The Daily Prompt

My initial position toward writing a blog here on WordPress was tentative and a little hostile. I was living in tentative and hostile circumstances. I’d just published my first novel Martin of Gfenn, a process I’d fucked up from the get go and had to redeem through long and difficult penance (but I did it). I was about to publish my second novel, Savior, and having learned a lot from my first publishing debacle (one could call it an experience) I sought help. I hired an editor, I read books, I followed instructions.

I’d learned that I didn’t know everything after all and I was not God’s gift to writing. Still… A book I read said, “Publishing a blog on WordPress is absolutely necessary to succeed selling your self-published novel.”

So there I was.

My first blog post was on December 21, 2013. It was based on the Daily Prompt; it was “Forgive and Forget — Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.”

Back then, WP gave real writing prompts, not just single words. I like the single words better because I often found the prompts constricting. My perspective on the Daily Post was that it was stupid and I didn’t need it and only losers wrote it, but I was going to do it every single day, dammit, to sell my books.

So here we are, five years later, and WordPress has decided to kill the Daily Post as they’ve killed other things over the years. You can read their marketing message (because that’s what it is) here if you haven’t read it already.

How did the Daily Post work for me in my stated goal of selling books? I have sold some books because of the Daily Post. Not a lot of books. I don’t write bestsellers. And while that has been a benefit the big benefit for me as a writer has been the surprisingly good short stories that have come out of the Daily Post. I wouldn’t have written them if I hadn’t developed the habit of sitting down with my coffee and smoothie every morning, checking the Daily Post, and writing my thing.

There would be no Lamont and Dude. No bleak stories of failed love relationships. No somewhat funny stories about small town cops. I wrote them purely as recreation. I’m not the person to write mysteries or time-travel stories, but now I’ve written those, too. How cool is that?

The other aspect of the Daily Post is that it connects people because people write about themselves. In the beginning, I found this particularly lame, but over time, I saw it is not lame at all. It wasn’t long before my blog had attracted a small network of readers, some of whom have now been “with” me for the whole time. They are people I have actually come to know and to like. In my dark times, some of them have offered moral support and kindness that I didn’t expect. That happened yesterday when I was so blue about the slow (not really slow, just feels slow) progress healing from my hip replacement and from missing my dogs. A dog-loving woman in Australia, Tracy of Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has read my blog since she signed up. She’s also reviewed (and loved) two of my books. She’s talented artist — with mosaic no less — and a person I wish lived across the street because we’d have a lot of fun together. She read my post yesterday, and, on her blog, wrote something caring, insightful and loving just to help me out of the doldrums and to remind me that it will get better. She even included a song she has correctly identified as my “anthem.” When I read Running Up that Hill and listened to “my anthem,” I cried. I needed a good cry. I cried from the happiness of being understood and a little bit from the sadness of knowing I probably will not be running up that hill.

So here’s stupid WordPress with an element on their blogging platform that’s very popular and that creates connections between people. I suppose their decision to kill it is money motivated, but I pay for all my blogs. I don’t have to, but I chose, to put the websites for my novels her on WordPress and I pay for all four of them.

Makes no sense to me at all.


14 thoughts on “The Daily Prompt

  1. I found most of the people I follow through the Daily Prompt. I’ve tried using the search function for people/topics that interest me, but it is so hit or miss, I really don’t bother searching anymore.

    I didn’t mean to upset you, Martha. I hope you’ll be able to hike, even if you can’t run. Sounds like Dusty T might be slowing down himself.

    • You didn’t upset me. You made me feel seen and cared for and understood and even loved. I appreciated your blog post so much. I’ve had this big lump in my throat since the surgery — I think all the fear that goes with you into an operating room, then the relief of it being over, the fear it won’t work, all the drugs — it’s just a stew of weirdness. I needed to let go and I needed to hear that song. ❤ Yep. Dusty T. is slowing down, too, and Bear never did go very fast.

  2. I was stunned when I read they were shutting down the Daily Prompt. I don’t write, Martha. Well, barely….and when I want to. I wait for the word and find a photo. Put a one- or two-line caption on it and that is it. But I struggle to find a photo that I think goes with the prompt. And I read others and post comments…that’s how you meet people, right? You ‘talk’ to them. I don’t know what I’m gonna do…make up my own stuff, I guess. I am smiling that Tracy posted something so great it made you cry. What a sweet gift. I’m going to read it now. Love to you.

    • Love to you too, Lois. It was so nice what Tracy did. It brightened up my day so much. I can’t believe they’re killing the prompt, either. I don’t know what their thing is. 😦

  3. They will kill themselves off. That’s the way this works. You cannot turn a blogging site into “facebook” because only facebook is facebook and Instagram is Instagram. WP has been very successful primarily because of these things they are killing off. Those of us with established blogs won’t be hurt much by this, but it will be much harder for new bloggers to connect with other people. It’s a stupid move that will gain them nothing but hostility from existing bloggers and new bloggers will give it a try and then give it up because there’s no hand reaching out to help them.

    It’s sad, but I think we are watching WP strangle itself to death

  4. As a realtive newcomer, whos has thoroughly enjoyed coming here and finding delightful human be-ings such as you, Martha, Marilyn, and so many I can’t possibly name here, I’m thoroughly heart-broken at this news. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to find you or others that I’ve so enjoyed following. It has been a constant inspiration and challenge to come up with something for the daily post and I’ll give you my email here, if you are interested in keeping in contanct. in case I lose track of you, which I hope I never do! I’m so discouraged at the moment! I can’t tell you how much.

      • My son and I discussed this situation after reading your post. He’s willing to set something up, “Our Daily Post” and if you are interested, you and Marilyn, I’ll run it on my blog and give you and Marilyn access as admins to come up with a word or idea for the day. I’ll send out links to everyone on wp. He’s game and if you two are, we will do this. Let me know what you think ok? I need to contact Marilyn as well.

  5. I second Marilyn, I have been there and had to see how a good site disappeared through greed. I have read the comments people have made on the official death sentence. Ben’s words seem to come from the test tube of the cyberworld. Actually I quite like Ben, he is just the instrument being used to bring the bad news from Aix to Ghent. Personally I no longer have the energy to do something myself and will wait and see what happens. Many are now gripping the initiative to do something. I just do not see why we should pay for something we have to do ourselves.

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