos

Maybe you haven’t started yet. Maybe you’re eight stories in. Maybe you started and then, well, life got in the way and…
But where ever you are, there are still 23 days left in May.
What will you do – in the next 23 days – as your gift to your Writing Self?
Here are 9 Ways To Save (or Support) Your StoryADay May:

1. Reset Your Goals

Only you know what’s going on in your life. If you know (or have discovered) that you simply can’t write a story a day, ask yourself what you could write. Three stories a week? One story, but worked on four days out of the week?
This is your challenge. Make it what you need it to be.

2. Forget The Past

Missed a day (or eight)? Forget it. Forgive it. You have today. Write something today.

3. Forget The Future

31 stories in 31 days sounds like a lot – and it is. What if you’re tired? What if you can’t face the idea of having to do another story tomorrow?
Well, what if the world ends and there is no tomorrow? What if aliens abduct all the writing materials on Earth tonight?
Just write for today.

4. Forget Your Audience

Nothing is more paralysing than thinking about what someone might think of your writing. On a first draft you must shut out all those voices. Don’t worry about the snooty woman in your book club who thinks First Person stories are lazy. Don’t worry that your sister will recognize herself in the portrait of the uptight pain in the posterior you are writing. Write to entertain or amuse yourself, to exorcise your demons, to distract yourself from having that drink or eating that fourth slice of pie. Whatever.
You do not need to share these stories with anyone. Write for yourself.

5. Write Rubbish

Really. You are allowed to write something truly terrible. Because if you allow yourself to write badly, you can laugh at yourself, and laughter is powerful voodoo. And then you can learn what not to do tomorrow.
And, the chances are, somewhere in that steaming midden of middling prose, will be a phrase, a clause, a character, an image — something — that you’re just a little bit proud of and that will make you come back and try again tomorrow.

6. Read & Comment On Someone Else’s Stories

Go to the StoryADay blogs and pick one. Read a story. Leave a comment. Admire the double bravery of your fellow writer who both wrote a story and put it out into the world. Encourage them. Imagine how it might feel to get a little of that love in return. Want it? Write something!

7. Get A Buddy

If you do read and comment on some other StoryADay participants’ stories, you’ll probably find that you’ve just built yourself a personal cheering squad.
It’s a pretty awesome, supportive community over at StoryADay.org. Comment on someone’s story and they’re liable to come looking for yours. Ask them to check in on your progress and they will. Knowing that someone is waiting for your story (or to see your post in the Victory Dance group) can work wonders for your productivity!

8. Use The Prompts

Even if you hate the idea and sit staring at them for ages before anything comes, prompts can be a great way of getting you started on your day’s writing. Even if it’s just to shout, “This is stupid. I’m writing X, instead!”
You can subscribe to the StoryADay Prompts By Email service (this week they’re focusing on ‘character’), or check out these other prompt sites on the Resource Page.

9. Take the StoryADay SOS Course

I’ve run this course in April for the past two years, with good results. It’s a guided writing course with lessons and a dedicated private forum. You write three stories each week, starting with micro-mini stories and building on your successes. If you are really having trouble knuckling down and writing, this might be just the jump-start you need.
I’m going to run the course again starting this Friday, May 11, and it will run through until May 31 as a Save Our StoryADay Rescue course.Click here for more details.
BONUS CONTENT: I’m including in a weekly one-to-one Accountability phone call with me – a 10-15 minute check-in each week to chat about how you’re getting on, and what might be holding you back.

Limited to 20 people so don’t delay!

Get your story publication-ready with the StoryADay Editing & Revision Seminar

TéléphoneI’m excited to announce our very first free, live teleseminar coming up this Friday.

StoryADay May is all about a creative splurge: massive amounts of writing, experimentation and fun. With any luck we all came out with a handful of stories that surprised us: they were really quite good and maybe there were some that we think we could share with readers. But maybe not quite yet.

Is Your Short Story Publication-Ready?

Editing your writing is hard, but it makes all the difference between a first draft and a publishable story.

On Friday, Sept 9, 2011, at 1:30 PM (EST) come and learn about the different levels and stages of editing.

In this teleseminar you’ll learn about:

  • Understanding the different levels of editing and how to use this knowledge to keep from being discouraged,
  • How to figure out what you need right now,
  • Do It Yourself editing,
  • How to effectively get editing help from others.

You’ll also receive an exclusive money-saving offer on my upcoming series of writing seminars aimed specifically at short-story writers.

What It Is

A seminar that you can use your home phone (or cell phone or Skype) to call in to.

I’ll talk for about 20 minutes and take questions at the end. I’ll answer as many as I can. (I’ll mute your phones before I start, so don’t worry about barking dogs or crying babies in the background!)

If you can’t be on the call, live, send your questions to me by email before the call (julie@storyaday.org) and you can download the whole thing after the event (I’ll send out an email to this list with the details, on Friday afternoon).

What It Is Not

There is no fee for this teleseminar (although there may be telephone charges, depending on where you live and what kind of plan you have).

This is a look at how to approach editing and revising your stories. It is NOT a primer on grammar or spelling or where to put your apostrophes. For one thing, I’ve noticed that most of the writers at StoryADay seem to know how to do that stuff – although we all occasionally make slips that must be caught in editing. For another thing, there is a metric ton of information online about how to use grammar. (I suggest you start here.)

How To Join In

Sign up for the StoryADay Creativity Lab to receive all the details including a call-in number and conference code, and more information about that discount on upcoming seminars

If you’ve ever wondered how best to revise your work, join us this Friday, Sept 9 at 1:30 PM (EST) for the StoryADay Creativity Lab Editing & Revision Teleseminar

P.S. Don’t forget, at the end of the call you’ll receive a discount code for 25% off future seminars.

A Time To Live

I was going to be starting the StoryADay Warm-Up Your Writing Summer Course today, but I’ve decided to postpone it until September.

I’m going to explain why and then I’m going to offer you some free tools, and a chance to help a worthy cause. If you just want the goodies, you can skip ahead.

Why I’m Not Running The Warm Up Writing Course This June

I live in one of those mythical neighbourhoods where everyone knows everyone else and we like each other. We have Easter Egg hunts and a Christmas party and our kids all ride bikes and play in the street together all summer and there is always a parent or five hanging out with them. It’s the kind of neighbourhood where you know that if your kid does something stupid while you’re not looking, one of the other parents will hunker down and gently discuss why ‘we don’t that’ and negotiate a peace treaty between whichever kids need it.

And if anyone needs help, the neighbourhood springs into action.

And we’re springing into action.

Last weekend my next door neighbour’s five year old daughter, Gabriella, was suddenly admitted to the local children’s hospital and diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain cancer.

So we’re babysitting and running errands and making sure life seems as normal as we can for all the kids here at home. We’re raising money and cooking meals and organizing prayer chains and trying to be available for anything our friends might need.

And yes, though all this I could find time to run the course. But I wouldn’t be able to give it my all, and that’s not fair to anyone. So I’m postponing until September, when I will offer the Warm-Up Your Writing Course again, at the summer rate.

And in the meantime, I’m going to spend the summer creating high-quality free content and tools to help my lovely StoryADay friends focus on creativity and productivity and to keep writing every day, not ‘someday’.

An Important Reminder For Writers

But this bump in the road has reminded me of a very important rule for writers:

As important as it is to keep writing, it’s even more important to keep living. Only by grabbing life with both hands and holding on tight through every experience, can we hope to be able to write stories that help, heal, entertain, make readers think, and, in our own small way, change the world for the better.