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As I Turn 100

100 Stories That Is!

By C. H. RichardPublished 6 months ago Updated 6 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - August 2023
As I Turn 100
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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

C. H. Richard

My passion is and has always been writing. I am particularly drawn to writing fiction that has relatable storylines which hopefully keep readers engaged

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (34)

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  • Novel Allen5 months ago

    There are so many wonderful stories on how people found Vocal, this one is so deep and honest. I think we all had reservations, but in different ways. So glad you decided to jump in and create. This is a wonderful story of bravery.

  • Heather Hubler5 months ago

    I loved this, Cindy! I read it when you first published, but didn't get to comment. Congratulations on reaching this milestone! I feel so connected to you with your story as I felt so many of the same things when I first started the platform. Thank you for sharing this part of you. I've always enjoyed your work :)

  • Kateryna Kovalchuk6 months ago

    Congratulation C. H. Richard

  • EYHCS6 months ago

    Congratulations on turning 100 - I appreciate your story of development as a writer. Good luck with those novels and grad school!

  • Grz Colm6 months ago

    Hey C.H. - congrats on your leaderboard recognition!😊🎉

  • I LOVED the back story. I think it should be a requirement. lol I am a happy follower of your writing, and knowing a bit more about you, only increases my admiration. Congratulations on the top story

  • JBaz6 months ago

    Cindy, Drive up north, absolutely a wonderful story. Rich in character development and twist. There are so many stories I have read, but there are those, like that one, which stays with me. I enjoy reading these personal accounts and your Vocal journey gave us a glimpse of who you are.

  • Elaine Sihera6 months ago

    Congrats on getting top story! Well deserved, very entertaining and inspiring.

  • Cendrine Marrouat6 months ago

    This is a wonderful story, Cindy! I loved reading about your first story for the contest and your experience with Vocal. I used to prefer Medium. I took a long break from Vocal and since my return a few months ago, I have really enjoyed the community. People are so kind and supportive! In this day and age, it's very rare to be able to experience that online. 100 stories in over two years is wonderful! You have to do wh

  • Jazzy 6 months ago

    How exciting! Congrats to you 💕

  • Lilly Cooper6 months ago

    My count is at 62 in 1 and a half years, so I am on a similar trajectory to you for reaching 100😀 it is hard fitting in writing around life and work sometimes. Congratulations on your TS and reaching your milestone!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby6 months ago

    A great exploration of your writing journey here at Vocal! Well done

  • Congratulations on this impressive century, I joined way after the Black Book Challenge so am a relative newbie. Great article and looking forward to your next milestone

  • Bri Craig6 months ago

    It's amazing how many people were brought to vocal through the black book challenge! Congrats on the top story, and congrats on this amazing milestone!

  • Kendall Defoe 6 months ago

    Actually, that was the challenge that got me into the Vocal world! Glad you are still at it. May have to commemorate...1000 for me?

  • Naomi Gold6 months ago

    Congrats on your milestone! 100 stories you not only wrote and polished, but also had the courage to publish online, is quite a milestone indeed. And the social work you do is admirable, but I can see how it would take a lot out of someone. Finding the time and energy to also write is a “challenge” in itself. “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.” So glad I’m not alone in that! I’ve tried explaining it to people who don’t write, and I get some crazy looks. 😄 Congrats on your Top Story! 🥂

  • Gerald Holmes6 months ago

    Congrats on getting to that mark. I have also been here 2 1/2 years and just hit 100 stories last month. Congrats on the Top Story

  • Dana Stewart6 months ago

    Congrats Cindy on Top Story for this milestone piece!

  • Really enjoyed reading about your writing journey and much respect my mom was a social worker for Arizona and Virginia a both rewarding and hard, emotional career. It’s crazy how many people the little black book challenge drew in.

  • Rebekah Crawley6 months ago

    This is such a lovely reflection, what a lovely community we have here 🥹 I’m really looking forward to meeting so many of you at this milestone 💖

  • Wonderful... I enjoyed reading this!!! Congratulations on your 100th story!!!

  • Babs Iverson6 months ago

    Cindy, Congratulations to your 100th!!! 💕❤️❤️ Your historical fiction stories are fantastic!!! Best to you in grad school!!! As for writing, your dad said it best, "Keep at it."

  • E.A. Wilcox6 months ago

    Yay! Congrats on hitting the 100 milestone. I can totally relate to the gratitude I feel toward this community. Keep at it! I'm loving it!

  • Tiffany Gordon 6 months ago

    So glad you're here Cindy! Congrats on your milestone my friend!🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

  • Rachel Deeming6 months ago

    Excellent article and congrats on 100 stories. I'm going to check out your first story and comment on it when I do. It is hard to balance everything but I am the same as you with stories making their way out, just not always as quickly as others on here. It can sometimes frustrate but then I look at the distractions that prevent me from writing, and I know I can bide my time.

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