On February 19 of this year, I began posting stories daily on WordPress, Medium, and Vocal. I am still very fond of my very first published story – The Wave Buddy 1000.
When I began I had the goal of wanting to publish a story every day for 30 days straight. Damn you covid-19! I received my first Moderna vaccination on March 9. It was a powerful experience which I wrote about here:
However, by 8:00 that night all the symptoms I had in January had returned. I slept pretty much all that night, all day and night Wednesday – basically 36 hours of sleep. By Thursday morning I felt fine. Unfortunately, though my little day-and-a-half nap prevented me from writing or posting anything on Wednesday. But other than that, I have been great at keeping my promise to write and publish stories every day.
I am no longer the same person I was when I began this habit. Today, I am a writer. Notice, I’m not saying I’m a GREAT writer, or even necessarily a GOOD writer. I’m only saying I am a WRITER. When I began writing I gave myself permission to be an average or even a bad writer at first. This is the way these things go.
Any new endeavor is marked by alternating times of failure and success; the important thing in the doing of something is just that – by DOING it. When we start any new thing, we aren’t going to be wonderful at it right out of the gate, but there does seem to be that persistent fantasy.
“… eventually, the doing of the thing begins as I begin doing it.”
No, I’m not the paragraph or sentence wizard that I hope I will someday be, but I can see when things don’t work. I can recognize when my thinking is scattered, disorganized, sloppy. I can see, but not yet articulate why POV is critical, and intuitively sense which might be better for telling a story. I can see how the people at StoryGrid.com are right with their five commandments of storytelling. (While I’m not yet convinced this is the ONLY way to structure a story, I do believe their framework offers a rugged, viable scaffolding on which to begin assembling stories. We romanticize such things do we not? We admire and revere the ‘genius’ who seems to produce content as effortlessly as we walk and breathe. I don’t know anything about that kind of genius, but I know this: WRITERS WRITE (and read!).)
For a few days, I worried about sources of inspiration. I had a bundle of stories I had written earlier when I finished the draft of my novel and shifted my focus to short stories. But I quickly exhausted how many of those I wanted to give away for FREE on these platforms. (I’m saving my favorite stories like WELL, YELLOW HOODIE, PASCAL, and MIKE AND MOIRA SELL A MEMBERSHIP for self-publishing in a collection of shorts called NINETEEN.) But then I remembered there was such a thing as writing prompts. I googled and found these two sites (you’re welcome!).
There are lots more of course. I’m not saying these two sources have the “best” prompts, whatever that might mean. They are merely the ones I arbitrarily selected. There are plenty of sources for inspiration online. Every day, for the past ten days, I’ve been using them for the basis of my daily stories. I pick an idea from one of the lists, then I begin! I sometimes have to sit with it for a bit, but eventually, the doing of the thing begins as I begin doing it.
I love writing. After I’ve finished this piece (which isn’t a story per se), I will scroll through my lists of writing prompts. I will pick one and I will begin. I am a writer. I write.