I've always loved fiction. In fact, my desire to be a writer sprung from all the nights I spent huddled under the covers way past my bedtime reading books that were probably way past my maturity. I cut my teeth on kid classics, like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, then moved quickly to the teen drama of S.E. Hinton (The Outsiders became a personal obsession) and Sweet Valley High. When I reached high school myself, I blazed through the required reading and added volumes of my own choosing, from the weirdly incestuous world of V.C. Andrews to the fantasy lands of Pierce Brosnan to the vampires and witches of Anne Rice. In college I discovered fancy-pants literature and fell in love, hard, with David Foster Wallace.

So yes, I've been a fan of fiction for as long as I can remember. But a writer of fiction? Not so much. I'm very comfortable blogging about life and writing stories about brands, but inventing characters and story arcs and entire worlds out of nothing? That felt like the domain of more talented and imaginative writers. 

Then I attended the conference Creative South. There, I heard a designer named Bob Ewing talk about a personal project that essentially launched his career. At that point, his work history was a bit spotty. He had studied design in school, but didn't really pursue it, so wound up working in a totally different field. When he decided it was time to go back to design, he issued himself a challenge: to hand letter one word a day, and post it on Instagram. The project was called #hashtaglettering (not a typo), and the rest is history. 

Fiction is something I've always loved and wanted to write, but was afraid to try. Because it's not what I do. Because I might not be good at it. Because I have nothing to write about. Bob's talk inspired me to give myself a simple challenge. Snap a photo of something I see every day, and just find the seeds of a story in it. I call it #startofastory. I may never finish any of them. But it sure feels good to get started. 

Here are the first few. You can find the rest on my Instagram. It's a private account, but just ask to follow and I'll approve you as long as I can follow you back to make sure you're not some creepy weirdo. Regular weirdos welcome.