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Be Me, a Vocal+ Member

Inspired by a combination of the “Get to Know Me” challenge entries and the Reddit “Be Me” threads (which means most if not all of this is not actually me)

By Stephen A. RoddewigPublished 5 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - September 2023
Base photo by Ga on Unsplash

Wake up, brush teeth, look at the Vocal app.

Oh, a red dot!

Realize it’s only creators I’ve subscribed to posting new stories. Swallow equal parts disappointment that no one has engaged with my stories and impostor syndrome that I can’t seem to match these authors’ paces. Promise I’ll go read the new stories later.

Attempt to check my stats in the app.

Remember I can’t check my stats in the app. Open Safari on my phone to check the stats there from my “Frequently Visited Pages” menu.

Discover that my reads haven’t increased in four days. Ask myself why I have the iOS app again?

Realize that it’s been four days since I last posted and that post still hasn’t been picked up for Top Story. Quietly break the news to myself that that probably means this is one is a dud, too. Return to the iOS app to check notifications because somehow seeing the number of notifications in the browser version ruins the mystery.

Find I have no new notifications. No red dot for me. Swallow sadness.

Scroll the front page to see who has succeeded and what I can do to emulate their success.

Find one Top Story that is an unabashed love letter to Vocal and another Top Story that is a fiction piece from… two years ago??

Wonder how the fuck that happened.

Attempt to talk myself down from reading way too far into this and deciding my entire catalog of stories is now apparently still in the running for Top Story.

Fail miserably. I am now waiting to hit the Vocal Mega Millions jackpot.

Still waiting.

Realize I still haven’t read those new stories. Swear I’ll get to it once I check for any new challenges.

Oh, another haiku challenge!

After penning 40th haiku addressing challenge prompt about my favorite part of an Upper East Side dive bar on a Sunday afternoon between 4:00 and 5:00 when there’s moderately chilly weather, break for lunch.

Return from lunch, check stats.

Realize it hasn’t been 24 hours and that my reads won’t have changed. Chide myself for being impatient.

Get to work on sharing the haikus. Top Story, here I come!

After publishing each of the 40 haikus, realize I still have the stats page open from before. I already know nothing’s changed… but might as well refresh while I’m here.

Realize something has changed: my subscriber count has gone down. Wonder how that happened.

Observe that notifications have been quiet, too. Decide everyone must be busy right now. They’ll read my hot batch of haikus later.

Check the latest top stories. Read piece from someone claiming their streak of Top Story selections means they are now the best writer on the platform. Wonder if Vocal making that piece a Top Story then verifies that claim.

Read another Top Story where the writer continues to claim there is a conspiracy that means they will never win a challenge. Wonder why they are saying that in what is clearly a challenge entry.

Remember that today is a challenge results day! Bop over to the challenge page to check if I’ve won. Discover nothing has been announced.

Realize it’s only 2:30 p.m. ET. Chide myself for being impatient.

Continue to refresh the page. Realize it is now 7:30 p.m. Recall I still have not read those new stories.

Decide there will be time for that later; challenge results just released! Come on, big money!

Another wash. Swallow sadness. Wonder if maybe that conspiracy theory isn’t so baseless after all…

Vow to only work harder for the next challenge win. Pen another 40 haikus about favorite part of an Upper East Side dive bar on a Sunday afternoon between 4:00 and 5:00 when there’s moderately chilly weather.

Keep the momentum rolling and release all 40 haikus into the Vocal ether.

Realize my subscriber count has dropped again. Decide that is one strange coincidence indeed.

Remember I still have not read those new stories.

Decide that’s what tomorrow is for. Start to drift off to sleep with dreams of Top Story dancing through my head.

Continue to place faith in idea that my big Vocal break is only one day away.

Recall that I’ve been saying that since 2021 as the veil slides over my vision.

Wake up, brush teeth, look at the Vocal app.

Oh, a red dot!

Realize it’s more new stories. What were those other stories I meant to read?

