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For The #200 Challenge

By Babs IversonPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
LOOKING BACK              
Photo by Eyestetix Studio on Unsplash

Stuck? Perhaps, a plan, a to-do list, or a road map could help.

Stephen King said,

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Don't remember the exact date that I selected the graphic picture and wrote a title. Then, my writing stopped. By the way, that's something I have in common with Stephen King, and the only thing we have in common.

Reviewing Vocal's #200 challenge, the hours are slowly dwindling just like a New Year's Eve countdown. Googling New Year's, the first two choices are ball drop and resolutions. Resolutions aren't scary. However, resolutions can set us up for disappointment.

For this challenge, instead of resolutions, Vocal's prompt is aspirations as a creator. An aspiration is a hope of achieving something. So, when I think of aspirations, my to-do lists come to mind. A to-do list keeps me focused on achieving things. Crossing off the item virtually or physically from my lists on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis is a positive activity.

While there are negatives in our lives, we can't avoid them. Wish we could. It's best not to wallow or stay in the negativity. Why? Because our minds tend to believe everything that we tell them. If you tell yourself, you can't. Guess what? You are correct! It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you tell yourself, you can do it. Magic happens! You can do it!

Vocal .media

Looking back in my rearview mirror, I published 91 stories last year. Except for January 2023, I had one or two Top Stories each month. Was humbled and grateful for the validation.

Unfortunately, having a Top Story caused me to experience epic expectations for winning that challenge. Each time, the Top Story didn't make the winner's list, disappointment raised its ugly head. It was heartbreaking and crushing.

My aspiration for 2024 is to dial down my expectations allowing the validation of a Top Story and the comments from other creators to be enough. Why? Because I am so grateful to all the talented Vocal creators who read and comment on my stories. It is enough!

At the beginning, I entered every challenge. It was last year that I became more selective in writing stories for the challenges of my choosing and completed all that was on my to-do list. I am proud of that accomplishment. My aspiration for 2024 is to continue being selective and to take my time editing stories.

Admittedly, the encouragement and support from creators is one of many Vocal Media attributes. Honestly, it's one of the best. Bolstering and cheering each other on, my only hope is that my hearts and comments make a creator's day special as much as theirs makes mine. My aspiration for 2024 is to continue to read and support other creators.

Dan Pink said,

“Writing is an act of discovering what you think and what you believe.”

Sitting down with paper and pen does nothing for me, but, give me a computer and something magical happens. For example, in 2023, I wrote my first Limerick. The Limerick made the Top Story. If that isn't magic, I don't know what is. I believe in friendship. Friendship was a theme in my top-read stories and poems last year. In addition, Several poem formats were attempted too. As they say, if you think you can, you can.

Last year, reading Vocal creators' stories, led to monetary rewards for being most supportive on the weekly Leaderboard. Besides most supportive, received rewards for the most discussed stories and most liked stories. Vocal's Leaderboard is another way to recognize creators. Grateful for it!

Overall last year was a good year for me on Vocal.

In April, purchased new glasses, and eight months later, saw the optometrist. My left eye is to a point that the inevitable can't be delayed any longer. While cataract surgery hasn't been scheduled yet, it will happen this Summer. I am sure that the surgery will cut into my writing and reading on Vocal. My aspiration for 2024 is to write as often as I'm able which will include trying a new community or two and reading as often as I can. Reading and writing will depend on my vision.

David Foster Wallace said,

Reading good nonfiction is an opportunity “to watch somebody reasonably bright, but also reasonably average, pay far closer attention and think at far more length about all sorts of different stuff than most of us have a chance to in our daily lifes.”

Reading other creators' stories is the best way to support Vocal members. I have learned so much from other creators and continue to grow from their insights, informative articles, and stories.

Lastly, I aspire to paint better stories with words, to show more than tell, and to keep it simple. Cheers to 2024!

Author's notes: Thank you for reading. You are appreciated.

