Stock Fiction: Year One

A multimedia intro(retro)spective.

The above creation deserves a widescreen experience. Speakers up. Loud cheering encouraged.

Year One—Done!

Welcome back to

, the short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, humor, and multimedia publication inspired by stock photography.

My Substack baby is one year old today. I thought it would be fun to commemorate the milestone with a little video tribute, which happens to be a side passion of mine. You should see the epic I created for my son’s first birthday eleven years ago. It’s almost as inspiring as his first year of human life. Almost.

Sometimes it takes reflecting back on a stretch of time to appreciate its significance. To sift through the experiences, the highs and lows, the irrefutable evidence that you created something from nothing and now that something exists in the world because you made it so. To take stock of your accomplishments, and to celebrate them.

This has never been easy for me. But thanks to the community of generous and inspiring people rallying around my creative work on this platform, it’s getting much, much easier.

Growth Through Connection

Like most people starting an online publication from ground zero, my primary goal this past year was subscriber growth. Watching that little number climb from eight to … way more than eight … was my metric for how well (or poorly) I was doing. But I’ve learned, over the past twelve months, that subscriber count is not the best metric for my success.

A better metric, and the one I plan to nurture more actively in year two, is the growing number of personal connections I’ve made with other writers.

The idea of “finding a community” has always intimidated me. When it comes to relationships, I’m slow to warm and slow to trust. There are exceptions to this, of course. Some people I’ve just clicked with from moment one and never looked back. Like my college roommate who’s still my best friend to this day. And my husband, who’s still my husband after nineteen years. And my kids, who kind of got a free pass, but it worked out.

But I never thought I would find people like that here, on the god-forsaken internet of all places. But I did. I found a lot of great people1. And they found me, which is a win all around because I’m pretty awesome. 🙂

asphalt road between trees
Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

The Road Ahead

The question all creatives are expected to answer after reaching a notable milestone on their journey is, of course, what’s next?

And to that question I have no concrete answer. Just a bucket list of destinations and a plethora of paths to reach them.

There are just dreams, ideas, and experiments.

There is only risk, fear, hope, promise, and possibility.

“Every big break is preceded by countless failures. It takes guts to succeed because you can't be afraid to look like an ass first. Often. And potentially for a very long time.” - Meg Oolders

I said that? Damn. That’s wise AF.  

Goal for Year Two: Swing Big and Follow Through

I have a distinct childhood memory of pitching a giant beach ball to myself in my front yard. I took a big swing, made contact, and then got slammed in the side of the head with the bat. Apparently, it had pulled some kind of “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” witchcraft to teach me a valuable lesson.

The lesson: It’s not enough to swing big. You have to follow through.

Or risk getting cracked in the head with a baseball bat.

Metaphorically speaking.


was a big swing for me. Bigger than writing five novels. Bigger than pitching agents and publications. Bigger than quitting my job two years ago to become a full-time writer.   

It forced me to stretch. To explore and adapt. To listen and connect. And it gave me countless opportunities to make an ass of myself.

But have I reached the limit? Have I followed ALL THE WAY through?

Can I stretch myself further?

Can I explore and adapt even more?

Can I listen more closely and connect on a deeper level?

Can I make an even bigger ass of myself?


I definitely can.

Whether you are brand new to

, or you’ve been around a while, I’m very glad you’re here. As we venture into year two together, you can expect more of everything that makes this little corner of the internet special. More humor, more heart, more wisdom, more snark, more connection, and more experimentation.

I’d love it if you’d jump in the comments today and join me in celebrating one year done on Substack. And if there’s anything you want to see MORE of in year two, consider the

suggestion box open!

Leave a comment

Yours truly (and in fiction),


I can’t properly thank everyone in this limited space, but I hope that by receiving a humble mention here, these writers (and readers) will know their existence on planet earth has meant something to me, personally and/or professionally, over the last year.



Stock Fiction
AV Club
Story/Media mashups. Short films, podcasts, voiceovers, and more.
Meg Oolders