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Monday
Apr232018

Are you ready for StoryADay May? A guest post from Julie Duffy

I met Julie Duffy when we both worked for the same company out in Philadelphia. Julie is a writer and the host of StoryADay.org, a creative writing challenge that happens each May (and yes, you're invited!). I asked Julie to tell us about StoryADay May, how it got started and how it works. I love the subtle placement of books in the background, heh (thanks, Julie!):

You can find Julie Duffy and StoryADay on Twitter at @StoryADayMay, StoryADay on Facebook and at StoryADay.org. Julie was also kind enough to write a guest post about StoryADay May:

ARE YOU READY FOR STORYADAY MAY?

A Guest Post from Julie Duffy

Back in March of 2010, at the end of a long winter and in the the intellectual wasteland of early-parenthood, I began to wonder if I was ever going to be able to have the creative life I’d always wanted.

I had no time and no energy to write. Worse, I couldn’t even couldn’t imagine writing around the edges of my new lifestyle.

I bet you’ve had days like that.

Days when you can’t remember the last time you scratched your creative itch. Days when you can’t imagine having time to be creative until you retire. Or days when you kind of wish you had a boss, who would stand over you and tell you to Do The Work.

What do you do, when you need a creative boost?

My solution was a little out there: since I couldn’t make myself finish a single short story, I publicly committed to writing a complete short story every day that May!

(Why May? Because the poets had April, anyway, “StoryADay May” sounded good!)

The most ‘out there’ part of all, though?

All the other people who found me and joined in. A hundred that first year, with no promotion at all. Thousands last year.

That told me there’s a deep yearning for creativity in our lives that many of us are ignoring, because our society isn’t set up to encourage it. We’re consumers of entertainment. Who are we, to think we could create it too?

We are humans. That’s who.

If you want to write, you must find a way to write. If you want to sing, you’ll be a better person if you make time to sing. If you need to draw, you’re not going to be fulfilled until you draw.

It’s not about permission. It’s about becoming who you really are.

So StoryADay exists, as an oasis in the middle of the spring, (or autumn, depending on where you live), where you get to focus on your creative self. You get to figure out how to fit creativity back into your busy life.

You get to be you. You get to be a writer, every day, not ‘someday’.

So What Exactly Is StoryADay May?

It’s a movement, a challenge, a website and a community.

I post writing prompts every day during May at StoryADay.org. You use them or ignore them, and you write and finish a story every day.

(And yes, it can be a poem or a song or a cartoon, or whatever you love to create.)

Then, you can check in the site, and tell everyone how you got on, in our online community. Or post a comment on the blog. Or don’t tell anyone, if that’s how you roll. It’s up to you.

Do I Have To Write A Story A Day?

Yes. And no.

I strongly encourage people to make their own rules. That might not mean writing every day. Commit to writing on Tuesdays and Saturdays, if that’s what works for you, but on the days when you do write, you should aim to finish a piece. ‘Finishing’ is a powerful thing and teaches you a lot about what your story wants to be.

(It won’t be a polished story, most days, but it’ll be something you know the shape of.)

And no, you don’t have write stories. You can use the challenge to do any kind of creative work. Just push yourself to create more, more often, than you do on any other day.

What Do People Get Out of This Challenge?

As with other challenges, like NaNoWriMo and Illustration Friday, you get many things from a challenge like this:

  • You get a community and accountability
  • You get to challenge yourself to do something scary and big
  • You get deadlines
  • You get to experience the thrill of seeing ideas everywhere around you, now that you need new ones every day.
  • You get the satisfaction of crossing the finish line and looking at a stack of creative work that wouldn’t have existed if you hadn’t taken this chance.

How Do I Sign Up?

Just pop over to: Storyaday.org/sign-up–2018

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Julie Duffy is a writer and the host of StoryADay.org, one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers. Originally from Scotland, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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