Quotes from the link below:



About the Creator

Babs Iverson

Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.

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Comments (23)

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Great job congratulations

  • Denise E Lindquist4 months ago

    Great story for the challenge Babs! ❤️

  • I love this, it's inspiring and humbling at the same time. It's so important to manage our expectations as only so much is within our control and to be grateful for what we have, which here is community :)

  • Clyde E. Dawkins5 months ago

    Here's hoping 2024 goes well for you, too!

  • Kendall Defoe 5 months ago

    Aspire, aspire, aspire... And I liked your comments on Top Stories! I thought I'd at least place with a few Challenges and the disappointment hurt. But we go on... Good luck!

  • Leslie Writes5 months ago

    Yes, aspirations, not resolutions. It can be daunting. You have a great outlook 💖 Cheers, Babs!

  • I'm sooooo happy for all your achievements Babs! Here's to more Top Stories and challenge wins! I love reading your pieces! All the best for your cataract surgery. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

  • Kodah5 months ago

    Love the aspirations, Babs!! Good luck for 2024!! 💞💓💓

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    Nicely done,.my friend. You got some good aspirations. Good luck in 2024.

  • A limerick was my first Top Story here on Vocal, too, & only made so because of Judey Kalchik's friendship & support as she lifted it up as something to be read. Thank you for sharing this with us, Babs. Here's wishing you the best in 2024.

  • Catherine Dorian5 months ago

    Babs, I subscribed to you about six months ago, when I first got started on here. Since then, I've seen your name appear in my notifications dozens of times. I admire you for how much you write on Vocal, but also for your self-awareness in this post. I too feel crushed when one of my Top Stories doesn't win a Challenge, but, like you, I have to not lose sight of the fact that having a platform at all -- having readers who like and comment -- is itself beautiful and validating. Thank you for this. I love your writing and incorporating of Dan Pink and David Foster Wallace, two of the wise minds of writing. I hope all goes well with your surgery, too!

  • JBaz5 months ago

    Your last item is wonderful. Good luck in 2024

  • Tiffany Gordon 5 months ago

    Well done Babs! It's an honor to read your work! Can't wait to see what new awesome stories that you create in 2024! 😊

  • Sid Aaron Hirji5 months ago

    We really appreciate how you elaborate on what the challenges entail. Love your work

  • Lamar Wiggins5 months ago

    I loved the inclusions of the quotes. They make you take a moment and think. And I loved what you had to say about negativity and looking past it in order to stay positive and focused. Great advice!!! Best of luck to you this year, Babs! It’s creators/people like you that make this platform so welcoming! Thank you!

  • Samia Afra5 months ago

    Appreciation received and reciprocated. Thank you for your story.

  • Laura Lann5 months ago

    Some great focuses! I look forward to reading through your 2024. :)

  • Amethyst Champagne5 months ago

    Great story!

  • Hannah Moore5 months ago

    Aye, those challenge misses - sometimes it stings, sometimes it doesnt, but I'd be lying if I claimed I didnt want it. We just need to not let it govern us.

  • Marguerite Brown5 months ago

    I found your piece to be inspirational and encouraging. Writing requires both intention and focus which you very well-articulated for those of us who sometimes struggle when we begin the process of creating.

  • Test5 months ago

    Enjoyed this Babs, great goals. I think the challenge wins can be quite arbitary. That doesn't mean the people who have won don't deserve them in any way, just that with so many to read, there are others equally deserving that slip through the net 🤍 Anyway, try not to be discouraged. Jus throw 'em in and see what happens!

  • Test5 months ago

    Wishing you a fulfilling and successful year on Vocal in 2024, filled with inspiring stories, positive connections, and continued growth as a creator. Cheers to your aspirations and the journey ahead!

  • L.C. Schäfer5 months ago

    I can relate to these goals. Knowing how nice it is to get that encouragement makes me want to spread it around!

Babs IversonWritten by Babs Iverson

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