In May 2021, my gift to myself was to write on Vocal Media. I had been reading on medium.com but not as a member, and not even every month for several years. I love to read. I didn’t know I would love to write. I knew I had a lot of stories that weren’t written, and I have even more now.
Being from the Anishinabe/The People in Minnesota, I grew up on stories. People are more familiar with Chippewa or Ojibwe people. Ojibwe is the language and Anishinabe is our name for the people.
Our culture has been an oral tradition, rather than written, and many of the stories, lessons, values, and our history is still not written.
When you get used to hearing stories when growing up without a beginning or an end, that is how you start to write, and I continued writing that way while in college.
Even in graduate school, I would have reminders on papers saying, remember, to have a beginning, a middle, and an ending to your writing.
That may be part of the reason, it took until retirement for me to really start to write. I think that made it difficult for me to write a story when I had told and been told stories differently most of my life.
The other reason was rhyme and poetry. I relate better to short stories. It started out with Vocal Media and a requirement to write 600 minimum words per story.
Then on Vocal Media, it was 100 words for poetry. I had never heard of 100-word poems. I knew there were a lot of different forms of poetry, all with different rules. How do you write a haiku with 100 words? You don’t. You can write many haikus. You can describe haikus.
And you can add more story, along with the haiku. Or you can publish and hope for the best.
Early in my writing, I was writing to get better at rhyming. I was working on writing rap songs for my grandson. After writing an initial rap song for him, he said, “Grandma, it’s too long, no one wants to listen to a song that is 10 minutes long, and you don’t rhyme enough.”
I used A Poem A Day in February on Facebook to work on rhyming and I have done that now for 7 years. I have a group of regulars that also rhyme with me on the 8th day of every month. It’s become fun as I have contests with different poetry forms, that include prizes.
When I started writing on Vocal Media, it was again to work on poetry. And to write for the challenges. I don’t submit something for all challenges, but I do submit something for most.
When a few of the writers I was following on Vocal started writing for Medium, I did too. Not to leave Vocal, but to see what else was out there. I write more now than ever, and I share most stories in both places.
I’m not sure when I started NaNoWriMo, but it helped me to get into the writing everyday habit. This month is National Novel Writing Month, and I am on track for 50,000 words this month. It is not because it is all new, but rather because I have material from this year that I can use.
This month for me is more about editing, creating the table of contents, chapter headings, a forward, and afterward along with finding those stories that fit my topic.
Many people hope to publish and make money. I would love that, however, that has not been my main goal yet. My goal has been to get better at writing. I am consistently getting top story on Vocal this year. I think that means my writing is getting better.
Don’t get me wrong, as I have self-published many items since I started writing. Cultural material, books, calendars, cookbooks, and books about cancer, diabetes, and Reiki. Then a few booklets for new staff working with the Native American population.
I have used those items for memorials, giveaways, and fundraisers primarily. My story and writing will continue for as long as I live. So, stay tuned.
Adapted from this story first published by New Writers Welcome on medium.com
About the Creator
I am married with 7 children, 27 grands, and 12 great-grandchildren. I am a culture consultant part-time. I write A Poem a Day in February for 8 years now. I wrote 4 - 50,000 word stories in NaNoWriMo. I write on Vocal/Medium weekly.