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Big Vocal Goals: What a Difference a Summer Makes

And to think I almost quit a second time

By Rebecca MortonPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
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Big Vocal Goals: What a Difference a Summer Makes
Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

After a year of writing on both Medium and Vocal, the battle between these two publishing platforms in my life was coming to a decisive end. Vocal had lost.

After writing dozens of stories on Medium, earning not much money ,(but enough to usually pay for my monthly membership in its Partner Program), and followers in the low hundreds, I wasn't doing anything like that as a member of Vocal+. I made a few cents, never got a Top Story, and didn't place in the Vocal Challenge I entered.

I quit Vocal+.

Vocal soon offered me a second chance. I could return to Vocal+ and get the first four months free. OK, I'd give it another try.

This time I understood that Vocal is a different animal than Medium. Stories appear and disappear among so many every day in all the different Vocal Communities, it isn't reasonable to try to build up a following very quickly. Rather, I would try to get my writing noticed through entering Vocal Challenges.

I do some of my best writing when responding to prompts, and Vocal Challenges are prompts for prize money! And even if I don't win, more readers will see my work because it's prominently featured with Challenge submissions.

I entered eight more Vocal Challenges in the next eight months. By this past July, I hadn't won anything, didn't get many more reads, and thought about quitting Vocal+ again.

My grown daughter visited me the first week of August so we could "Barbenheimer", meaning we could see the movies Oppenheimer and Barbie in the same week. It was on one of those days between seeing the two movies that it happened:

My sitcom pilot pitch became a runner-up in the Pitch Your Pilot Challenge!

It was the ninth story I submitted to a Vocal Challenge. I wrote it mainly because I had a TV writing class coming up and thought it would be good to work on something I could use in my class. Funny how the one story I wrote mostly for something having nothing to do with Vocal was the first to be recognized in a Vocal Challenge!

Later this past August, a story I submitted to another challenge didn't win, but became a Top Story. A month after that, another story I wrote became a runner-up in the Next Great [American] Novel Challenge! And a month after that...

My poem "If I Give A Space Glob a Crayon", became the Second Place Winner in the Extraterrestrial Challenge!

Stories I submitted to Vocal in July, August, and September managed to either place, become a Top Story, or, in one case, WIN SECOND PRIZE!

If I could do so much as a member of Vocal+ in just the summer of 2023, I have new hope for what I can achieve in 2024.

But, of course, I can't do it alone. I know I have to pay my success forward by reading more work of my fellow Vocal writers and commenting. That way, we can all help one another make 2024 a great year for our writing and reading.

What I want to focus on next in particular is a Vocal Community that will be new for me: Interviews. I have a family member with a distinguished career that I would like to interview first, but we haven't set anything up yet, so I will not divulge any more information about that now.

Interviewing is a skill I know I need to learn and practice, and I think Vocal is a good place to start. Whatever comes of my interviews, be it a future book, podcast, feature film (I can dream, right?), I can see Vocal as a space to let me take a good running start toward my creative nonfiction goals beginning as part of the Interview Community on Vocal.

I think if I keep my focus on only one or two Vocal Communities, readers will get more of a chance to get to know me and where to find me than if I randomly submit my writing to many communities at once. If Interviews turns out not to be a new home for me on Vocal, I'm sure to find another in the vast array of them in 2024 and beyond.

Thanks for a great summer, Vocal!

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About the Creator

Rebecca Morton

My childhood was surrounded by theatre people. My adulthood has been surrounded by children! You can also find me on Medium here: https://medium.com/@becklesjm, and now I have a Substack newsletter at https://rebeccamorton.substack.com/

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