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Why I Write for Vocal Media

A platform designed to read and share the wonderful weirdness that our minds create

By Amber BristowPublished about a year ago 6 min read
Runner-Up in Writers Challenge
Print by Miriam Myers

Today I thought I'd write something different and get a little personal with you all. So far on Vocal, I have posted a selection of poems, a few short stories and most recently I've even thrown an article in there, but I have yet to write anything that gives you a little background on me, Amber Annabelle.

In this post I am going to tell you why I write for Vocal. I completely appreciate that most people out there won't give a hoot, and that's fair enough - after all, I am just a random 24 year old from London who likes typing away on her computer, like most. However, I want to write this for the people out there who love creative writing but may not feel comfortable sharing their work with the public, as I was once in the exact same boat.

I fell in love with writing back when I was a wee tot, aged nine. Granted, everything I wrote was riddled with spelling mistakes and seriously lacked any form of narrative structure, but I loved it nonetheless.

I remember the first story I wrote was called 'Dollar'. It was about a little girl who grew up in poverty, going on a journey to seek a better life. I stayed up all day and all night writing, researching different cultures and trolling through thesaurus' to try make myself sound more intelligent. I can safely say, my mission to sound smart failed miserably, when even I couldn't understand what I had written. It was definitely a Joey moment.

In spite of my rather questionable vocabulary, I quickly became obsessed with creative writing. I spent every second of my spare time glued to my laptop, noting down whatever storyline had popped into my head that day and trying to turn it into something worth reading.

I remember, very vividly, getting excited over a piece I had written about a little boy who could time travel in his dreams. I ran to my dad and asked him to give it a read, convinced he would be just as impressed with it as I was. One thing to note about my dad: he's never been one for sugar coating the truth... so he had no issue telling me my story made absolutely no sense. He gave me some advice and tweaked a few sentences to 'inspire me', but I couldn't help but feel disheartened.

Now... would you believe me If I told you that was the last time I ever let someone read my writing? It may sound ridiculous, but it's true. In the past 15 years I have written almost every day, short little stories and even complete novels, that no one has ever seen. I had become so anxious over the idea of sharing something I felt so passionately about, in fear of being judged for it.

Fast forward to December 2022, when I stumbled across Vocal: a platform designed to read and share the wonderful weirdness that our minds create. Fuelled with excitement and a new motivation for writing, I decided then and there to give sharing my work another go. I created an account using a nickname of mine and some stock images I had grabbed from Pexels, hoping to share my short stories and poetry in the comfort of my anonymity.

My first post was a poem that I entered into the 'Uncommon' writing challenge, called 'The Forbidden Forest'. Working in the marketing world, I knew that in order for people to find my poem, I needed to promote it; so off I went to Twitter, where I created an account specifically for my writing. No more than a day later, Mike Singleton came across my profile and told me about the Vocal+ Assist Facebook group created by Rick Henry Christopher. That is where I found a whole community of people who wrote for Vocal.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about sharing my work into a group of great creators. In fact, I remember hitting the 'post' button and lobbing my phone across the bed, before hiding under the covers. I told myself I would check my phone once I had finished another episode of Firefly Lane, which gave me a whole 45 minutes to calm down.

Once the adventures of Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart had come to an end, I reached for my phone and to my delight, saw that people had already started to comment to tell me how much they liked my poem.

I can't begin to explain how much this made my day. The idea of having people out there read my work and appreciate it, meant the world to me. I ran straight to my partner and told him about the lovely comments I had received.

In the following days, I wrote a few more poems and continued to receive great feedback from the lovely people within the Vocal community. I was so chuffed with my work that I even shared a link with my family (which was a mahoosive deal to me). They gave my posts a read, told me they were impressed and said I should be proud - It was great.

Even if we put aside the wonderful community that comes along with joining the platform for a moment, there are a number of other benefits that come from writing with Vocal, some of which I have listed below:

  • You can share your work in a variety of niches and genres, allowing you to publish almost anything as long as you stay within the guidelines.
  • It is a free platform that allows you to start publishing right away.
  • You have the option to increase your earnings by signing up to Vocal+, which will cost you the same as two coffees a month.
  • Each week there are different writing challenges that you can take part in for a chance to win a grand prize of $1,000.
  • All Vocal posts are read by their moderation team and each week they add their favourite stories to the 'Top Stories' section, giving you an instant $5 and higher visibility in the Vocal community.

When I joined Vocal I took all of these points into consideration, and I'd be lying if I said the monetisation and cash prizes didn't initially draw me in; but I can honestly say that even If I never win a competition, or don't make more than a few pennies for my reads, I don't care. Having people out there reading what I have to say and liking it, even if it's just a small handful of people, means more to me than I ever thought it could.

Now I find myself in a perpetual state of excitement, constantly thinking about what I could write next. I almost find myself counting down the days until they release new challenges, just so I have a brief to work with.

