Two years ago, I did a short story challenge: Thirty Shorts in Thirty Days. Nailed it. Well, sort of. A couple of the stories won’t see the light of day. Ever.
A couple winners sold. A couple had ideas too big for the short form and are decent novel starts. The rest have been bundled here in a collection and some have been posted on this blog as Free Fiction.
And thank you to all who’ve commented and encouraged me along the way. Your words mean more than you know.
So…since I had so much fun with that one, back in April of this year, I entered another one. One story a week for a whole year.
I just turned in my 26th. Halfway there.
Halfway to more consistent writing habits. (Well, as consistent as one can be with the unforeseen health issues, unplanned car breakdowns, and unordered firepits—plural on the pits).
Halfway to lots of learning (if I hit the mark, I get free training from my mentor, not to mention a gob of shorts to sell and market).
This one is by far the harder of the two challenges. You wouldn’t think so, but any task seems to grow to fit the time allotted, so it’s taking me “longer” to get one done per week than one per day. I’ve more time to “fiddle” with ideas and tweak paragraph order, etc. I have 168 hours instead of 24. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
Of the 26 so far, two are slotted for publication. So that’s fun. Some are waiting to be read by editors of mainstream publications. Some are waiting for me to edit them. Some will be used here on the blog for Free Fiction and some will be bundled into a second anthology. It’s been fun.
Covers are all done and ready, too, should the need arise. I’ve found the covers help me remember what the story is about. Titles alone don’t ring a bell. With 56 shorts and counting, I’m bound to forget a plot or two…
A couple of the stories have born worlds to revisit and explore in greater detail. A couple are novel starts (seems the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre takes me over and I can’t quite get the word count down under 10K).
My Learning Takeaways:
I can use anything as an excuse to not write (Weaning the pen collection, rearrange furniture, meal-prep on paper—cause you know I’ll just order takeout in the end, kitty cats, and my favorite: Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow).
I feel better when I’ve written. Endorphins? Sense of accomplishment? A little checkmark in the calendar that today’s word count’s been reached? Whatever the root, that feeling is starting to trump the above “I can’t write because…” list.
Little Miss Muse can use anything to springboard into Storyville. (Be careful what you say/do around me. She’s always listening).
Shorts give Little Miss Muse time to play in a different sandbox and allow my brain and her magic to refresh from the larger work in progress.
Publishing (traditional markets) is a slow-moving vehicle and needs a reflective red-and-orange triangle plastered to its rear end.
I can be forgiving of myself. That larger work, Switch’s sequel with a rough-draft-done deadline of 10/22, came to a screeching halt over the last couple of weeks—and not as a result of any of my typical procrastination techniques. Life was such that frogs and elephants that could not be contained blossomed and grew, and my mental capacity just wasn’t there to do five things at once.
So I hit the reset button, focused on the shorts for those weeks, and moved forward. Little Miss was stuck under a rump (see last week’s post), and that allowed me some good sleep.
Now she’s back.
Dreams. Ideas. Bossiness. Even down to the image for today’s blog. I’d picked out a 26 in gold with gold leafing. She saw the purple petals and well, purple it is.
Cool thing about goals. If you make any progress at all, and then things stop, you’ve failed forward.
Hoping not to stop. Hoping to post a large, purple/gold 52 in April.
Hoping to get Switch-The-Second’s draft done by Thanksgiving. I’ve got a solid start.
Off to write #27. But first, I’ll head to Amazon for frog repellant…