I know other creators on Vocal have written about this milestone and I was not sure that I would, but then I thought, “What the hell!”
So many times, in years past my resolution for the year had included to start writing again. My first time in college I actually started out as a journalism major. I wrote for the college newspaper and was even Feature Editor. I also wrote for the local town paper where I attended school. However, I ended up leaving school and transferring majors graduating years later in another degree to help people. Leaving my dreams of writing on the back burner. Something I would return to at another time. I needed to have a stable income and didn’t see a path forward with writing.
For most of my adult life I have worked as a social worker for a small non-profit agency. Up until 2021, my writing consisted of case notes, strongly worded emails in advocacy or filling out applications for clients. Buried were the short stories, poems, and ideas for my novel.
Then one day I was scrolling through facebook and came across the ad for The Little Black Book Challenge. I do admit the $20,000 grand prize did catch my eye. But I really felt drawn to the challenge and a story from the prompt starting brewing in my head almost immediately. I cannot say I entered right away. I was still skeptical about putting any of my stories out in public. I did however, like and follow the page. I then kept coming back to it and the story kept brewing in my head until it would not leave me alone. I have found this to be the case of most of my stories now. They start and it is almost cathartic to finally get them out.
Anyways I went ahead and wrote out “A Drive Up North” for The Little Black Book Challenge.
The story is about three teenagers who end up in a car accident during a winter storm. An elderly woman who survived domestic abuse and lives a life in solitude takes them in and befriends the protagonist, Gina who is dealing with her own stress. Things take a drastic turn when money is discovered.
I still did not join Vocal or the challenge. I just held onto the story, but I did give to one of my best friends to read through a word document. She texted me the next day and told me I had to enter as she loved it. I then drank nearly a bottle of wine while I stared at the screen after my picture was in place, my account set up and the story was ready. I still remember the anxiety when it came time to hit the submit button. I just closed my eyes and let it go.
I did not win. I did not even come close to winning. What! Turns out my story was almost 2000 words over the 2000-word count. Yes, I estimated and did not look in the left-hand corner of the draft page. I also needed some major editing. I took the story down and would republish it several months later. At that time there was no quick edit button. You also had to wait long periods of time for a story to be published. So many things have changed and improved on Vocal. I would also like to think I have changed and improved.
First, I am much more confident in sharing my stories. When I first started writing on Vocal I had very few reads and only had four stories posted the first five months. Then I found Vocal facebook groups. I have been able to share my stories and read some amazing work of other creators. I have opened to other genres. Previously I only wrote literary fiction. Turns out historical fiction and horror are two of my favorites. I did even place as a runner up in the Return of The Night Owl challenge. I have also had many top stories. I even tried a fantasy challenge. I love to write poetry too which is still new to me. “The Drive Up North” remains a very sentimental story to me. It was the only one my dad read before he passed in 2021. He told me “To keep at it!”
I am not as prolific as many other writers on Vocal as my job does take up a great deal of time. Family and life pressures also sometimes hold back my pen. I recently started graduate school as well, so time is limited. However, I really want to say a big Thank you Vocal. I am so very grateful that I have had this opportunity to write and have people as far away as Malaysia read my work. That is amazing! I have watched the platform grow and progress as I have grown and progressed over the last two and half years. Really thank you for listening and trying to move to a more productive positive place. That being said there are always ways to improve and make things more diverse and inclusive. This does mean making sure there a range of stories and pictures from many writers of different backgrounds. Getting to a better place both for me as a writer and Vocal as a platform is fluid in motion. Always look to improve and edit when needed.
I am very grateful for this platform and for all the wonderful creators I have gotten to know and read. One hundred stories over two and half years may not be the fastest output, but I no longer have "get back to writing" as one of my resolutions. Well write the three novels of course. But I am here, writing away and loving it!
Here is my first story published on Vocal, "The Drive Up North".
About the Creator
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes