READERSVOICE.COM: How did you come up with the idea for StoryADay (in May)?
JULIE DUFFY: StoryADay was born out of frustration at my own inability to finish anything, and a desire to rediscover the joy of simply being creative. Looking back, that frustration was a bit unfair, given that I had two small children (and no extended family nearby) at the time, but the urge to write doesn’t go away just because it’s impractical!
I had always loved a challenge (taking part in the 100words.net challenge way back when the internet was young; following along with friends’ Illustration Friday challenges in the 90s, and, watching with some envy as friends fell victim to the siren song of National Novel Writers’ Month in November. The more I thought about that, the more
jealous I got that short story writers didn’t have our own ‘month’.
Then, one grey day in March 2010, on another boring drive back from one of my children’s activities, I snapped. If I couldn’t seem to finish one single stupid story, then why not set myself a huge, ridiculous challenge? I would write, I decided, a story a day. In May.
Because it was the month-after-next and it rhymed. (And because April was already Poetry Month and the poets have things hard enough without me stealing their month!).
I knew I would need accountability, so I set up a website and told a few friends about the challenge. They told their friends and before I knew it almost 100 people had signed up to join me.
We wrote all through May. We checked in with each other. We formed friendships (some that have lasted to today and become In The Real World friends and collaborators too), and the challenge has grown exponentially every year.
Now we have a Serious Writers’ Accountability Group (SWAGr) that ‘meets’ at the site on the first of every month to help keep each other accountable for writing goals throughout the rest of the year. [See storyaday.org/category/swagr/.]
The excitement that builds up around April/May each year is phenomenal. Watching other people fling themselves into their writing with creative abandon is as rewarding as any writing I do myself.
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- copyright Simon Sandall