Making February Flash – A Round Up

Here’s all my best advice on writing flash fiction…

This month has been all about Flash Fiction. It’s a fabulous way to:

  • Tighten up your writing in longer projects
  • Practice writing quick stories, for StoryADay May
  • Rediscover the joy of finishing stories

Here’s everything you might have missed at the blog this month: Continue reading “Making February Flash – A Round Up”

The Best of StoryADay for January 2017

Happy January!

This month’s theme has been ‘Practice’ (as in setting up and maintaining a healthy writing practice).

Here’s what you might have missed:

Podcast

The January 2017 episodes covered:

Stay Excited About Your Writing This Year

Continue reading “The Best of StoryADay for January 2017”

A Thank You, A Favor, And Two Reminders

The Thank You

Thank you so much to all the people who responded to my ‘what does short story writing do for you’ survey last issue.

Not all of the quotes made it into the Writer’s Digest Magazine article (coming March/April 2017), but they all informed it and made it better.

I’ll be making an online extra to go along with the article, which will include quotes from almost everyone I talked to during my research, so stay tuned for that and again, THANK YOU!

The Favor

Secondly, the favor: if you enjoy StoryADay.org and have a moment today, please consider nominating it (and other writing sites you love) for a Writers Digest Magazine 101 Best Websites for Writers listing.

If you’d like to nominate any site, you have to do it today, because the deadline is Dec 1. You can email writersdigest@fwcommunity.com (mailto:writersdigest@fwcommunity.com) and tell the the name of the site, it’s address and (optionally) why you like it.

You could send something like

“Hi, I’d like to nominate StoryADay (storyaday.org) as one of your 101 Best Websites for writers. It has helped me become more creative/ find a community online/ write more than ever.

Thanks!”

My first website for writers, the 21st Century Publishing Update (back in 2002, when the century was young), landed on the list and I’ve been itching to get StoryADay on there too, to spread the word about our fabulous little community.

Reminder 1: The Podcast

Looking Back & Looking Forward

If you haven’t discovered the StoryADay podcast yet, now’s the perfect time.

The current episode is all about Looking Back over your writing year and pulling out some achievements to help power you up for a new year of writing challenges and opportunities.

It includes ways that you can dig out those achievements from your murky memory of a year overshadowed by celebrity deaths and global crises; and shares some reasons for doing the exercise along with my examples of what I thought was worth of note, from my own writing year.

The next episode (in two weeks) will talk about Looking Forward to next year and will offer some concrete strategies on how to stop your writing becoming another casualty on your New Year’s Resolution list (abandoned, lonely and shivering by Jan 15 along with your good intentions for diet and exercise. Oh yes, we’ve all done it!)

To listen to this week’s episode, go here

To subscribe, paste this address into your favorite podcast-listening-software (it might be iTunes or maybe you’re more complicated than that), and have new episodes delivered automatically to your phone/computer/neural implant (it’s coming, don’t you doubt it).

http://storyaday.libsyn.com/rss

Reminder 2

SWAGr Is Coming

On the first of every month, a group of us ‘meet’ in the comments of that month’s Serious Writers’ Accountability Group post (we’re serious, not sombre) and leave commitments to our writing life, and look back over our past month’s progress.

If you aren’t receiving updates about this group, sign up for the mailing list and add yourself to the SWAGr group.

This month I’m encouraging everyone to do a Big Look Back at the entire year, and also to make commitments to your writing for the upcoming month: December. It can get overlooked in all the “Planning For Holidays And Making Resolutions For Next Year” nonsense, so hop on over tomorrow and make sure you set some writing goals for poor, neglected December. They don’t have to be big goals: just enough to keep you moving forwards.

And that’s it. That’s all I’ve got for now.

Except to say that I went to the Writer Unboxed Unconference last month and atteneded some mind-blowing sessions and met some amazing people. I’ll be sharing more of what I learned over the next few months in podcasts and blog posts, so stay tuned.

And…

Keep writing,

Julie

P.S. Remember to keep your energy high and get some rest this month. If you need more tips, check out last month’s podcast about energy for writing

StoryADay May 2016 Is Almost Here!

 

Lots to talk about this month because StoryADay May 2016 is almost here!!!

And if you’re not taking part this year, you should still check out all the great writing resources I’ve added to the site since you last stopped by…and please drop in during the challenge to wish other writers well. We love hearing from alumni!

In This Issue

  • How To Sign Up for StoryADay May 2016
  • The Site Is Open For New Members
  • Celebrity Guests Are Coming!
  • A Month of Writing Prompts 2016 ebook is out
  • Read the StoryADay Essentials Series
  • See The redesigned Home Page

How To Sign Up For StoryADay May 2016

In past years the sign up has been very informal, but that has led to various problems (people not getting their prompts, people getting left out of the community, me not knowing how many folks I’m looking out for…)

This year, if you’re taking part you must sign up here:

STADA16Signup250w

This guarantees that you’ll get:

  • All the (optional) writing prompts mailed to your inbox
  • An invitation to join the online community (in case you’re not already a member)
  • Bonuses! Story Spark logs, A Writing Log, custom StoryADay Coloring Pages (!), the Creative Challenge Workbook and participant badges for your social media profiles.

