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My aspirations without artifice

By D.K. ShepardPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 2 min read
Photo by Daniel Álvasd on Unsplash

Dear Reader,

If you’ve read my poem “An Artifice Addict’s Attempt at Non-fiction” you know I don’t like writing about myself, if you haven’t read it (no reason you should’ve), now you know.

However, one thing I appreciate about Vocal is the challenge to do things that are new or uncomfortable. I know that outside my box and bubble is where the squeezing and pressing occur that lead to growth. So here it goes: a more sincere attempt at non-fiction.

I’ve only ever wanted to write one thing since I was fourteen: a fantasy novel. And during the height of the pandemic, I finished what had become more than a decade long endeavor. Left to my own devices, fantasy novels are all I would ever write, but thanks to classes in high school and college and now the challenges and prompts I engage with on Vocal I keep expanding.

I love reading and writing poetry. Sometimes I forget that for weeks, months, even years…Vocal helps remind me. As I practice my craft in poetry and short stories, I know there are so many benefits that make my novel writing stronger. Easier said than done of course, and I expect plenty of headaches in experimenting with new concepts and approaches.

As a teacher of students I know it and in my own journey I know it: there is no learning without struggle. So my goal is to struggle more. Learn more.

Accountability. I desperately need it. After a long writing hiatus due to life circumstances (right after joining Vocal), I’m still in the early stages of discovering how to operate within the Vocal community. Even so, it has given me that accountability I crave. Not only to write, but to read too.

There is much to be gained from the feedback of others, but often more to be gained by pressing oneself to provide feedback. In a space where I can examine the writings of others and determine the strengths in their works, I can appreciate and learn from my contemporaries. And that’s an opportunity for which I’m most grateful.

I hope to enter something I’m proud of for each challenge (almost discarded that goal when the #200 was announced) and read as many challenge winners as possible. Some days I’ll get to read a lot of the Top Stories and published pieces of creators I subscribe to, and other days not a single one.

I’m a writer through and through, but foremost I’m a daughter, wife, sister, friend, and teacher. Living life in these roles is where I discover things worth writing about, so I will set goals, then aim for balance.

Vocal, I anticipate and hope, will be a big part of this upcoming year for me. It is the one online space that does not overwhelm me with some requirement to wave a brightly colored flag and scream “Here I am! Look at me!” Instead, I’ll be content to write and to be here whenever someone wanders my way.


D.K. Shepard

(Whew, made it! Unlike with fiction challenges, no need to take a weed wacker to my word count on this one!)


About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.


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Comments (3)

  • Hannah Moore4 months ago

    I hear this! I'm struggling with the inverse at the moment, I feel sure it's something I can do, but I'm not quite nailing it...and I kind of value that!

  • sleepy drafts5 months ago

    "...there is no learning without struggle. So my goal is to struggle more. Learn more." I love this outlook. I feel like this is the best mentality you could have when striving towards a big goal. This was a wonderful entry to the challenge and I'm excited to read more from you!

  • Hayley Matto5 months ago

    Wishing you luck on the novel & pushing boundaries this year!

D.K. ShepardWritten by D.K. Shepard

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