Give up on remembering. Oh, well, everyone’s human. Scroll through new Top Stories.


About the Creator

Stephen A. Roddewig

Currently writing the adventures of Dick Winchester, a modern gangland saga/comedy set in my hometown of Washington D.C.

Offering a nearly complete history meets comedy meets assassin series.

Proud member of the Horror Writers Association 😤

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. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (35)

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  • Rachael MacDonaldabout 2 hours ago

    relatable AF. congrats. :)

  • Frankie Martinelliabout 8 hours ago

    This is VERY realatable! I've posted 230 stories in all. Only 2of them have made top story so far, but that high from top story.. unmatched Great work! ❤️

  • Novel Allen2 days ago

    I keep saying that Vocal is addictive. Who needs drugs when we got Vocal. It is like you try to kick the habit, but the pull of the chase keeps calling and beckoning. We are all chucked, if writing is your calling, there is no escape. Top story is just the icing on the cake, delicious, you just want more. Nothing wrong with wanting more, it encourages your writing to hold itself to a higher standard.

  • That's the life. Well, until you stop worrying. Then sometimes you write to much to keep up with all the nice comments. Thank you for the inspiration. I just wrote a poem inspired by this

  • SPOTLESS3 days ago

    Nice story

  • Naveedkk 3 days ago

    Very well written, congratulations on top story.💗

  • Grz Colm4 days ago

    Bahaha what an exhausting day! It’s so true. Maybe a vocal detox is in order! 😄 Fun writing and congrats on the top story!

  • Tressa Rose4 days ago

    All too relatable! Congrats on making top story though!

  • Trip L.4 days ago

    Well, sh__. Even my experience as a failing author is unoriginal. 🤣 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece.

  • Kendall Defoe 4 days ago

    This sounds...very, very familiar... Hmm... 😉

  • Carminum4 days ago

    This made me laugh out loud, great work.

  • E.K. Daniels4 days ago

    Your dream came true—congrats on TS!

  • This was so good to read! Thank you for the laugh and honesty. You nailed it!

  • Alyssa Nicole4 days ago

    This is definitely relatable! I love how you captured the whole vicious cycle of checking Vocal. I pretty much do this daily...Congrats on Top Story!

  • Heather Hubler4 days ago

    I don't know if it's awesome, sad, neurotic, or crazy (probably all) that we all seem to rotate through this same cycle. Love the way you wrote this. So happy that it received top story, and that this comment will add to your notifications and stats!!

  • JBaz4 days ago

    Ok, I laughed, and agreed with what you said. The way you wrote this was perfect, it was like we were have a discussion over coffee. There are so many writers on vocal that it seems you get missed while others are repetitive winners. Regardless keep writing, look what it got you. Congratulations

  • Rachel Deeming4 days ago

    Have you been spying on me? I am starting to wonder if talking about Vocal in stories gets you Top Story. Not taking anything away from you with that comment because this was legitimately excellent. Funny and apt. Congrats on TS!

  • Great! Well written m!

  • Hannah Moore4 days ago

    Perhaps we should have colour coded dots - like, blue ones for other people's publications or something! Well done.

  • Kelsey Clarey4 days ago

    Oh gosh this is too relateable! lol. Congrats on the top story!

  • Fahhan4 days ago

    Congrats! I think you got something out of it! I just joined yesterday, and I thought it was just me feeling lost in the vocal land. If I had read this earlier maybe who knows...

  • That was really funny, I loved the flow and tone of it. Felt very human too, probably a lot of people have felt this in certain capacities. Oh and congrats on Top Story! Wonders if this is Vocal verifying that this is how we SHOULD be conducting our days…

  • Lane Burns4 days ago

    I feel that some days!

  • Babs Iverson4 days ago

    You know the drill!!! Hilarious and congratulations on Top Story too!!!❤️❤️💕

  • This is my day most days! 🤣 Congrats on Top Story! Made me laugh!

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