So, if you started reading this and thought... yep, sounds familiar... this is my message to you to join Vocal and start sharing your work. I understand that the idea of posting your stories isn't always easy because of the emotional attachment you tend to feel for your work; and it's natural to become personally invested in a world you've cultivated - but the feeling of receiving support for something you feel passionately about is honestly unmatched.

I want to say the biggest of thankyous to the people who have brought back the excitement of sharing my work, and especially to the lovely people within the Vocal+ Assist Facebook group and the Twitter community.

If this post has in any way given you that little nudge you needed to begin posting for Vocal, feel free to share your work with me over on Twitter, where I regularly engage with and promote the writing community. I'd love to read what you have to share!

Until next time,

Amber Annabelle ✨

By Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you are curious to see what kind of content I publish, check out some of my latest stories below:

[FICTION] The Healers - Defying evil in a fight for freedom

[POETS] Daylily: A Haiku - A wonder, fleeting

[POETS] The Forbidden Forest: A Poem - A secret of rare beauty

[01] How ChatGPT is Changing The Writing Industry - Understanding the strengths and limitations of AI

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About the Creator

Amber Bristow

Regularly participating in writing challenges and #writerslift on Twitter

For more stories and updates, visit amberbristow.com

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Comments (32)

  • Joe O’Connor5 months ago

    I was searching for more info on Top Stories, and stumbled across this one. Informative, personal, helpful, and honest. Always nice to know there are others out there with similar feelings and experiences. Thanks Amber!

  • Brin J.9 months ago

    Thank you for writing this. Your journey is reassuring, as I have a similar one. So much of what you experienced, I had also. Like sharing my work with my parent, only for them to criticize it and pick it to the bones. In retrospect, it's made me a better writer, but because of the shame I felt, I don't let anyone see my work outside Vocal. Leslie was the one to reach out to me and invite me to the FB group when I was new. I'm not active on it anymore. Question, everything you've written the past fifteen years- the novels- have you published any?

  • Kelsey Clarey10 months ago

    This is great. I loved reading your thoughts on the platform and the community. Congrats on the runner up spot!

  • Ajani Israel about a year ago

    I love this 👍👍

  • MT Poetryabout a year ago

    Keep hiding and publishing, because your writing is incredibly talented!!💕🙌

  • Carol Townendabout a year ago

    Vocal gives me open spaces to practice my writing and engage with a very treasured community. I too, started writing at a young age, but many people spoke negatively about my wanting to be a writer and author. I've been on Vocal for quite a few years now, and my confidence is growing.

  • Queen of Forgiveness™about a year ago

    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself.

  • Kathleen S. Dollarabout a year ago

    To assist all single mothers, we are providing the following https://howtofreegrants.com/free-cars-for-single-mothers-government-grant/ programs designed for those single mothers who need cars. Different types of new programs provide grants to single mothers.

  • Paul Stewartabout a year ago

    Amber, late to the party, but this was so deserving of Top Story! Well done! It was great getting to know you a bit better through this and although we are coming at this from different angles kinda, I totally resonated with the nervousness you felt. I have spent over a decade writing for website owners and people like that...so I consider myself alright at that. The first time I put anything up on Vocal...especially anything that was personal or heading to fiction or poetry, I was so incredibly nervous. I still get those nerves and so the phone comment was funny and also was something I relate to. I will often hide once I put things up haha. I am so glad that I did persevere and publish and so glad you did too, because you're incredibly talented! There, mumble over! Well done!

  • Moneygramabout a year ago

    Well deserved top story 🔥

  • PK Colleran about a year ago

    Inspiring! Thank you for sharing so much. 💐

  • AZabout a year ago

    Thanks, Annabelle. I joined this platform yesterday and was curious about this platform, also looking for some tips. I'm not a regular writer and can write only when I can feel it from the inside, but coming across your post gave me a glass of inspiration to drink it all in. I must say I loved this piece of yours. You may consider giving this newbie some tips or suggestions only if you are free and willing to. Thanks again! You will be the first person I follow!

  • MANOJ KUMARabout a year ago

    Motivational and inspiring for new creator

  • Gobi Munusamyabout a year ago

    Congratulations on top story! Good story

  • Cik Uann98about a year ago

    Congratulation

  • Kendall Defoe about a year ago

    Thank you for the links and your personal story! I will be reading more...but I have more writing to do! ;)

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story and for sharing a bit about yourself. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work!

  • Solomon Chidubem Ogbonnaabout a year ago

    Interesting to find someone who is not afraid to show off her arts. More power to you.

  • Stephen A. Roddewigabout a year ago

    Why do I write for Vocal? *Mr. Krabs voice* Money!

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a year ago

    Congratulations on your top story. I enjoyed getting to know you. I have subscribed, and look forward to more adventures

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Stephanie J. Bradberryabout a year ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story!!!

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    I love this and I can relate to so much of your early writing experience! I also had someone tell me everything that was wrong with a story in order to “help” me as a kid and it put me off sharing for a long time. I’m so glad you are here now! 😁.

  • suman mohanabout a year ago

    Thank you for sharing

Amber BristowWritten by Amber Bristow

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