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    • What He Didn’t Want to Know (keyword: frozen pond – unpublished until accepted)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