A Five Day Writing Challenge Rocked My World


555 Story Challenge Logo

This is not a paid endorsement. This is me publicly thanking Nicole Breit and Spark Your Story for hosting a fabulous 5-day online writing challenge.

I am wrapping up an MFA writing program this summer. My thesis project is a paranormal mystery. I love my thesis, but after a couple of years of thinking about the project 24/7, my brain has been feeling tired and uninspired.

I am not even sure where I found out about the 555 story challenge? I’d love to give a nod to the source if only I could recall who that was.

Five days. Five writing prompts. Five submissions into a contest for gift cards and a snazzy writer’s subscription box from GoScribbler. I like prizes. I’m not ashamed of being open to bribery for my writing.

What reeled me was the daily output: 100 words of creative non-fiction. Writing about my own experiences and only 100 words? I’m in! Heck, I could do that on my phone on my notes app…and spoiler: that’s precisely what I did!

Know that writing 100 words is easy. Know that writing 100 good words is the challenge. Capturing a moment or a feeling in so few words is tough.

I could do the writing on my phone, so I didn’t have to pull out my laptop. Keeping my laptop and its unfinished grad school project out of sight kept my stress level low.

The prize drawings were random. Knowing I could win just by completing the daily writing was a great motivator for me. There was no pressure to be perfect.

I didn’t win any of the prizes, boo hiss, but congrats to those who did. Nicole shared with all participants that they could continue their writing journey with her Spark Your Story course, and it sounds fantabulous! It’s outside my budget right now, but based on how helpful just five days of prompts and guidance from Nicole were, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up for more learning with her in the future.

The challenge let me revisit my creativity in a non-threatening way. Anyone, even someone with a full-time job and looming grad school deadlines, can get one hundred words done in a day. Hitting “submit” each day gave a little dopamine burst, a little feel-good way-to-go mojo that put some spring in my step.

Having a short but sweet date with my creativity for five days has given me my spark back. I’ve given over three hours today to working on my thesis novel, feeling good about it again.

My creativity wasn’t a shriveled up old raisin, long forgotten in an old lunch box. My creativity is a vineyard full of grapes, each having their season to grow, recover, and do it all over again.

Thank you, Nicole!







How to Be a Crappy Boss


Cover of Crappy Boss Book

Wow, I have had some seriously crappy bosses over the years.  I had notes about some of these bosses because someday I may turn these notes into a work of fiction.

For now, you can figure out what not to do in your new leadership role from this book.  Being a supervisor, manager, director, or whatever is not free license to be the Mayor of JackAssville.  Micromanaging, taking credit for the work of others, and being a horrible human in general: these are not good leadership traits.

10 Ways to Work Yourself to Death


10 Ways Book Cover

I love James Altucher and his book Choose Yourself.  He suggests a daily practice of making lists to keep your creativity and ideas flowing.  He posted a challenge to his social media followers to write a short book in a weekend based on one of these lists.  Challenge accepted!

You can follow 10 Ideas to Work Yourself to Death as a manual if you would like to run yourself into the ground…or you can do the opposite if you would like some balance in your life.