Creativity Jumpstarters: Story A Day and DIY MFA

Continuing on the theme of jumpstarting one’s creativity with great and unnecessary side projects, let’s talk about Story A Day. Story A Day is a challenge, often called the Nanowrimo of short stories, that dares you to start and finish one story everyday of May (and sometimes September). There are no word limits on the stories and no pressure to publish them. These kinds of challenges are great for loosening up your writing, getting away from the editorial voices in your head, and exploring some of the ideas simmering in the back of your head. Additionally, founder Julie Duffy provides prompts before and during May to keep your ideas flowing.  Interested? Me too. Find out all about it here.

Story a Day

I stumbled upon Story A Day through DIY MFA founder Gabriela Pereira’s podcast interview with Duffy. DIY MFA is another great way to jumpstart creativity, by as the name suggests, giving yourself a Do It Yourself Masters of Fine Arts. The self-driven program focuses on this simple equation: Writing + Reading + Community = MFA. It gives writers the building blocks to educate themselves the way they would be in a MFA program, but for free! It’s great if you have good self-discipline or want to direct your writing life with more purpose. I have been trying it for myself and so far I am enjoying reshaping my life to be more constructive for my writing career. It has been especially great for helping me read more around the genre I’m writing in (sci-fi), see what the competition is up to, figure out how I measure up, and what I can compare my book to when I’m ready to query agents. Conversely, Pereira’s advice to read short story anthologies in order to study aspects of storytelling in a more condensed format has gotten me to read more broadly. In all, it’s a great program and writers at any level can gain a lot from it. Learn more here.

I’m going to give Story A Day a whirl as well (wish me luck) and I would love to hear advice from anyone who has done it before as well as anyone who plans to do it this May so drop me a line in the comments below.


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