StoryADay regular Alexis A. Hunter stopped by the blog to chat about her writing journey over the past few years, and how she’s used StoryADay to help push her beyond her fears. Over the past few years more than 50 of her stories have been published!
StADa: When did you first participate in StoryADay May?
AAH: 2011 was the first year I participated in StoryADay May. I heard about this awesome challenge about three or four days into the month and so wrote extra stories to catch up. I have since then participated in the challenge for a total of four years. It’s been so eye-opening and rewarding!
StADa: Tell us a little about your successes in the past few years.
AAH: The writing journey works differently for different people; my journey has been a bit slow, but always steady. I’ve made some good headway, breaking into markets I’ve always wanted to be published in. This year I’ve had stories published in Shimmer, Flash Fiction Online, and Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. I’ll have a story out in Apex this fall. It’s really exciting and I don’t think I’d be here (or at least it would have taken me longer to get here) if it weren’t for the StoryADay challenge.
StADa: How have you used StoryADay to help fuel your writing?
AAH: StoryADay taught me things I might not have learned otherwise. When I first sat down to start writing seriously about five years ago, I was perpetually full of dread about writer’s block. I had suffered extreme bouts of it before. Every time I finished a story, I questioned and worried and fretted over whether or not I’d be able to finish another one.
StoryADay taught me that I could do so and that I could do so consistently if I only tried hard enough. It showed me that if I thought long enough on any given prompt, my mind would rise to the challenge. It was so…liberating!
I’ve since then used the challenge to fuel my writing by providing a large stock of stories to edit and submit throughout the year. Of course, there are a lot of duds throughout the month of May, but there are also a handful of pretty good stories that I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
StADa: What advice do you have for someone thinking about embarking on the challenge or longing to boost their creativity?
AAH: To those thinking about embarking on the StoryADay challenge, I recommend a bit of prep before May 1st hits. I like to do two things in particular to get ready: 1.) Gather prompts.
I love using the prompts provided by storyaday.org, but I also love combining them with picture prompts. I keep a Pinterest board of photo prompts, which I add to all year long. 2.) Pick some specific target markets.
Last year, I collected a list of (mostly) themed deadlines for magazines I wanted to get into. Stuff like an anthology about pirates or magical cats. The themed nature of those deadlines helped spark stories and having a set market to send the stories to, in turn, kept me on the ball in June and July–editing the stories and getting them sent out instead of letting them languish in an abandoned file.
To those longing to boost their creativity–get into writing prompts! Especially photo prompts, if your mind works well with them. There is so much amazing art out there that I find especially inspiring. Prompts are a good way to push you out of your comfort zone. Try writing a genre you’ve never written before–even if it’s scary.
The result might not be so good, but it will stretch you in a way that writing in your normal groove won’t. Oh, and try StoryADay if you can!
StADa: What’s next for you?
AAH: Well, May is nearing, so I’m staring down the barrel of another StoryADay challenge. I hope to participate again this year, even if I don’t hit the 31 story goal like I normally do. I’m also knee-deep in editing a YA Science-Fantasy novel, which I hope to one day do something with. But in the meantime, I just keep focusing on writing better and better short stories. That’s where my heart is really at.
Thanks, Alexis and all the best for your future success!
Alexis A. Hunter revels in the endless possibilities of speculative fiction. Over fifty of her short stories have appeared recently in Shimmer, Cricket Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, and more. To learn more, visit www.alexisahunter.com.