- What if you had time to write?
- What if, when you sat down to write, you could jump over all the hangups and just write?
- What if, every day, you felt like the writer you were supposed to be?
- What if you were a writer who could produce more, better stories, then get on with your day?
- What if you were invigorated, attentive, more relaxed, more present (pleasant?) for the people in your life?
I’m Julie Duffy, and I’ve led thousands of writers through the process of writing a story a day in May (or September) and building up their identity and practice as a writer.
And I’ve done it every year since 2010.
I’ve seen people
- Write their first stories since high school
- Have their first story published (from a draft started in StADA)
- Publish their first novels
- Best of all, in my opinion, begin to own the identity of “writer” (not because of any external rewards but because they are doing the work)
When you build a practice of writing you feel more completely you. You’re happier, easier to live with, and more connected to the world you’re living in.
When you are reaching out to touch other people’s minds via squiggly marks on a page..it’s magic! And it addictive. The more connections you make, the more you want to make. The more creative you are, the more creative you become. The more you write, the more you crave that writing high, and start fighting to make time for your art.
We writers are lucky. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment or fancy training to write.
So it can be hard to believe in ourselves, to allow ourselves time to do the work we need to do, improve our skills, and to keep applying ourselves to creative work throughout our busy lives.
That’s why I’m here today, to help you find a way to make writing part of your life every day, not ‘some day’, during the next few months.
The Story of StoryADay
Since 2010 I’ve led thousands of writers through StoryADay May. Some have gone on to other creative work, some come back to StoryADay every year.
In between challenges they’re entering contest and writing novels and cowriting books with their kids. Teaching. All kinds of stuff.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Let me tell you a story.
Back in March 2010 I was a frustrated stay at home mom.
I had given up all the things that made me “me”, but I had a nice life. I didn’t feel I had a right to complain.
The longer I pushed away my need to write, to do the thing that fed me, the more I tried to fill that hole with other things. I was becoming weepy and needy and vastly overweight… I was becoming someone who was not “me”.
And on that morning, in March, tears blurring the road as I drove my two kids home from a doctor’s appointment, I hit bottom. I realized I had to do something. I had to start writing again. And I had to make it stick, this time.
Now, since I’d always been attracted deadlines and big challenges, and because I loved short stories I decided to challenge myself to write a story a day in May.
As soon as I made the decision, my heart started to race. The idea scared me. In a good way.
So I shared my plan, and 97 people (mostly friends of friends) said “sure, that sounds like fun. Sign me up!”
Writing my first story, that first year, was incredibly hard. I was rusty, out of practice, with no idea how to string a whole story together anymore. But because I had committed to this challenge–and to these people–I couldn’t quit this time. I had to keep writing.
And you know what? Some of the lines in that terrible first story were pretty good. And better than that? I felt good.
So I kept writing. Every day. For a month. And most of the stories were not great. But a couple…a couple felt like real stories. And I learned so much!
- How to start, even when I was terrified of failing.
- How to keep going, even when I didn’t want to
- How to lean on my fellow writers on a bad day
- How to boost writer when they needed it
- How to get through the messy middle of a story
- How to finish, and feel the high of having figured out the whole story.
- How to make time for writing in the midst of a busy life
- How to keep keep going when it got tough
- How to give myself the gift of being who I was meant to be.
Every year since then I’ve led thousands of writers through this extreme creativity challenge and watched them transform themselves from frustrated, everyday people, into people who contribute magic, wonder, empathy and connection to our world.
The StoryADay Superstars
All these years later the StoryADay Challenge is essentially the same: write a lot, write fast and don’t look back, lean on the community.
But I noticed that people drift away in Week 2. And I hate the thought of them, back on the sofa, face in a pint of ice-cream, feeling bad for having abandoned their dreams one more time.
I wanted a way to keep you all closer.
I wanted to create a group, so close-knit that we could check in on each other whenever someone goes quiet. A group that could talk about writing and the challenges of making it work amidst life, not complain about ‘how hard it is’ (like so many other writers’ groups where people aren’t actually writing!). I wanted a group that would come to know and trust each other, and pull each other over the finish line of StoryaDay…and beyond.
So I started a new pilot program last year, called Superstars.
