Read this whole post – Contest rules are AT THE END.
A Caveat: I am the community manager for storium.com, but they’re not paying me to write this piece. I’m writing it because I love where I work, and how it has helped me.
A little over a year ago a friend of mine talked me into joining her on Storium. Storium is a site that functions a little like an Exquisite Corpse game, add some gaming mechanics, and encourage people to collaborate on writing together as a form of play.
I have been a writer my whole life. I have been writing stories since I could grasp a pencil in my hand and scrawl things in somewhat inscrutable handwriting. I had a rich imatinative play life, and I played fanfic out on the playground.
So as an adult, I write. I write a lot.
But I’ve always been really shy about showing my work. I’m not sure when I lost the ability to share, but for a while I was writing, but I never shared. it was never good enough. Never original enough. Never perfect. I was never able to step back and say “okay, this is read to be read now” because I was obsessed with being a writer like _____. I’m not some other writer. I’m me.
Well. Storium is making me break my habit of never sharing until I’m ready. because Storium, like RPG’s relies on others to tell a story. So my words have to come out on a page in order to tell a story. My words are necessary to work together with other peoples.
Oh shit. It’s my worst nightmare. Except that with my friends it has become what we can fictional speed chess. We chew the scenery together, we mock each other. Hell one friend and I have the worst in character relationship (mine is in love with the other and he’s not having it. Actually he’s being a dickmonster to her.)
Storium has encouraged me to write with other writers, which means that as i practice my craft, I’m having fun.
And people are reading what I write.
Which is a big improvement. Over the last year, I’ve written an RPG (Dead Scare) I’ve contributed to several more, going so far as to seek out work, and I’m submitting to actual anthologies in publications.
I’m writing. And I’m being successful at it. And I’m letting people read what I write, because what I’ve learned is that I can write, that I do write well.
And I’ve learned that through having to let people see me.
I’m writing a book now. I don’t know that I would have had the courage to sit down and write a whole freaking novel if I hadn’t had the chance to tell stories with other people – if I hadn’t had a chance to let my words be seen by others. I write with some great people.
But more than anything, the ability to like what I write, and like it and be willing to share it is a huge step. It means that I can publish, and I can do so without as much hand wringing as I think would have been there had I not had this experience. The worst critic out there is always going to be the one in your head. It’s always going to be the part of you who reminds you of the terrible short story you wrote when you were fifteen. Guess what? You’ve gotten better since them. I know I have.
So. If you’re a writer, and like me, you hate your own damn words, consider giving Storium a try – and in fact, that’s just what I’m offering.
For the first prize, I’m awarding a one year membership to Storium!
For the Runner Up I’m offering to run a Storium game for you, and your friends (or whoever wants to be wrangled in.)
Here’s what you have to do:
In the contact form below, copy and paste your favorite paragraph that you’ve written lately. AND below that, tell me what you like about it.
That’s it. I’ll judge them, and then announce the winners in, let’s say, two weeks. The ability to submit will close in a week! Show me your work! I want to seeeee and love your woooooords. Because I want people to love their own words, and share how I learned to do it.
Please comment politely with a regular pseudonym or real name.