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The Value of Vocal+

Why should writers become a Vocal+ Member?

By Iris HarrisPublished about a year ago 4 min read
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Proud Vocal+ Member

Welcome Vocalites (a term I recently discovered) and other readers. A quick glance at my profile page will show that I have been with Vocal Media for 2 years. Joining Vocal was not an easy decision, and some of you may be wondering: is it worth becoming Vocal+ member?

Let me begin with my reason for joining Vocal Media. I have always enjoyed writing, beginning back in elementary school. I wrote my first freelance short story in fifth grade and knew right then and there I wanted to become a writer. Throughout high school, my power of invisibility left me with very few friends, and I often spent my lunch in the school library hacking away on a keyboard with a new story idea. I was determined to become a writer. Unfortunately, I was shackled by the evil chains of reality forced to abandon my writing dream for a stable career path. However, my affinity for writing never ceased.

In college, I purposefully enrolled in courses where the grade was dependent on essay and research writing. That was my strength, and it seemed a much easier way to earn a grade than rely on my memory to pass a quiz or a test. I started a blog with Live Journal, Xanga, and many other blog sites that were popular at the time. I was a writer and I wanted to continue writing, even if it were just journal writing. At the time, I was unaware of how to enter into the literary world; I continued to focus on a teaching career instead. Since graduating from college, I have been teaching and was becoming complacent with the path life had brought me. Until the pandemic.

2020 was a chance to reset my personal life goals. Prior to 2020, I had started to rekindle my love for writing by entering in writing competitions. I placed in the top 15 in the very first competition I entered, which created an avalanche of possibilities for me in the literary world. I restarted blogging, but admittedly, I wanted to be compensated for my time and effort, which blogging wasn’t going to provide. During lockdown, I stumbled onto Vocal Media. I didn’t join right away because, like most seasoned adults, I was skeptical. Was I willing to actively make my creativity available to a mass of unknown people for a chance of earning some side income?

Of course, you know how this story ends because here I am typing in a Starbucks someplace in the world. Was it worth joining? The simple answer is yes. Am I buried in monetary bills from my writing (which currently is over 70 stories and poems)? Nope. Have I said farewell to the classroom and the politics of education? Nope. I’m still struggling financial and waiting for the day when my work is recognized in the form of a large payday. So, why endorse Vocal Media?

When you decide to commit your time to writing consistently, you need to find yourself as a writer. You need to develop your style. Find the genre you are strong in and continue to strengthen your skills in others. Thanks to Vocal Media, I have had the opportunity to enter a variety of writing challenges. I have never won any of them, nor have I been awarded runner-up, but I still enter them. It gives me the opportunity to write in a genre I may not be comfortable with, minus the risk. Whether I win, or lose, there are people who are reading my work and for that, I am grateful.

Additionally, through the various writing challenges, I have discovered I enjoy writing ghost stories and horror, as well as realistic fiction. My fantasy skills are non-existent and aside from a few political essays, I don’t think I can write anything political. But I will still try. I wrote a piece for fantasy animal challenge about climate change (The Bear Witness of Climate Change), and it made top story (a goal every Vocalite strives for). Another Top Story I have is my favorite piece: Last Weekend Home . One of the comments on the story was priceless as the reader stated, “A true American Horror Story.” Direct feedback from readers is what every writer desires to help us become stronger in our craft. None of this would have been possible if it were not for the writing challenges.

Writing Challenges Available to Vocal+ Members

Finally, if you are willing to commit more time to the site, there is a recent update adding a new feature: Leaderboards. It is an opportunity to earn bonuses based on various community activities (i.e., commenting, writing, etc.). Truthfully, my lack of time prohibits me from earning those bonuses, however if you have the time, then it is another feature to pursue.

I am proud of my decision to join Vocal Media and knowing there are people like you, reading my work, motivates me to continue my journey to becoming a career writer. It confirms that there is a time limit to my teaching profession and encourages me to pursue other forms of writing. For example, this July I am going to self-publish a digital book on both Amazon and Apple Books. Yes, that high school dream is starting to manifest itself, and some credit goes to me taking a chance on Vocal Media. Knowing you still have all the rights to every story you publish on this site, allows you to publish them elsewhere.

First Book Coming Soon

As my writing career slowly unfolds, I plan to continue writing on Vocal Media. As pre-mentioned, the writing challenges provide me a chance to explore other genres and ideas that I may not be comfortable with. I hope this has been enough to convince new writers to become a Vocal+ member. I look forward to reading some of your stories.

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About the Creator

Iris Harris

An aspiring novelist. I enjoy writing ghost, horror, and drama. Occassionally, I dabble with some essays. You can find more of my work with the link below:

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Comments (5)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred12 months ago

    That is a great story and glad you are enjoying it. I have been here two years as well and am lucky enough to normally cover my subscription with reads. It is my favourite platform for writing and I manage to write most days. I have never ever placed in a challenge and don't expect to, even though my work is more than good enough. The biggest treasure I have got is the friendships I have made through Vocal

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  • Judey Kalchik about a year ago

    What an inspiring look at the past two years. AND a book! Congratulations on this huge achievement. I’m glad to decided to join and have kept at it!

  • L.C. Schäferabout a year ago

    All good thoughts! I find even a reasonable level of engagement plus the odd Top Story pretty much earns the subscription back most of the time 😁 My take is: you value what you pay for. If you are paying for a subscription, you are more likely to show up and write, and read. Like a gym membership. But for your brain 😁

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    This is great, Iris!! And huge congrats on your book as well!! 😁😁👏👏

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