And it has become an amazing force for creative good in the lives of everyone who joins. I wish you could experience, right now, today, the strength and enthusiasm, and fun we get from hanging out with our fellow Superstars.
These people get it. They know how hard it is to write, and they do it anyway. And they will cheer you on, when you show up and take a chance on your writing.
I want you to consider leaning into your StoryADay challenge this year and becoming a Superstar.
More about that in a minute but first:
The Big Question
Is it really possible to write a decent story every day for a month?
- Of course it’s ridiculous to try to write a story every day for a month.
- Of course lots of them are going to be, um, ropey at best.
- Of course, even the most promising of them will need work to whip them into shape after the challenge is over.
I have lost count of the number of people who have told me they’re submitting/publishign stories they started during StoryADay.
People are writing a lot of stories.
People are reworking their stories and sending them out into the world.
Yes, StoryADay works, and I’ll tell you why.
People who participate in month of short story writing are doing more than turning out stories: they are building a writing practice that fits their lives. They are shifting their identity.
After 31 days of writing stories in May, you will see yourself as a person who writes. What does that mean?
Maybe you become a person who
- Keeps a file of story sparks
- Carves out time
- Looks for new challenges and deadlines
- Sets up accountability feedback loop with other writers.
- Has the courage to send stories out into the world to find their readers.
I can help put you on the path to all these things and I can connect you with people who are walking it too.
You can do these things in the blog comments at StoryADay, but I have to tell you, it’s easy to stop posting there. Nobody has any way of contacting you and asking how things are going. Nobody is going to follow up if you stop posting.
Every year I see it happen. People start out with great enthusiasm, and then, when things get tough, or when they miss a day, they ghost us, and we can’t help them find their way back. Weeks, months, even years might go by before that person has the courage to try again…because they didn’t lean on the community and let us tell them ‘It’s ok. It happens. Just get up and write another story tomorrow!”
The people who write the most, who improve the most, who get the most excited about their writing are in the Superstars group. These are the people who, barring illness and emergency, are still there at the end of the challenge.
I want you to be one of those people.
The Next StoryADay Challenge Is Coming
Do you want to commit to StoryADay, only to drift away in Week 2, regret-filled and reaching for the ice-cream?
Or do you want you be there with us, at the end of the challenge with a pile of new stories, a bunch of new working-writer friends, and a fresh commitment to your own identity as a writer?
Yes, committing to this is a big step. Opening yourself up to other people, is scary. Taking the risk that you’ll mess up (and in public), is kind of terrifying.
But how does it feel to be doing it alone?
Could you be making more progress, faster, with less angst? I believe you could. And I believe being in the Superstars group can help you get there.
The next challenge is coming. Are you ready to commit to your writing.
If now not, when?
The Big Deal with Superstars
You’ve come this far. You either have a lot of free time, or this Superstars thing is sounding like something that is right for you, right now.
Maybe you’re smart enough to realize that you need some extra support as you dedicate yourself to building a writing practice (This is something it took me about 7 years of running StoryADay to figure out. It wasn’t about the prompts. It was about the support!)
Whether you are already writing regularly and know you’re ready for the next step, or if you haven’t been writing and know you need big, scary goal to get going again, I hope you’ll find something at StoryADay for you.
Focus On The Work
This coming month I want you to forget about publishers and journals and critique groups and editors. I want you to focus on the work.
I want you to end the next month feeling in your bones that ‘success’ as an artist — the only success worth having — is the ability to find joy in doing the work.
That’s a lofty goal. And it takes hard work.
And if you want to be part of a amazing community that will encourage you, commiserate with you, and push you to do more than you thought possible, I created the Superstars program for you.
What’s Included In Superstars?
- Daily video, audio and text prompts and pep talks.
- Longer version of the prompts. These are, essentially, mini-workshops on all aspects of writing from getting to the page, to working on individual craft techniques. This is my best material, designed to get you writing and keep you working on your craft.
- A safe, private space to ask questions, voice concerns, share victories and ask for help.
- Somewhere to surround yourself with other people who are busy creating the identity of “writer” for themselves (not everyone needs this, but if you’re like me, it really helps).
- Regular Zoom writing sprints If you’re uncomfortable with being on video, turn your camera and mic off and just chat in the text box. Plenty of people start that way and most eventually turn on their camera or mic!
