Posted in newsletter

I Started a Newsletter on Substack!

Yes, I’m one of many writers who have jumped on the bandwagon by investing in Substack. I believe strongly in this platform based on the trends I’m seeing in book publishing and other creative forms of content. Curious about Substack? Check out the article I wrote about it here!

For now, I’ll be leveraging Substack to fashion a brand new, personal newsletter. It’s my first foray into newsletter writing and I’m excited!

It’s possible that I will also include cross-postings from my other platforms just to give my audience a free reading outlet for my writing.

Want to take a peek? Learn more here:

Posted in On Writing

The Writing Slump

Ever since I finished my 30-day Medium writing challenge, I’ve been in a writing slump. I think I temporarily burned myself out. I wrote almost every day, and on some days I wrote multiple pieces. The challenge was exclusively for Medium, but there were a handful of pieces written for other writing platforms, which means that I averaged more than 1 piece per day. I’ve never done that before, even with a diary. Although writing in general comes naturally for me, the challenging part was writing Medium-esque pieces every day.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and I find that I’m very distracted by my side hustles which are not related to writing. I need them to pay the bills.

My writing needs at this point are to figure out:

  • my writing priorities
  • who my writing voice is, and
  • where I’d like to focus

In my heart I know I would pursue fiction full time. I have multiple notebooks of ideas for both short stories and novels. Yet, that’s what I’m writing the least of.

I never knew there were so many paths for writers. And in attempting to discover and experience them all, I’m getting very distracted. SO distracted that I feel like I’m losing my way. So I’m going to check-in with myself on a more regular basis and course-correct based on my self-assessment. I’ll report back on my progress.

Posted in Vocal (Media)

Writing In the Right Direction

This week I finally wrote a piece of fiction that I feel good about. It was in response to a Vocal challenge.

For those of you who don’t know, Vocal offers a similar blogging platform to Medium, but with slightly different amenities and a very different compensation plan. Regarding compensation, they run regular “challenges” (contests) that both paid and non-paid members can enter, although the rules differ by challenge. These contests come with fantastic cash prizes.

Their challenges completely sucked me in. They happened to be running fiction challenges all summer, so I signed up to force myself to write more fiction.

The money is a nice motivator, but I like writing for Vocal’s Challenges because fiction is where my writing passion truly lies.

This week I entered Vocal’s “Foggy Waters” challenge which asks for a horror short story focused on a body of water between 600-3,000 words. Top prize is $5,000. The horror genre is one of my favorites.

You can enter, too, if you’re a Vocal+ member! There’s plenty of time left!

I did my best to put a unique spin on my story after thinking through a dozen ideas. It passes my current standard of ”does not suck”.

Read it below!

Posted in On Writing

Sustainability for Writers

It’s been an interesting journey this year, and my first one really and truly focused on my writing craft. I’ve written many pieces on my own, both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve also joined a content generation company and have ghost-written non-fiction pieces for various customers in return for money.

In the end, I’m trying to figure out the sustainability game. And it’s a common question for writers.

How do I make money as a writer?

Then, how do I make a living as a writer?

I’ve gone down multiple paths to answer the first question. There are many more and maybe some day I will pursue them all. At this point in my writing career, I’m reminded of Chris Rock’s famous comedy bit when he tells of his roots cleaning shrimp and making shite money. Just trying to survive in this world. This is me cleaning shrimp.

But the second question remains elusive. And I don’t think it’s something I’ll be able to figure out anytime soon. You need lots of experience to be a great writer and no matter how many books or blog posts you read, podcasts you listen to, and classes you take, the knowledge doesn’t just transform your writing overnight. You have to put it into practice. It’s a long, challenging road. But one that I’ve been through before with my previous career.

So while I’m going through my transformation, I’ll be continuing my side hustles to sustain. Cheers to everyone else on this journey!

Posted in Medium

My 30-Day Medium Writing Challenge is Over!

Yesterday I completed my first 30-day writing challenge. The ultimate goal was to write 30 Medium stories in 30 days. Luckily, I completed 31 stories in 30 days.

TL;DR: I’m glad I did it and I’m glad it’s over.

Read all about the rules I created for this challenge here:

I learned some important lessons from this challenge:

I can’t wait to take what I learned and apply it to future Medium posts, with some much needed testing and refinement added.

Posted in Medium, Vocal (Media)

Challenge Accepted: 5 Writing Pieces Due Today!

