[Write On Wednesday] Write a Birthday Story For Someone You Love

Over the past few weeks I’ve been encouraging you to write stories for special occasions to make sure you are writing year round, but also as a way to attract the attention of editors.

And that is started to make me feel a bit uncomfortable.

StoryADay has always been about the early stage of the process…the creative work, not the publishing and selling part. Sometimes friends ask me why I don’t publish anthologies or run competitions here at StoryADay.

It’s not by accident.

I passionately believe that you don’t do our best work when we’re thinking about who might buy a story or what a judge might think.

We do our best work when we are writing for the love of it, or for ourselves, or for one person we think will enjoy this story.

(That’s not to say that we shouldn’t pursue publication or that there is anything wrong with wanting that. It just pays to focus on the work first.)

So this week I’m encouraging you to set aside all thoughts of editors and publication credits and write for the love of writing and for the love of someone special.

The Prompt

Write A Birthday Story for Someone You Love


  • This doesn’t have to be a story about the person you’re writing for. Just imagine  amusing or moving or entertaining them, as you write.
  • You don’t have to ever show it to them.
  • Try to imagine how touched they would be, if you did show it to them, to know that you wrote this story for them.
  • Pour your affection for them into this little story. Love it. Be nice to it. Treat it as something precious and delightful, like your friendship, not like a foe to be vanquished.
  • Get to the end of the story within 24 hours if you can, to keep its spirit pure.
  • Consider making this an annual habit. Put it on your calendar for their next birthday, too.


If you try this exercise I would LOVE it if you would come back and leave a comment. How did the  writing go? Did the process feel different from other stories you’ve written? How did you feel about the story itself? 

Happy 6th Birthday, StoryADay May!

Six years ago today, I posted this at StoryADay.org

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(Of course, the site didn’t look like that, back then. And look, I haven’t even set up any categories for the posts yet. Bless.)

That first year about 100 writers joined me in my harebrained scheme, largely due to the fact that the very lovely Debbie Ohi is unable to resist a challenge (or the urge to blog about it), and spread the word.

Since then, thousands of writers have started writing again, written their first-to-be-published story, embarked on careers as novelists and generally had a ripping good time.

We’ve started hosting challenges in September too.

I’ve published books and run courses.

Neil Gaiman, Gretchen Rubin, Heidi Durrow, Joe R. Lansdale and more have posted guest writing prompts for us to enjoy.

And this year, in less than two months, the seventh annual StoryADay May starts up.

Are you in?