- 2 monthly Zoom hangouts to discuss the writing lifeIf you can’t make it to a live hangout, there are recordings, so you still feel like you’re getting to know the other people in the group.
- Ongoing access to the enhanced version of the prompts while you are a member. Use them any time you need a boost.
- Monthly workshops and guest speakers
- Discounts on other StoryADay courses
- Access to me and some of my longest term participants, along with the most dedicated group of StoryADay writers…to keep you connected to your writer-self for the next year
You’ll also get
- Access to our private Slack channel (it’s like a private social media network with just us. Highly customizable notification settings. Messages and announcements don’t get lots in a flood of email!). This is where the community relationships get strongest.
- On-going support – we’ll meet once a month until the start of the next challenge, for a Q&A and writing sprints in a monthly video hangout.
- Access to an archive of recorded workshops in the Supersetars portal that helps you work through craft elements like character, dialogue, story structure and more
- The tools and support you need to build a writing practice to help you write during the challenge, or for the rest of your life!
OK, you’ll have figured out by this point, that I’m not offering all this for free. There will always be the free version of the challenge at the main site, but I believe that Superstars offers you the best chance of reaching your goal of becoming a fulfilled, prolific storyteller who, when people ask you what you do, can honestly say “I write”.
So let’s talk your investment.
I just heard from another organization (you probably got this email, too) who wanted me to attend a 4-session online course taught by a writer I didn’t know, about short story writing, for $249.
A high-quality writer’ conference or retreat can easily cost $1,500+ plus the cost of travel, and a hotel room. Plus time away from my family. And it’s often worth it, even though the experience is transitory.
Superstars, by contrast, is your writing conference, retreat and workshop, in your pocket, year round.
- Regular writing ‘sprints’ (Zoom dates with other writers where you’ll actually get work done!)
- Monthly meetings
- Monthly workshops/masterclasses/q&a with industry experts
- The members’ forum and Slack channel, which is kind of priceless.
- The ongoing support throughout the year, including the NaNoWriMo Support group.
- Discounts on other courses and workshop run by StoryADay
So. Close contact with someone you already know (me!) and a group of committed fellow writers to help you stay on your path to becoming a more fulfilled, more productive writer. Today, not ‘some day’!
Go ahead and click the button below and join me in Superstars!
A Handy Deadline
I know writers love a deadline.
Luckily, the next challenge is fast approaching. Registration for Superstars ends on the first of the month, then I close it down and don’t open it again until May.
If you’re ready to jump in, click the button now. (And yes, there’s a 3-payment plan, too.)
One More Thing
One of the things I’m hearing from people is a lack of confidence around their own writing.
So I’ve decided to run a series of six workshops looking at parts of the writing craft, from Creating Compelling Characters to Un-Dreadful Dialogue, to writing Flash Fiction…
…and Superstars get them free.
In these workshops, we take apart one aspect of storytelling, and spend 90 minutes working on it, right there in the workshop.
This series of six workshops is currently not available anywhere for sale, but you’ll start receiving access to them right after the challenge ends. Just in time for your revisions!
When they are available to buy, they will sell for more than you’re about to invest in the whole Superstars program.
But you will already have free access to them along with all the other benefits of the Superstars program.
You have a full 14 days to ask for a refund, if you feel like StoryADay Superstars isn’t working for you.
No questions asked.
One Last Thing
Remember, if you want something to change, something has to change.
If you want the lifestyle of a writer, you have to take on that identity. The easiest way to do that is to surround yourself with other people who are taking on that identity.
If you want to be a person who:
- Sees story ideas everywhere
- Can’t wait to run to your desk
- Has strategies for shutting down the inner editor and getting to the work
- Has a crew of people to rely on
- Knows they can get to the end of a story because they’ve done it 30 times before
Consider joining us in Superstars…
I can’t make you a better writer.
I can’t promise to get you published.
But I can help put you on the path to becoming a writer who writes.
And I can connect you with other people who are on that path, too.
Now Is Your Time
We start on the 1st.
If you’re ready to start building your identity as a writer, and building the practices that support it, join us now.
Click the button and I’ll see you in the Superstars Portal.