My Story a Day Challenge

If I have been missing in action it is because I have been writing a lot lately. I have not updated my blog in several millennia. I keep telling myself I’ll Tweet tomorrow. Every day I’m writing for hours and I’m happy about it. I’m leaving the refrigerator empty, the dishes unwashed and the laundry in a huge, heaping pile.

As part of a workshop at the University of Chicago Graham School, I am taking a “Story a Day” challenge. You guessed it. I write a complete story a day, complete with beginning, middle and end. It’s really jumpstarting my short story collection, I must say. I’m making good headway. I have a feeling I’ll be at the 50,000-word mark on that book soon.

The challenge has been interesting to say the least. Some highlights so far.

Crying in a coffee shop. One of the things that I’ve found is that when you are writing this much you can’t avoid writing about certain things that bother you. The other day I was writing a story about my grandparents. I miss them. I started crying in the coffee shop and you know the funny thing? I didn’t care and nobody else did either. It was kind of liberating.

Writer’s block, what writer’s block? I always say that writer’s block doesn’t really exist, that it’s more like lazy writer syndrome. But the challenge has certainly helped with that as well. Gone are the excuses. Deadlines are a writer’s best friend. Writing has gone from the bottom of my to do list back to the top where it belongs.

The prompts have been a lot of fun. What the heck is a prompt, you may ask? It’s kind of like an assignment, or a little piece of inspiration. You get told to write about something and then you go from there. Pick a poem and write about it, pick an image of someone who inspires or repulses you, pick a smell and write about it, etc. In fact, the prompts have been so fun, that many of my writer buddies have asked me to forward them to them. I’m happy to oblige.

But the best part has been writing with my five-year-old daughter, hands down. The more I write the more she writes. In fact, I have to wrestle the computer away from her little hands. Her most recently project? An ABC book. I’m proud and a little frightened. What if she grows up to be like me?

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