187 – Angela Ackerman and “Should You NaNoWriMo?”

Angela Ackerman is the co-author of the Emotion Thesaurus range of writing books and the One Stop for Writers site. In this episode I talked to her about creativity and how a big writing challenge might be just the thing you need right now.


Angela’s post: http://stada.me/angela

One Stop For Writers: http://stada.me/osfw

Ready to write today, not “some day”?

186 – Shiny Object Syndrome

Should you take part in NaNoWriMo this year? Should you attend that conference or take that class? Should you buy that new writing craft book?

Here’s a process to get you started figuring out whether or not you’re looking at a shiny object or a shiny opportunity.


Should You Sign Up for the NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge?


Ready to write today, not “some day”?

Should You Sign Up for that course or challenge?

I love a writing challenge. I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve taken part several times and learned a ton. It even inspired me to start StoryADay (you can read about the day I met NaNo founder Chris Baty!)

But every October the Writing-Internet becomes so obsessed with NaNoWriMo that it almost feels like you have to take part or you’re not a ‘real writer’.

In reality it’s not for everyone.

Continue reading “Should You Sign Up for that course or challenge?”

185 – Write To Read

Are you writing short stories? Why? And are you reading short stories? Which ones and again: why?


20 Short stories to read that will make you a better writer: http://stada.me/readme

Pushcart prize nominator calls for recommendations: http://stada.me/pushcart20

What are you reading? https://storyaday.org/episode185



Ready to write today, not “some day”?

20 Short Stories That Will Make You A Better Writer

Don’t try to write short stories without reading some. Here are 10 modern and 10 classic stories to get you started.

Reading in front of the fire

Chosen by members of the StoryADay Superstars community

  • Perhaps you want to write short stories because novels seem overwhelming.
  • Perhaps you’ve been told that you ought to start with short stories.
  • Perhaps you read a short story you loved and thought “I want to do that!”

The rules for novels and movies don’t apply to short stories. Part of the fun of short story writing is that the form is so flexible.But how would you know that if you’re not reading them?.

Here are 20 great short stories you should read, suggestesd by the StoryADay community.

Each story is either a classic or one that stuck in the reader’s head for years.

storyaday divider

[Write On Wednesday] More Roommates Than Expected

In Darkness by Marta Pelrine-Bacon
In Darkness by Marta Pelrine-Bacon

The Prompt

Two characters (or more if you wish) are spending their first night in a new home (or apartment, hotel, dorm…you decide).

And the first character says, “You know, they say this place is haunted…”

This week’s prompt comes from writer and artist Marta Petrine-Bacon, a self-professed fan of all things October-ish. You can find her novel, her art and her beautiful handmade notebooks (with appropriately spooky art) in her Etsy Shop WhereWordsAreStudio

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

184 – What If Writing Felt Inevitable?

So much of our procrastination is powered by mindset, but there’s more to making writing an inevitable part of our lives than simply wishing it was true. I have some suggestions….



Inevitable Writer article: http://stada.me/inev

SWAGr Accountability post: https://stada.me/swagr

3 Day Challenge: http://stada.me/3day


Ready to write today, not “some day”?

What if writing was inevitable?

Does writing have to be a struggle? What if your writing felt inevitable? What impact would that have on your life?

Changing Seasons image
Change is inevitable. Why not writing?

StoryADay September has finished and NaNoWriMo doesn’t start for another month. 

But do you have a plan for October?

If not, you could find yourself, two weeks from now having written nothing,  unsure of what you want to be writing, struggling to find your rhythm again.

Use Your Powerful Imagination

Imagine, instead, that you had a plan for the first two weeks of October. What would that look like?

Continue reading “What if writing was inevitable?”

SWAGr for October 2020

Welcome to the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group!

Post your goals for this month and let us know how you got on with last month’s goals.

SWAGr logo

Leave a comment below telling us how you got on last month, and what you plan to do next month, then check back in on the first of each month, to see how everyone’s doing.

(It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Did you live up to your commitment from last month? Don’t remember what you promised to do? Check out the comments from last month.

And don’t forget to celebrate with/encourage your fellow SWAGr-ers on their progress!

Download your SWAGr Tracking Sheet now, to keep track of your commitments this month


Examples of Goals Set By SWAGr-ers in previous months

  • Finish first draft of story and write 3 articles for my school paper. – Courtney
  • Write on seven days this month – Clare
  • Extend my reading and to read with a ‘writers eye’- Wendy
  • write 10,000 words – Mary Lou

 So, what will you accomplish this month? Leave your comment below (use the drop-down option to subscribe to the comments and receive lovely, encouraging notifications from fellow StADa SWAGr-ers!)

(Next check-in, 1st of the month. Tell your friends!)

Bonus! Day 31 – The End is Just The Beginning

Today I’m taking you right back to the beginning…the very first StoryADay May prompt, from May 1, 2010.

The Prompt

Today, go to the Newest Articles section of the front page of Wikipedia.

  • Choose one. Scan the titles, stop at the first one that grabs you and click. Don’t second-guess yourself.
  • Read the article. As you read, look for some detail or phrase or idea that strikes you.
  • Write your story. Don’t try to retell the story as it was told in the article. Focus on the idea or detail that caught your imagination. Turn that into a story.


What Now?

Today is a particularly important day…you’ve spent the past month focusing on your writing and your life as a writer. 

I couldn’t be more proud of you!

I encourage you to download the post-challenge worksheet attached to this page and either print it out or simply use the question and answer them in your journal. 

What worked?

What was a sure-fire way to torpedo your writing day?

What surprised you?


While you’re in the throes of the challenge it’s easy to think you’ll never forget all the lessons you’re learning. 

You will.

So save the lessons, put them somewhere safe, then take the rest of the day off. Maybe tomorrow too. You deserve it.

Celebrate Your Success

And don’t forget to download your Certificate of Completion. Print it out, fill in your name, and post a picture of yourself on social media with the hashtag #StoryADayMay

Read A Book, Support An Indie

Reads & Company Logo

This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Special thanks to all the writers who provided such brilliant and inspiring prompts for our 10th anniversary. Do consider going back to your favorite prompt and buying a copy of one fo the authors’ books, and leaving them a review (the ultimate ‘thank you’!)

Leave a comment and let us know how you used the prompt, and how you’re celebrating!