The Great Challenge…Check!


I signed up for this amazing ridiculousness last April. In 2019.


Before 2020.


Before thinking about holidays and family chaos and health issues and travel plans and computer glitches.


Definitely pre-pandemic.


Before.


52 weeks ago.


Man, a lot can happen in 52 weeks.


And this last season has taught us all that a lot can happen in 52 minutes, but I digress.


The challenge was simple: Write one short story (at least 2000 words long) per week for one year. The reward? A lifetime subscription to one of WMG Publishing’s offerings of incredible—and sometimes intense—learning opportunities. (As far as I know, as of this writing, the challenge is still open, if you dare…)


Quite the carrot. Kept me in the race when I felt like quitting.


And boy, did I want to throw in the towel on more than one occasion—especially during last summer’s life tsunami. Again post-holidays.


The third massive urge to drop it all hit hard a few weeks ago when Little Miss Muse watched some stupid news broadcast over my shoulder and declared, “Nope. Not up for quarantine with you and three cats and the menfolk.” And she packed her firecrackers and all her lighter fluid into her perfectly purple suitcase and left. I don’t know where she went—likely got a cheap flight and is relaxing on an empty beach, seagulls gliding in the breeze above her head, waves crashing gently on the shore. More on her next week. That impossible little imp…


Despite it all, I learned a gob, had a gob of fun, and now I have a not-so-small pile of manuscripts to spit-shine and publish. It should keep me busy for a while, or at least until Little Miss Muse drags her sun-burned rump back to Indiana and we kick back into novel mode. (Little Miss and I abandoned an entire cast of characters on the side of a road in rural Illinois. They’ve been waiting there for months in suspended animation, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the go-head to re-enter the sedan and head to Chicago. Soon, gang. I promise. Soon.)


A few of the stories have found homes in various publications. Some are out to market, waiting for an answer. A few are novel starts. Several have already shown up on the blog as free fiction. Most will be bundled into collections, and I’ll throw them up on Amazon in the next few weeks.


Thanks to all who encouraged me along the way and listened while I vented about the process. Thanks to Little Miss for those sparks of creativity when she did manage to show up for work (maybe if I stroke her ego, she’ll come home sooner rather than later…).


Congrats to all my fellow writers who likewise made it through, and gobs of encouragement go out to those just starting or nearing the end of this massive challenge. It can be done!


And may your muses remain steady on the payroll!


Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog or revisit older post on my Archive page. Don't forget to come back on the first Monday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.