Fortitude - innovative?

Today I am feeling that I have achieved something.

It’s nice to start the day with that feeling – so what has been the reason for this?  Let’s start with a little background.

In my old job (left 2 1/2 years ago), I used to be responsible for internal and external communications for a major charity’s retail chain (around 600 shops across the country).  This explains my passion for the charity sector and charity shops in particular.

I have always had a passion for writing, and this is one of the reasons that I have blogged for many years, written diaries before the days of online blogs, and also have a few (probably dire) poems and short stories knocking around from many many years ago at home.

However, my job used to involve a lot of writing, including a hell of a lot of Press Releases.  And slowly but surely, this seemed to sap my personal creativeness.  I found that I couldn’t face going home and trying to put loads of words together into something meaningful as I’d been doing it all day, 5 days a week.  And everyone is a critic, of course.  The charity being what it was, there was so much red tape and layers of management in so many areas (as my work used to cross over so many departments) that I ended up feeling that I could never write to the best of my ability.

So I gave up any form of personal writing because even the thought of writing exhausted me.

I think it took me two years for my fingers to itch and for me to start getting my thoughts down again – hence starting this blog.  And last week, I actually started thinking about how I could start developing my writing again – should I go to a creative writing class for example – although in reality I’m a bit too poor for that.

So, I felt it was a sign when I stumbled across Fortitude as the site only started last week.

Fortitude describes itself as ‘a daily magazine for being human’ and is a really innovative idea.  For a very reasonable annual subscription of less than £17, you have the opportunity to submit articles for publishing.  This is then put to a democratic vote as once you have signed up, you can review articles that have been submitted and give them a rating of 1-10.

The articles with the highest ratings are published on the ‘Front Page’ and others that reach the minimum rating for that day are put on the ‘Inside pages’.  Inside page articles earn the writer $1 and front page pieces can earn from $10 – $100 depending various factors.  Also, every article you rate earns you $0.02 (in the few days since I have joined, I have rated about 50 articles with subjects ranging from doing up an old dresser, to internet dating to the Bloody Sunday inquiry – I have read some REALLY interesting stuff!)

I love new ideas, and I love projects that really make you feel a part of something, and the thought of a daily magazine shaped democratically by the subscribers feels like a fantastic idea to me.

And that brings me back to my sense of achievement.  Today, the first article that I submitted was chosen to be published (please do have a read of it and let me know what you think).  It’s only on the inside page, but I definitely had that little frisson of pride that I haven’t had for a while.

Reading it again, I’m not completely convinced by it, but hey – this was my first foray into public-consumption writing for 2 1/2 years, and I shot it off in half an hour just to see whether it would make the grade.

I am so excited that it did that I have put a notepad in my bag and this morning on the Tube, I started speccing out my next article, which I am hoping will be of a far higher calibre, and hopefully make the Front Page.  I have a new goal.

So, if you’re interested in writing, and want to test whether others think you’re any good, Fortitude could well be a place to start!

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