24 stories in 24 hours: a creative challenge

Content marketing requires a lot of creative thinking. There are always new challenges to meet and problems to solve, which is why it’s such an exciting industry to be involved in day-to-day.

Creativity has always been a part of my life. Not many people know this, but at the tender age of seven, I won a BBC Radio Scotland writing competition for a story about a day in the life of a bin man. It was read out on the radio by professional actors, and I’ve been writing ever since.

Jamie Graham 24 stories

Jamie Graham – before I left the house.

Our charity of the year at Editions Financial for 2017 is Worldwide Cancer Research – a most worthwhile cause. I was keen to play my part in the fundraising that we’ve all been involved in, so I decided to have another crack at my 24 stories in 24 hours writing challenge. I first did this three years ago, again for a charitable cause, and enough time had passed to make me think it was a good idea again.

I was keen to tackle the challenge at a venue I’d never been to before (it helps to keep a clear head), and the kind people at Kingsford Business Club in Edinburgh agreed to be my hosts.

 Chocolate covered ants and more…

The basic premise was a simple one, I had around 30 story prompts from my colleagues and all I had to do was pull one from the hat approximately every hour and write a short story. And, yes, I had to stay awake for the whole 24 hours straight as well – arguably the more difficult of the two tasks.

I was given all kinds of weird and wonderful suggestions from which to craft tales, including one about the best thing before sliced bread, a bunch of chocolate covered ants and what happened when five dogs took over an office for the day (we have a small dog population at the Editions office in Edinburgh).

Everything started out well on the morning of Saturday 15th July and I got well ahead of schedule in preparation for the inevitable slow-down come the early hours of the following morning. It all became a bit trickier when darkness fell around 10pm and my body and mind were both ready for bed. I was only just over halfway through by that point and the occasional text message and supportive DM on Twitter helped keep me going into the early hours of Sunday.

Jamie Graham
Jamie Graham 17 hours into the challenge.

When I got to the last few stories I was exhausted but knowing the finish line was in sight spurred me on to completion. I finished ahead of schedule and tried to get some rest. I stayed up for 26 hours without sleep in the end, but it was worth every single second to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research.

A new chapter

The story doesn’t end there though. In the coming weeks I’ll be editing all the stories (if I can read my 3am handwriting) and bringing them out as an eBook to raise more funds for the charity.

Worldwide Cancer Research – 24 short stories in 24 hours.

This is likely to be in late August, so stay tuned for an update.

You can find out more about what other fundraising activities we’re up to this year via our JustGiving page.

Jamie Graham

Jamie has delivered digital marketing campaigns for a number of global brands over the past decade which have included copywriting, SEO, social media management, paid search and content strategy. He has a keen interest in FinTech and has worked for leading banks and investment management companies.