Kim, it was great to wake up this morning and read this. Thank you so much.

I just said to a friend the other day that even though I have 5K followers there’s probably about 50 that actually engage with me on a regular basis and I feel good about that. I learn just as much from them as they may feel they learn from me.

I am a published writer but I feel it often comes with constraints. You’re either expected to write on a subject the publisher wants you to write about or the editor tears your story to shreds and asks you to revise it so many times to fit their need it almost doesn’t feel like your story anymore by the time it gets published. This is what brought me to Medium. I can write whatever I want and people will either like it or not and the truth is I’m writing for myself because I want to and for those that enjoy my writing. The world is in turmoil but not all of it. There is still human connection and the words of others bring solace.

I started the 365 writing prompt challenge because I wanted to write outside of my comfort zone and improve my craft and in hopes that others will join me. I have added you as a writer to the Hopes and Dreams publication and I do hope you will join us. We all have a story to tell. Tell your story.

Gordie Jackson writes every day about his daily experiences and his words jump out at me through my monitor and lures me into his stories. I feel connected to him because his writing has given me the opportunity to do so. Ron Collins wins the prize on story responses. His responses push me forward to keep writing. I feel fortunate and privileged to have his responses to read every day. I look forward to it. Trish Hanson writes stories that remind me that it’s okay to struggle. Those struggles make us a better person and I feel encouraged by her words. Monika Prey writes about her skating experiences and the many forms of creativity she brings to the world. When I read her writing I walk away inspired by her courage, strength, creativity and her ambition to reach her goals.

There are many more amazing people writing amazing things in our community of storytellers.

As far as feeling you are not a real writer, anyone who writes is a real writer. Pen to paper. That’s all it takes. Or now in 2017, a keyboard and a Word Doc.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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