Although I don’t consider myself a procrastinator, things just didn’t go my way leading up to today. I’ve been on vacation and juggling upcoming work, my writing side hustle, and actual vacation time with my husband.

FIVE writing pieces are due by midnight EST.

Four are personal essays for Medium’s Writing Challenge Contest. $50,000 is at stake, folks! Luckily, I got all four of my pieces submitted on time. Here they are, in case you’re curious:

  • A Place to Call Home (theme: space)
  • The Weight She Carries (theme: work)
  • Your Privilege Doesn’t Exist Here (theme: reentry)
  • How It All Ends (theme: death)
  • I read several websites to raise my personal essay game. Although I don’t think my essays are good enough to win the top prizes (let’s be real – there will be 10,000+ submissions being evaluated), I did grow and learn a lot. I think the difference in quality in the 4 pieces above compared to my previous Medium stories is palpable. And that makes me happy!

    In addition, Vocal’s summer fiction series challenges, run weekly, is now on #7 which has the title “long thaw”.

    • What He Didn’t Want to Know (keyword: frozen pond – unpublished until accepted)

    I submitted all FIVE pieces before the deadline tonight! Yay!

    I’m going to take a short break from writing now… 😂

    Posted in Medium

    One of My Medium Stories Reached 100 Views!

    Yeah, I know, big whoop considering that this is chump change to the less prolific writers on the Medium platform. And views don’t really mean anything on Medium if they’re not reads or claps.

    But you know what? I don’t care. I’m here to celebrate ALL wins, especially if they’re small.

    The great victory, which appears so simple today, was the result of a series of small victories that went unnoticed.

    -Paulo Coelho

    Cheers to the little victories. May they lead me down the path to achieving my writing goals.

    Posted in Medium, Vocal (Media)

    Are Medium and Vocal Becoming the Same Writing Platform?

    This week, some pretty big changes were announced to the Medium Partner Program. In an interesting and oddly coincidental move, Vocal and Medium announced one of the exact same changes to their paid writer programs on the exact same day. It might have even been within the same hour of each other.

    These are not coincidences.

    I just started my Vocal journey. I’ve been writing on Medium seriously for only the past few months, but in total for over a year. I think I’ve somewhat figured it out. But Medium is funny – they keep changing the rules for their writers, and I’m assuming their algorithm for paying writers also keeps changing. It makes it hard to get comfortable when your incentive is a moving target.

    I just joined Vocal this month and became a Vocal+ member to enter their challenges (i.e. writer contests). There is a promise of really good money to be made in Vocal’s challenges and it gives me an outlet to exercise my creative fiction writing muscles, which I don’t do on Medium. My strategy right now is to use both platforms, but in very different ways.

    At least, that was the case until all these changes popped up.

    Before this week, I found Vocal and Medium to be similar in their overall goal as reader platforms, but with different incentives for writers, building your following, and how to get make money. After this week, I’m scratching my head and really starting to wonder if they’ve now converged into the same basic platform. This is good news for all you writers out there who take your Medium stories and then republish them on Vocal to double your chances of payout. But this is not good news for folks like me who had an entirely different strategy planned.

    If you’re curious about the changes Medium made to their partner program, read this article written by their staff. Some of the changes are good and some are bad – but it’s all relative to your purpose and approach as a Medium writer. As someone who’s been in the business world for decades and knows a thing or two about a thing or two, I am naturally a skeptic at this age. Some of the changes raise an eyebrow.

    Regardless, these platforms keep life interesting. I will adjust once the dust settles.

    Posted in Medium

    Medium is Hosting a Writer’s Challenge Contest this month!

    And the prizes range from $100 to $50,000!

    Medium announced last week that they’re hosting a writer’s challenge contest for the month of August 2021. Personal essays only are allowed, and there are 4 categories that writers can submit to.

    Both free and paid Medium members are allowed to enter. Honorable mentions receive $100, the top winner of each category receives $10,000, and a final, all around winner receives a grand prize of $50,000.

    As notable as the cash awards are the judges. Famous writers like Roxane Gay and celebrities like Natalie Portman are judging the various categories.

    Writing prompts (and each is explained with a prompt) include: reentry, death, space, and work.

    Writers may submit one total personal essay per category. Submissions are due August 24, 2021. New material submitted as of July 28, 2021 are allowed and they may include published and/or curated works. Submitted articles to Medium must be tagged appropriately for the category in which it will be judged or else they will not be counted.

    Read more about it here:

    Good luck to all writers!