I hope this will help things run even more smoothly this year. Tell your friends!

http://storyaday.org/signup2016

The StoryADay Online Community is Open

Because of the evil spambot, I only open the community to new registrations a couple of times a year. This is that time.

When you sign up to take part in StoryADay 2016 you’ll receive your invitation to join the community (in your welcome email. Watch your inbox!)

Celebrity Guests Are Coming

Jonathan Maberry, Author picture
Jonathan Maberry
Jerry Jenkins, author picture
Jerry Jenkins

Every year we get some amazing Best-selling and prize-winning authors to stop by and share a writing prompt or two with us.

This year we’re kicking things off with Bram Stoker prize winner and multi-best-seller Jonathan Maberry, and following him up with mega-best-seller Jerry Jenkins. Other guest prompts will be coming your way too, so make sure you’re signed up

A Month of Writing Prompts 2016

A Month of Writing Prompts 2016If you’re the type of person who likes to plan ahead, this is the book for you.

For the past three years I’ve been putting together an ebook of all my writing prompts for StoryADay May. You can browse through the whole thing today or sit down every Sunday night and plan ahead for that week.

This year I’ve taken a different theme every week and written a series of essays and lessons to go with the prompts.

This year’s themes are

  • Week 1: Limits
  • Week 2: Elements of Story
  • Week 3: Rescue Week
  • Week 4: Your Writing Strengths
  • Week 5: The Last Hurrah

    This year, I’ve been giving a series of workshops on Story Structure, Conflict and Dialogue. You’ll find a lot of that information in this book, woven into the prompts and essays. It’s well worth the $2.99 (USD), even if I do say so, myself!

    A Month of Writing Prompts 2016Get Your Copy Now

    (Every purchase helps to support StoryADay, and keep it free)

Read The StoryADay Essentials Series – Free

If you’re on the fence about StoryADay May, not sure if you can commit to it, check out the StoryADay Essentials: a series of six articles that shows you why and How you could and should plunge into the challenge this year.

Check it out.

Shaking Up The Site

I’ve redesigned the home page of the site, to help the increasing numbers of new folks who are coming along to find out more about the StoryADay challenge.

But don’t worry, all your favorites are still around, tucked into the Menu at the top of the page (bottom if you’re on a mobile device): the blog, the community, the Tuesday Reading Room series, the Write on Wednesday Prompts, the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group, and of course, the shop.

Phew! I know that’s a lot for one day. Don’t forget to:

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:

Sept 1 — The Disappeared

StoryADay September 2015 Badge 440x220 pxWelcome to StoryADay September 2015!! Congratulations on making a fresh commitment to your writing.

This month we’ll be featuring writing prompts from writers within the StoryADay community, and myself. Let me tell you, from what I’ve seen already, there are some GREAT prompts coming your way.

Each prompt this month will set a scenario or scene for you to play with, or suggest elements of story that you can use. If you post your story on a blog, please do share a link in the comments so we can all see it. It’s fun to see what other people do with the same story elements!

 

The Prompt

Today, write a story that features people disappearing.

Tips

  • The story can be serious and traumatic or it can be fun and lighthearted.
  • Perhaps your main character is in a war zone or a dystopia and the people around them are being taken by hostile forces. What does this do to your main character? Are they under threat too?
  • Perhaps your main character is unhappy with their life and the mysterious, Twilight-Zone-like disappearance of the people around them is a blessing and a joy.
  • The disappearances can be literal or metaphorical. We’ve all had that friend who just drops us without another word, right?
  • Perhaps the main character is a pet who doesn’t understand where ‘his people’ go every day when they disappear. Perhaps he’s a dog, who forgets that they come back every day, and is equally thrilled every evening when they reappear.
  • Your story could feature a magician!
  • Maybe your main character is elderly, the last surviving member of a vast group of siblings.
  • Maybe your story is set in a limbo full of babies waiting to be born! Or in a foster home.
  • Maybe your main character is the one who is disappearing. Literally? Figuratively? On purpose?

Go!

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment, and come back tomorrow for more prompts!

 

If you want to receive prompts by email this month only, go here and make sure you select the box that says “StADa Sept 2015 – News and Daily Writing Prompts” (If you’re already on the list, enter your email address anyway and you should receive a prompt that lets you change your preferences)

 

StoryADay September 2015 – It’s ON!

May too busy for you? How’s your September?

StoryADay September 2015 Is Coming

Thanks to a bunch of lovely volunteers, StoryADay September 2015 is happening.

StoryADay September 2015 Badge 440x220 px

(right-click and save this graphic, then share it anywhere you like)

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

If you’re already on the mailing list, watch your inbox for instructions on how to make sure you get all the prompts for September (or avoid them if you’re not into the idea just now, but don’t want to unsubscribe altogether.

If you’re not already on the mailing list, go here and add your email address. Be sure to check the box that says “Sept 2015” and you’ll start receiving writing prompts every day next month.

