Welcome Readers & Writers!

WELCOME READERS & WRITERS

Welcome all you wonderful readers and writers. I’m Tanya. I started this website at the very beginning of the year with a kernel of an idea. Having been practicing photography for over 20 years, I have a considerable stash of photographs in paper and digital form. I have long been interested in the stories that accompany the making of photographs. I am also interested in the unique stories we all have and bring to every picture. I wondered if my archive of photographs could be put to good use as prompts to inspire writers to cultivate a daily writing habit. After all if you want to get good at anything you need to practice. Yes?

This isn’t my first foray into the world of websites, blogging and the internet. I worked for a number of years as a web designer freelancing at companies in and around London from 1998 to 2004. Early on I set up my own website www.flicker.co.uk to showcase my portfolio of web design work. I’ve had Flicker ever since. It’s been a space for me to play, practise and experiment. Now it’s time for a change.

In July 2017 I moved to Canada from the UK with my husband and two daughters. For business. For work. It’s funny how a change can create a shift in perspective. I completed an online creative writing course in 2018. I loved it. I found a wonderful group of writers who I share ideas with. I trust them to support and guide me. I try to do the same for them.

The first lesson was learning how to freewrite. I’d never heard of this before. I was admittedly a little wary. But over time I came to understand its value. Writing well takes practice. Just like everything. Freewriting creates a space to do that with no judgement or self-criticism to bring you down. So the point of A Picture, A Story is to practice writing. Every day. Using one of my photos as a prompt.

With my Mum - date is 1970 I think

With my Mum - date is 1970 I think

Write, connect and share

Writing can be such a solitary activity. All that tapping on a keyboard and countless cups of coffee. I’d like A Picture, A Story to develop and grow into a community of like-minded creative writers. I’d like this to be a space where writers can connect and share. This is not, definitely not a place for hard-nosed criticism. I am not concerned with the production of fabulous literary pieces of work, important though that might be. This isn’t about who is best, who is the winner and who takes home the trophy. This is about getting on and doing.

I publish my own ten minute stories every day for my own accountability. I schedule a photo to be published at 10am. I then handwrite my story in my notebook. The following day I type it up and publish it underneath its prompt picture. I leave the photo with no story for 24 hours. I think this only fair. When you’re trying to find your own story you may not want my words muddying your thoughts.

Sometimes when we create we can become hampered by our own desires to get something perfect. Letting go of that perfectionism can be alarming. When it really counts, of course, you must strive to get it right. However, when you’re practising or warming up, that is the time to play. What is it they say about kids? That they learn best while playing. I think us grown-ups forget that. I hope that here you get to imagine and play.

Also, you may find you have the same ideas repeating themselves. That’s okay. I know I do. When you decide to sit down and write something longer those ideas have had time to seed and grow within you. You’ll be able to write from there.

Aged about 4 with our dog Kimmy and my rag doll which was called Dolly

Aged about 4 with our dog Kimmy and my rag doll which was called Dolly

A journey of creative writing

Here in my journal, I’ll be writing articles about all the things I find that are helpful and interesting along my journey of creative writing. I am no expert in this. I haven’t studied for a degree in literature. But there are things that I have found already in a short time that have helped improve the quality of the stories I write.

My plan is to publish an article every couple of weeks. The prompt gallery is updated daily at 10am Pacific Time.

That’s me on the right. Check out that analogue flash. Oh, how I love instamatic cameras! 1988/89

That’s me on the right. Check out that analogue flash. Oh, how I love instamatic cameras! 1988/89

This is all for you dear writer!

Finding the time to write can be endlessly difficult. Using the daily photo prompts published here, try to find ten minutes to sit down and write that story. It doesn’t need to be great. You only have to read my efforts to know that not much of it is gold, if any. But after a month or so of doing, you will look back through your notebook and have 30 stories. 30! There might be a seed of something in there that you want to grow. But you will never know unless you sit down for that ten minutes a day.

We might not all get our stories published in a glossy book with an author photo and fabulous reviews. For some that is not the end goal. Often, the end goal is simply in the doing.

Before children, 2002

Before children, 2002

Share your stories

I encourage you with a warm heart to share your stories in the comments of the picture that’s touched you. You can do this anonymously, with a pseudonym or with your own name, loud and proud. Any stories in poor taste or unkind comments will be blocked. This is a space for kindness and support. Being nasty gets you nowhere and out of here, fast.

I’d love to eventually have some guest writers, maybe even a published author here and there, to write an article. That would be amazing. There are three guest posts for the prompt gallery currently being finalised as I write this.

Ultimately I’m wanting to grow a supportive community of creative writers. A place to share thoughts and stories. And if you’re anything like me I need accountability. Something that pushes me to just get on and stop fussing or overthinking. I am a terrible procrastinator. Are you? Lately I’ve been wondering if that comes from a lack of confidence and the crippling worry, ‘What will other people think?’ This duo of anxiety, pointless I might add, has often stopped me pursuing things I’d like to do. If I may say, Lose that shit. It doesn’t do you any favours.

Keeping in touch

When I first started this website I thought the natural way forward would be a Newsletter. After some thinking and reading I’ve decided that a better way for you (and me) is to send out an email here and there with one maybe two links. One to the latest Journal post and one to a popular story in the Prompt Gallery. I figure you are all busy people and who the hell has the time to click through endless links to articles that you have little time to read. One or two from me is enough.

If you would like to be included in this list please click here. In your confirmation email you’ll receive a link to download FOR FREE my guide on freewriting. Hooray! This place is amazing. Thank you for reading. Now. Get writing.

With my husband Jim, Christmas 2018

With my husband Jim, Christmas 2018

WelcomeTanya ClarkeComment