Finishing Made All The Difference

An Interview with Superstar, Tammy L. Breitweiser

Tammy Breitweiser Headshot

Where were you in your writing journey before your first StoryADay?

Before StoryADay, I was writing frequently, but missing a critical component – finishing.

Neil Gaiman has been quoted as saying, “You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” StoryADay solidified this idea for me.

Finishing my stories has made all the difference for my craft.

I found Julie and StoryADay in October of 2016. I had missed the September storyaday challenge but was so excited I challenged myself to a self imposed month of writing a story a day. That process led me to sign up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and the habit stuck.

This was also when I discovered short stories were my niche. That first NANO I wrote short stories everyday and didn’t look back.

I started to revisit short stories I had loved by forgotten like The Celestial Omnibus, and now I was reading them differently to change how I write short stories and flash.

I participated in the full May StoryADay and wrote a whole folder of stories inspired by Julie’s prompts. I also gained a writing group.

I took the plunge and took advantage of the Superstars group Julie offered. For support, she offered more materials and a special forum for us to talk about writing and the challenge.

Where are you now?

I consider myself a serious writer now. I started calling myself a writer after the first of the year 2017 and posting consistently to my blog.

I am submitting.

I ordered business cards recently which list writer FIRST.

What do you consider your biggest writing success?

I am writing every day. I am submitting. I am published. I finished a draft of a novel.

What has being part of Superstars done for your writing practice?

The Superstars have changed my idea of how valuable a writing community is. We have the benefit of knowing each other better since we have been in the group for almost a year now.

The bonus of videos  with further explanation are great for me and get my mind working.

The daily comments are great during the challenge and honestly, the group comments quite often. At least once a week the rest of the year.

There is camaraderie and a bond with people who you are accountable to every day.

The shared routine during the challenge helps to motivate me the days I am resistant to put pen to paper. There is comfort in the idea of other people following the same crazy plan that you are!

I love deep conversations about writing. Critique is nice, but not always the conversation I want to have. Through Storyaday we had three Zoom chats with Superstars and we talked about how we write and why.

These events fuel me. It took some time to be more comfortable with video chats.

I also love when we get together to do sprints together. We critique each other’s work as well. I know if I have a writing question, I have a place to ask it and then are able to trust the answer.  We even have an unofficial mascot!

Note from Julie: I love Llama Tuesdays! Thanks for starting that, Tammy!

Establishing the daily writing habit is good for me and my practice. I was always looking for a story spark and that habit has continued past the challenge.

During the challenge, the Storyaday prompts require me to plan more. I am usually a pantser — I write from the seat of my pants. I sit and write and just let whatever flows out materialize on the page. I thought about the prompt thoroughly before diving into the actual writing which made the words flow faster. With my long commute to work, I am able to listen to the prompt direction video and then think about my story beats and write it later in the day. This method works well even if I just construct the first couple of sentences.

Thanks, Tammy!

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3 thoughts on “Finishing Made All The Difference”

  1. I agree–although I started finishing (that sounds WRONG) stories before I discovered Story A Day May, FINISHING a story is a major milestone. In order to finish, you have to make the choices, discard the alternative possibilities, and make your choices seem inevitable to the reader. It’s when you understand WHAT your hard work must be and when you commit to doing that hard work AND DO IT that you’re really a writer. SO glad to have met you, Tammy!

    1. Oh Marian, yes! It was quite the (terrifying) lightbulb moment for me when I realised that making one choice meant rejecting all the others.

      Plucking up the courage to do that in stories really helped me do the same in everyday life too. I saw it so much more clearly.

      “Make the choice seem inevitable to your reader.” I LOVE that!

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