StoryFest for StoryaDay May 2018

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Storyaday May is a challenge with simple rules:

The Rules from Julie Duffy:

  • *Decide how many days during May on which you’re going to write.
  • *Write and finish a story on those days

My goal was to write 30 stories and I wrote 31 stories in May 2018.

Every June, Julie hosts StoryFest at her blog. You can check out some other amazing short stories by going there June 23-24!

Here is my Day 21 story for you to enjoy! Comments are welcome!

Man Murdered by Tree in Minnesota Forest

By Mountain News Service on May 21 at 2:43 p.m.
Stearns County, Minn. —

Authorities are investigating the death of a man found with a bullet wound to the head in the Birch Lake Forest on May 20.

“We are shocked and saddened to confirm the death of Mr. Maxim Foster,” a spokesperson from the park office confirmed. “He was using dynamite to extract trees in an overgrown section of the forest when he was fatally injured.”

There had been previous reports from 15 years ago of an attempted murder and suicide in the Birch Lake Forest. A bullet from the attempted murder had been lodged in a tree and never recovered.

It is speculated the bullet fired from the tree when Mr. Foster blew the tree to bits. It apparently held a grudge and fired upon the man, killing him.

The tree will not be prosecuted.

What I Learned from Story a Day May

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I did it!!!

31 stories in 31 days!!!

It was one more than my goal. I figured I would give myself one off day. I had so much fun I didn’t use my freebie.

What I Learned From Writing Everyday…Again

I participated in StoryADAY May 2018 hosted by Julie Duffy from storyaday.org. This is not the first writing challenge I have particpated in this past year. For those who do not know, November is not only known for Thanksgiving in the US but also for NANOWRIMO — National Novel Writing Month where thousands of writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in the 31 days. There are days that word count is easier to achieve than others.

Storyaday has the advantages of a Superstars forum (for a small fee) and daily prompts (for everyone). The Superstars have the bonus of videos from the creator with some further explanation.

  1. The Superstars community and writers that commented on the daily posts were great. The camaraderie was amazing and there is a bond with people who you are accountable to everyday. There is a warm fuzzy feeling when you know other people are in the same situation as you are.

The idea that others were in the same routine as I was helped to motivate my writing the couple days I was reluctant to put pen to paper. There is comfort in the idea of other people following the same crazy plan that you are!

2. I like having conversations about writing. I seek out other Storyaday writers, Twitter writers and recently joined a real life writers group. 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. It was quite enjoyable.

3. Establishing the daily writing habit is good for me and my practice. I am more creative when I do a little per day. It is thinking and planning that helps the juices flow. I was always looking for a story spark and that habit has continued past the challenge.

4. I love monthly writing challenges! I participate in the TwoWritingTeacher blog challenge in March, Storyaday in May and NANOWRIMO in November. There is also CAMPNANOWRIMO in April and July!

5. The Storyaday prompts required 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 was able to listen to the prompt direction video and then think about my story beats and write it later in the day. This method worked well even if I just constructed the first couple of sentences.

6. A joyful part of the writing process for me was being able to combine ideas for stories I wanted to write with the prompt most days. It was satisfying to take a spark I had and mold it to the prompt idea which made it more layered and interesting and therefore a better story!

7. Many prompts were so much fun or effective I will come back to them again and again. I will also use some of them with students.

  • I love the idea of taking a random list of words and constructing a story.
  • I also enjoyed telling a story from 3 different perspectives.
  • The MICE prompt was new to me and I did some extensive research for this day.(Check out the Writing Excuses podcast for a great explanation)
  • One prompts was to take a story from earlier in the month and rewrite it from a different perspective. This prompt was surprising to me. I learned so much about the secondary character! I don’t normally gravitate toward this type.
  • Using prompts is not always a “writers block” solution for me. Just using them to start writing is a favorite practice of mine.

7. The StoryADay writing podcasts are awesome and batch listening to them is inspiring. They are the only writing podcasts I listen to over and over.

8. Morning writing is more effective for my personal routine. I could write later in the day but it was slower and felt more laborious. The flow was pretty steady in the morning but I believe coffee had something to contribute.

9.Most of the month I wrote on the computer. When thinking or planning to figure out what to say, I wrote longhand or sketchnote. To get words on the page and not overthink it, I type.

Writing Goals Moving Forward

  • Continue to write daily
  • Complete at least one short story a week
  • Visit the Storyaday.org website for Wednesday prompts
  • Submit 3 pieces monthly
  • Revise at least 2 days a week to prepare stories for submission
  • Remember the conflict!
  • Revisit all the prompts from May 2018 and rewrite all new stories. It is a writing experiment to see how different the stories would be!

Deliberate Writing Practice

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

With the month of May devoted to writing daily short stories, I am also reflecting on my process daily trying to hone the practice. I always write with the purpose of becoming a better writer. I try to learn from the reading that I do and from the writing gurus I listen to. Most of this practice is one-sided as most of my writing resources are not real-life connections. I do have the benefit of Twitter and some writers group meetings this month which I am eternally grateful for.

I usually use feedback or an exercise in mind when I am writing. I have the advantage of podcasts at my fingertips, interaction with writers on Twitter, and special May video prompts and directions for writing.

My free writing exercises are never just pointless rambling anymore. I take the writing time seriously and the practice has become much more to me than just getting words on the page. I want the word count but also desire the content on the page to be worth reading. It is not always usable at that moment but can be saved away for another day, another story.

At this point in the month, I feel like my creative well is drying up slightly. I am still writing but it takes me longer and longer throughout the day. I also am aware that the craziness of the end of the school year looms in the shadows as well. There are some other frustrations in my life in regards to transitions that are wearing on me which is draining. Waiting for answers is never a fun place to be in, but one I find myself in often.

I am looking forward to summer when I can focus on some books that will lead me through some writing exercises so I can become a better writer for me, my audience, and my students.

Happy writing and reading everyone!

 

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Favorite Writing Advice

pexels-photo-891674.jpegMy writing group met twice this week over Zoom. I have participated in several group meetings now with this App. As long as everyone’s sound works,  it is quite effective for getting together with people, especially for introverts. I don’t have to leave the house.

The question of writing advice was part of the homework for the second meeting. My piece of go-to writing advice is you cannot edit a blank page. I tell this to my students all the time. Reading is also important especially the genre or type of writing you are trying to create.  This quote is one I have heard from many authors but if you Google it, Jodi Picoult gets the credit.

Another piece of advice is from one of our favorite writers, Ray Bradbury:

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.”

― Ray BradburyZen in the Art of Writing

 

This advice was another brought up.

Another favorite quote and piece of advice is:

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

― Ray Bradbury

I continue to write everyday. Knowing I am writing a short story everyday has me constantly thinking about ideas for stories. It is a great creative place to be in!

 

I will use these quotes as springboards for writing in my journal to explore it a bit more.

May Day #SOL18

db4de-slice-of-life_individualOne of my favorite writing prompts I use on May 1 is:

Finish this sentence: One day MAYbe…

How would you finish this sentence today? Please reply in the comments!

One day MAYbe I will see my name with my short story in an anthology with other short story writers!

One day MAYbe I will take a walk in the sunshine in May in Indiana! (Today might be that day)

One day MAYbe I will work my 6 pack abs back in shape!

In other news…

I am participating in STORYADAY May! So excited! If you would like to see the Day 1  prompt from Julie Duffy click here.

 

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Happy writing today! And yes, I do like exclamation marks today – I do like May.

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