Welcome back to another round of “Writing Prompts &” where I share with you a writing prompt (shared from one of the many writing courses/communities/contests I’ve been a part of) and what I wrote based on that prompt.

This week, I wanted to share an exciting announcement, along with a writing prompt.

Another one of my stories got published! Read it here!

I wrote this story as part of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction competition in June of 2021, and the original placed 10th in my group.

NYC Midnight is a quarterly contest, where you’re given a set of parameters within which you must write. They host short story, micro and flash fiction, and screenplay contests. Usually, they give you a genre, a word, a setting, and/or a character or object that you must use in your story (hence the parameters.)

For this particular NYC Midnight competition, I received the following writing prompt:

Genre: Crime Caper / Setting: A Ballroom / Object: A Microphone

So, I had 1000 words to write a crime caper set in a ballroom that involved a microphone. After the contest I made a few revisions, and ended up with The Vanderbilt Diamond, which you can read here. A huge thank you to Grande Dame Literary for accepting this piece!

A Little Note of Encouragement

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Between September 2022 and April 2023, I’ve had 3 stories published in 3 different literary magazines, and I couldn’t be more delighted. But it makes me think about the long journey it has taken to get here.

I have been a writer all my life, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I started to actively submit my work, and it wasn’t until 2022 that my work was finally accepted somewhere.

It took 8 years.

I remember a trip I took to Barcelona with my friend in the summer of 2015. We rented an apartment in the middle of the Gothic quarter for the month of July with the goal of writing. It was my own personal writer’s retreat. I figured if I got away from life for a minute (I was a teacher with the summer off) that I would finally find my writing voice. I’d write a novel. I’d write a bunch of short stories. I was certain that that was my moment.

It was not, in fact, my moment.

I spent the summer filling notebooks and word docs with story after story of love and murder and whatever else my mind would cook up. None of it was good. I sent it all out for submission. It all got rejected. I forged on.

Enjoying my brand new fan in my Gothic quarter apartment in Barcelona after a full month of sweating.

I wrote creative non-fiction essays about relationships and mental health, some of which got picked up by Thought Catalog, but mostly, those got rejected, too. I kept writing and submitting to the New York Times Modern Love section. You can guess what happened with those submissions.

Throughout it all, I kept writing. I kept submitting. Because rejection is part of the game when it comes to any creative field.

Being told no feels awful. It makes you question whether or not you’re good enough to be pursuing the thing you love. And to be told no over and over and over again can start to sand down your edges.

Keep going. Keep submitting. Keep taking classes and finding supportive communities and, most importantly of all, keep writing. Or dancing. Or acting. Whatever it is you are doing that’s creating art, keep doing it. The world needs your voice.

All it takes is one yes.

Until next week my friends, keep writing, keep reading, keep creating.

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