Monday, October 10, 2016

30 Stories in 30 Days! How Did I Survive? Tablo or Wattpad?

For the past few weeks I've been writing one short story every day.  I thought of this challenge shortly before my 30th birthday.  While I gave myself days off form posting, like my birthday, my 4 year's old birthday, we were out of town, etc. I still wrote every day.  I wanted to push myself but mostly I wanted to see if I could do it.  I hadn't written a short story since my undergrad and even then they were all nonfiction.  I didn't know if I would be able to complete a story in under 10,000 words, (which  is the length of my shortest novel).  In the process I learned a lot about myself but also about my abilities.

The first story was written while I Pokemon hunted with my husband and my mind sort of went to this place of, what if...That isn't unusual for me, what was unusual was for me to just write it down without letting it escape.  It's so easy to let stories disappear but this challenge made me explore my thoughts and ideas and bring them into fruition.  Also forcing myself to publish every day meant that I couldn't be overly critical or worry too much about how the story would be received. It made my work raw and honest but also called my attention to how easy it is for me to censor myself.  These stories I really let it all hang out, it was like, this is what I'm thinking right now, this is what is going on in the news, this is all the  stuff I can't say to everyone but it is definitely in my thoughts and I need to have an outlet for it.

A huge part of this challenge was to write about diverse character going through situations that are more common than mainstream media allows us to believe.  I wanted to show people that while we are so diverse we also share so many of the same struggles.


The platform. Tablo or Wattpad?

I published on both Tablo.io and Wattpad.  I like Tablos' aesthetic and their retweets and emails that tell me who is reading and liking my stories and it allows readers to leave comments.  For a fee you can even receive more detailed information.  It was pretty neat to see what people were responding to without having to login, they emailed me all the info. Wattapd didn't have as much readership and their site is much more plain.  I lean toward Tablo but that is my preference.  From the amount of readers alone, I had a lot more people read my stories on Tablo.io than on Wattpad (Over a thousand on Tablo, and about 6 on Wattpad), even though both are free and both require readers to sign in.

Other Random Thoughts about the 30/30 Challenge:

Interestingly if you were to ask me what the titles of all 30 stories are I couldn't tell you off the top of my head.  I really just wrote them and then moved to the next.

Something that I've discussed with other authors is the dreaded synopsis.  How do you summarize your work in a quick blurb that makes others want to read without giving too much away?  When I publish my books this is a process that takes weeks to write, edit, perfect and then I still delete it and start over several more times.  With the challenge of writing and publishing everyday I had to just trust myself and write a synopsis every day.  (You'll notice they get shorter as the challenge goes on.)
I also had to choose a cover every day.  This is also a task that I often agonize over, this time I had to do it every. single. day.  It tortured me but also made me confident that I can do this, that my instincts are correct.

Writing everyday, especially short stories, provided immediate feedback, which was awesome.  It was a quick ego boost and and made me feel like writing is what I love to do and what I should do.

What I learned:

Free short flash fiction is definitely convenient for readers and a great way to push oneself as I writer.

Would I do it again?

Maybe before my 40th birthday.

You can read all the short stories from my 30/30 Challenge for FREE on tablo.io

It was a cool way to get my work out there and to allow people to see if they like my style without having to commit to full novel.  Also I think readers don't have to invest as much with a short story so they are more likely to read it.  I noticed my stories each fall into multiple genres which gave readers more options.

Last random thought, I miss it.  I had gotten used to writing and completing something every single day. While I have more room to breathe and do other things I still find myself wanting to write, hence this post :)

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