Back to School: Write a (Really) Short Story #30DaysofGOOD

You don't have to show it to anyone. And it doesn't even have to be "good." Just take a crack at writing a short piece of fiction.

30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD) is our monthly attempt to live better. This month we're going "Back to School" and committing to learn something new every day.

You may not think of yourself as a writer, but it's a good bet that you do a bunch of writing throughout the course of the day. A recent report by a technology research firm called the Radicati Group found that the typical corporate email user writes 35 email messages per day (PDF).

Add to that our online chats, text messages, social media interactions, and blog posts, and we're tapping out quite a lot of words. And while plenty of studies suggest negative links between, say, texting and formal writing skills, some argue that all our online communication has helped us by enabling us to master more kinds of writing.

Wherever you stand on the debate, your task for today requires that you admit that you are, indeed, a writer. You prove each and every day that you're able to put words together in ways that are clear and compelling. But since none of us ever aspired to be great writers of work emails, I want you to put your skills to a more fun and creative use: Write a short story.

It can be really short—even just a few paragraphs long. You don't have to show it to anyone. And it doesn't even have to be "good." The point here is to do some thinking about what ingredients go into stories and then take on the exercise of articulating your ideas. As with everything else, great writing takes tons of practice. You've gotta start somewhere, so start here, now, by taking a crack at it and seeing what you can come up with.

There are many excellent resources for writers online. If you're interested in investigating what's out there, take a look at these to start:

Earlier this year, we wrote about Figment, an online community for writers of all levels. It's worth revisiting. The site has a variety of features that make it simple to share your work, read other people's writing, and connect with writers around the world. Figment also publishes writing tips, hosts contests, and offers ways to workshop your stories with other members of the site.

LitLift is online software for writers that helps you create, organize, and store information about your story's characters and scenes. Originally developed to assist people participating in National Novel Writing Month, it's useful for writers of shorter work too.

Brainpickings has collected short story writing tips from some of the masters. The Kurt Vonnegut entry includes some of the greatest writing wisdom I've ever come across: "Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages."

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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