Writing a short story for every week of the year: I did it!
At around the beginning of the new year, I got the idea to challenge myself to something. For some time, I often came across this quote by Ray Bradbury: “Write a short story every week. It's not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
Well, I decided to give that challenge a try! At the beginning of the year, I remembered that quote and thought, Challenge accepted! I soon put together my plan on how to make that happen.
And I am happy to report that I DID make it happen. I did it! I wrote a short story for every week of the year! Yay!
And I now have 52 short stories. Nice!
This was not something easy to accomplish, though. It was damn hard to meet this challenge. But I was able to do it and I am just so happy.
But I think it’s going to be a LONG time before I do a weekly challenge for the year again!
Seriously, I ran into so many problems as I tried to meet this challenge. It wasn’t writer’s block that held me up every once in a while, because I always got ideas for stories! It was EVERYTHING ELSE that was an obstacle!
Like that one time I was sick for an entire MONTH. I was constantly coughing my head off and enduring severe pain in my ribs and chest from the horrible coughing bouts. But I still wrote a short story for every week of that month, anyway!
Then there was the time I had an eye injury and, because of it, I could only open one eye. That was the week I was typing a story with only one eye open!
I also ran into a few creative differences. I so did not expect this to happen: My son, who recently turned 9, often joined in on the writing of the stories. I often shared snippets of things he wrote on Facebook via a snapshot of his writing. (Jesse was not the only one who decided he wanted to write something, either. My daughter’s Bearded Dragon, Spike, once invaded the keyboard and, by the way he moved across it, ended up typing a whole bunch of gibberish! But see, it was all in Lizard. He alone understood every single word.) Well, I didn’t mind Jesse adding things to my stories, but there were a couple of times we disagreed over a character name or what should happen next. I even told him he should write his own story with all that stuff if he really wanted a story like that. But in the end, I left his stuff in the stories and just moved on to writing my stuff. I am glad those experiences did not create huge problems between us.
And let us not forget the most recent frustration I had to endure: Problems with the keyboard. Yes, I could have written a story in my notebook instead of on the computer, but it was a long time before the keyboard would be fixed and I didn’t want to end up on a time crunch typing up many stories. All of my stories were kept in one file – which is now 265 pages long! And I wanted them all together. Plus, it made it easier for me to do the word count for the stories. (As it is, the keyboard was finally fixed today – when I was halfway through this final week’s story.)
There was also the problem of time. Sometimes I got so busy, a day or two would pass where I wasn’t able to write in a story. There were MANY times I was so busy and running around with the story playing in my head and being unable to type it all. But I still managed to get it all done at some point – even if I had to get up early or stay up late to write it.
In the end, I got all of the stories written up for every full week of this year. I started on a Monday (and sometimes on a Tuesday) and finished on a Friday (and sometimes earlier – but I never called it “done” until Friday because sometimes I’d go back to a story and add or change things). There was one story I couldn’t come up with a title for, and some of them might get new endings too. Some of the stories are not all that great and some of them could probably use a rewrite, but they are “done” as far as my muse is concerned.
Here is a list of all the stories – including the word counts and genres. All word counts are from when I finished writing the story. Some of them were later edited and revised and that changed the word counts. Only one story has been sold – I still have some others I submitted and others awaiting submission to a market if I ever find the right home for them.
1 Almost Human 4,606 words Sci-fi
2 End Times 2,928 words Sci-fi
3 Settling An Old Score 1,876 words Ghost
4 Reboot 1,577 words Sci-fi
5 Dangerous Art 3,715 words Monster
6 The Ghost of Baron Hill 2,535 words Ghost
7 The Writing on the Walls 4,066 words Ghost
8 Play With Me 2,195 words Horror
9 Secret Shame 2,511 words Bad Girl
10 Sweet 16 4,536 words Bad Girl
11 When You Believe in Magic 2,617 words Fantasy
12 Blood Money 5,749 words Bizarre
13 The Revenge Business 4,336 words Bizarre
14 Monday Coffee 600 words Humor/Satire
15 Astraya 1,962 words Fantasy
16 A Christmas Blessing 2,767 words Holiday/Drama
17 Cause of Death 2,457 words Ghost
18 Intruder Alert! 852 words Humor/Satire
19 Eulogy 1,517 words Drama
20 The Friday the 13th Dance 1,138 words Bad Girl
21 A Slow Burning 718 words Ghost
22 Blood Scent 1,561 words Vampire/Paranormal
23 Birthday Gifts 500 words Dark
24 A Girl's Best Friend 1,133 words Monster
25 Losing Sunny 5,811 words Drama
26 Untitled 2,460 words Sci-fi
27 Love Slave 1,285 words Erotic/Horror
28 Waiting for My Pirate 2,698 words Erotic/Romance
29 Monsters 1,252 words Monster
30 Lost Time 1,462 words Fantasy
31 Book Review 939 words Ghost
32 Salvaged Video 959 words Horror
33 Back to Life 583 words Paranormal
34 Something Fishy 633 words Sci-fi
35 Old Friend 1,148 words Ghost
36 A Guilty Conscience 1,136 words Horror
37 Angels Unaware 752 words Fantasy
38 The Fatal Blow 2,411 words Ghost
39 A Thousand Words 1,000 words Paranormal
40 The Paradise Pill 2,017 words Horror
41 Rainy 1,543 words Ghost
42 After Ted 2,744 words Fantasy/fanfiction
43 The Brave New World 1,084 words Political satire
44 Mad Maddie 3,480 words Bad Girl
45 Dead Weight 2,624 words Bad Girl
46 Wanna Bet? 1,512 words Humor/Satire
47 Becoming Charlie 1,537 words Ghost
48 pickyourpleasure.com 3,442 words ??????
49 Conduit 875 words Ghost
50 The Visit 939 words Ghost
51 Departure Time 476 words Ghost
52 A Visit From Krampus 1,046 words Holiday/Spooky
Some of the stories will be put into a short story collection but all the rest will be sent out somewhere after I fix them up. There are a few of them, though, that I think could be turned into a novel. Time will tell if that happens.
As I was writing these stories, one of my sisters, who was told about this challenge, often texted me to ask about what story I was writing now. She liked the sound of one of them and asked me to send it to her to read. She later texted back that she loved the story and so did her daughter. (Alas, the editor I submitted it to wasn’t so crazy about it.) Some of these stories were inspired by my dreams (like “Astraya”), some of them were inspired by movies, some by things that I witnessed or me just asking myself, “What if?”
This was a very challenging and very difficult year-long project for me to get through. But I am happy that I got through it. I am just so thrilled and pleased with myself that I took on this challenge and pulled it off. I am glad I never gave up on it. It was important to me to be able to do this and I am glad that I hung in there for it to keep going until the end.
For other blog posts related to this challenge, go here:
Writing Challenge 2016
How I write a short story every week
A little story help for this week's short story