(Once you’re on the mailing list, you can ALWAYS adjust your preferences. The list has a number of ‘groups’ you can join or leave, to control how often you hear from me. If you only want occasional news, you can opt for that. If you want All The Things, you can get that too.)

Then, start gathering Story Sparks and get ready for a month of intense creativity!

HOW STORYADAY SEPTEMBER WORKS

  1. You write and finish a story every day in September (it doesn’t have to be good, or long. It has to be finished.)
  2. You leave a comment at the blog, telling us you’ve done it.
  3. We cheer you on.
  4. You get a huge creativity boost and surprise yourself: who know how much you could actually write when the fear of ‘trying to write something good’ is removed in favor of ‘trying to write something today’?

That’s it.

 

Stay tuned!

2014 – A Smashing StoryADay Year

First: Thank you.

 

Thank you for being part of this wonderful community of writers: writing for the joy of being creative, writing for the love of the short story, writing because we just can’t help ourselves!

2014 was the fifth year of StoryADay and you helped make it a doozy.

StoryADay 2014 In Review

MOAR WRITERS

This time last year we were a pretty big writing army.

This year, there is a full 33% increase in the number of people who have joined our movement. Thank you and keep spreading the word. The bigger our tribe, the more peer pressure we have to stick to our goals! There are well over 1000 writers routinely hanging out and taking part in challenges at StoryADay now. Wow.

NEIL GAIMAN

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.15.58 PMYeah, Neil Gaiman gave us a writing prompt to kick off StoryADay May this year. Neil Gaiman.

Also: we had guest prompts from the lovely and talented:

SWAGr

After the party in May was over, people wanted to stay connected, to keep each other honest, to support each other, and I couldn’t have been happier. So, I launched the monthly (and sardonically-named) Serious Writers’ Group (SWAGr).

On the first of each month you’re invited to come to the blog, post your achievements for the past month, goals for the next, and support for your fellow writers. It helps. You should try it.

SPREADING THE WORD

I was fortunate enough to be asked to talk about creativity and short stories at a number of venues this year (WANACon, DIYMFA‘s online conference, and the Main Line Writers Group).

I love getting together with writers and talking about what I’ve learned about creativity since I started writing a StoryADay In May back in 2010. Maybe I’ll turn up in your neck of the woods this year and we can hang out?

If you know of conferences or events you’d like to see me, drop me a line or, better yet, tell the organizers why you think I’d be a good guest.

TUESDAY READING ROOM AND WRITE ON WEDNESDAY

Every Tuesday and Wednesday here at StoryADay.org I bring you regular features:

Tuesday Reading Room, is a weekly review of a short story I’ve read and my thoughts about it, from a  writers’ point of view. Reading short stories is a wonderful way to warm up your brain and loosen up your creative muscles. The Tuesday Reading Room aims to provide you with a reading list of sorts, if you’re having trouble deciding where to start.

If you would like to submit a review of a short story for the Reading Room, submit it here.

Write On Wednesday is a weekly writing prompt, designed to keep you writing even when you don’t have a clue what to write about.

For extra credit, write the story within 24 hours, post it in the comments (understanding that doing so means your story has been ‘published’ and may not be eligible for publication elsewhere). This is a wonderful way to share your work with other writers. It’s not a contest, but an exercise in quick creativity.

If you’d like to submit a writing prompt, do so here.

COURSES, WORKBOOKS AND CONSULTING

I’m not going to lie to you, running StoryADay is not free. There’s hosting fees ($300 a year or so), domain registrations, technical support services for when the glitches get too much for me, fees for cloud storage, photo hosting etc etc etc. And my time.

So, although participation in StoryADay May will always remain free, I also offer courses and workbooks, the collected StoryADay May 2014 Writing Prompts ebook, and some consulting services. You’ll occasionally see emails from me about Things You Can Buy to support StoryADay, but if you ever feel I’m leaning too heavily on the commercial side, let me know. Just reply to any email from me and tell me what you need.

As I plan for 2015, and StoryADay continues to grow, I’m thinking about other options to keep the budget ticking over here. Ideas include sponsorship, partnering with larger organizations, taking donations, offering premium content for a fee (though I don’t love that idea), and developing new courses and workbooks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you would value/hate/love.

OTHER WAYS TO GET A LITTLE StADa IN YOUR LIFE

Don’t forget you can follow writing news and blogs by following StoryADay on Twitter @storyadaymay

I post quotes from writers and writing craft articles/books at Tumblr

Get short story recommendations from our sister site: ShortStoryMonth.com (which is looking for volunteers to help update listings, gather review copies of upcoming short story collections, etc. Let me know if you’re interested!)

MOAR WRITING

Apart from the Write on Wednesday challenges and the 2015 StoryADay May, what are you planning to write this coming year?

Lots and lots of short stories? A novel? Blogs?

If you could use the support of your community to keep you honest while you try to reach your goals, check back in tomorrow for the very first Serious Writers’ Group Check In of 2015.

 

 Happy New Year And All The Best For You And Your Writing In 2015!!!!

 

From Julie Duffy image

Julie Duffy

Director, StoryADay.org