The Top Six Favourite Stories

A Picture, A Story so far

Okay, I admit it. I’m getting a bit hung up on the stats and analytics of A Picture, A Story at the moment. I am hopeful that my daily photo prompts are useful for writers looking for inspiration or just wanting to maintain a regular habit of story writing.

Every now and again I check out the graphs and pie-charts for my website and I try to understand, for the umpteenth time, what engagement is and what impressions are on Pinterest. I find it all a bit of a circus but what motivates me is that I’m keen to create helpful content in this tiny corner of the internet, not just fill it with yet more pointless fluff, compelling as that can be.

Daily writing

Setting myself this task of writing daily for ten minutes has been illuminating in a number of ways. For a start, I had no idea at all that I had it in me to find a story every single day, then write it for ten minutes and publish it for the world to read. As of today, 13th May 2019, I have written 133. 133!

When I first started this back in January I had no specific decision process for choosing a photograph, other than, “Shit. I need to publish a photograph today.” Fortunately I have thousands of them from many years of taking photographs. The best thing too is that I’ve kept them. I have plenty to sift through, as digital files, scans on CDs or paper images collected in packets stored under the bed. The challenge, I’m understanding now, is choosing something that might connect with a stranger.

Getting on and writing

Sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes I forget to write. The weekends can be the hardest days to find those precious ten minutes. Often those stories are the weakest. Written while I have one ear listening to the needs of my family.

Looking back at the stories I have published so far, I can see my writing ‘tics’; words and phrases I use a lot and types of story I seem to be unable to leave alone. My husband, who kindly reads many of them, has noticed that dogs keep cropping up. We bought an actual dog last year. Clearly her position in our family has become very prominent.

Often I find myself having to catch up with the days that I haven’t written a story or haven’t had the time to publish one I’ve written or I need to spend time scheduling more photos. What I have learnt is not to beat myself up about it. I am, funnily enough, only human. I do catch up in the end and always resolve to be more diligent in the future.

I am nothing if not determined to become a better writer and this website is, at its heart, about my journey. I’ve said before that none of this is about perfection. It’s all about getting on and doing and learning along the way. With this in mind I find it helpful to understand the stories that have brought people here and the ones that make them stay awhile.

The Top Six Favourites for A Picture, A Story

My criteria for disseminating the Top Six Favourites is as you might expect, pretty simple. They are: My favourite story, my husband’s most recent top favourite, the two joint favourites from Pinterest (the pins that generated a click through) and the two most popular prompts from the website analytics.

No. 1 - Meet me here

What will happen to Sandra? This is my husband’s top favourite at the moment. He wants to know where the story will go. Maybe this is one I’ll come back to and work on further. I like Sandra. I’ve felt like her sometimes, feeling that social anxiety in an event I’m unprepared for. My husband pointed out two things he enjoyed. The laughing woman who ignores Sandra or, more likely, doesn’t see her. She’s too preoccupied with the laughing man she turns to face. He also likes the line, ‘One for her and one for her too,’ as Sandra helps herself to two glasses of free champagne.

No. 2 & No. 3 - Birdfeeders & Accidental

Every few days or so I create pins of my prompts for my daily prompt Pinterest board. Birdfeeders and Accidental are joint first place with the most clicks through to the website. As with all these websites and apps, a mysterious algorithm is at work determining if, when, how my/your pins appear in anyone’s feed. Why these two in particular are successful is anyone’s guess. And when I say successful I’m talking about a handful of clicks, nothing viral but that’s okay. As my wise husband pointed out to me, those clicks are proper engagement from people that are interested. Ah yes, so true.

No. 4 - Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is rated as the most visited story according to the website analytics. Last night, a notification popped up on my phone saying there had been a ‘spike in traffic.’ on A Picture, A Story. How exciting! A spike in traffic. What did it mean? Seventeen visits! That’s what! I had posted a link to Mother’s Day on Facebook earlier that day. Even though I am a terrible Facebook user, rarely there, rarely post, when I do, my friends and family are kind enough to visit my efforts and read my words. Thank you.

No. 5 - Is that real?

Is that real? is the second most visited story according to Squarespace. I’m surprised at this as it’s an abstract picture with an equally abstract title. I try, when I remember, to upload each prompt as a story on Instagram. Sometimes I get into a daily routine with it. Often though I forget and end up uploading four or five at a time. But people do wander over from time to time, leaving their scrolling feed for my random stories. Thank you to whomever makes that effort. I appreciate it.

No. 6 - Washroom flowers

This is my personal favourite. Washroom flowers is the story when I really started to close in on details and trust that a story will bubble up out of me. I like the idea of the bees using the mother’s head to circle around instead of the flowers. I like that the narrator’s voice gets trapped in the door as it slams shut behind her. There’s an idea here about death and the possibility of life that might ‘have legs’. Another one I may come back to.

So there they are six of the best. What do you think? To read the stories click through using the images below. These are examples of the image cards I upload to Pinterest. I’m thinking about making a never-ending page of them. Maybe.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy the stories. Comments are open so do let me know your thoughts.

Tanya ClarkeComment