As some of you may know, at the beginning of this year I stumbled across this quote from Ray Bradbury and set myself the challenge of writing 52 short stories during 2016.
Ray Bradbury argued that;
"When you start writing short stories, the quality doesn’t really matter; you’re practicing your craft. At the end of the year, you’ll have 52 short stories. It’s almost impossible not to have at least one good story among those 52. Writing short stories will teach you to be constantly looking for ideas. In addition, every week you’ll be happy, because by the end of each week you’ll have something to show for your efforts."
And now suddenly it's August and over halfway through the year, and my challenge. So far at week 31 I've written 20 short stories. I don't think that's too bad and despite being a bit behind with the numbers I've felt that I've learnt a lot.
It's not just honing the skills of my craft that I've experienced but also the development of the vital tools every writer needs; discipline, determination and time management. I've also learnt that if you have an idea for a story pounce on it like a hunter stalking its prey before it gets away from you because you're the only person that can tell that story.
I'm a busy person, we'll all busy people and there's only so many hours in the day. Currently I'm a full time mum and finding the time to write can be really tricky. I'm running around looking after my kids during the day and in the evenings when my delightful other half comes home I'd much rather spend time with him than stare into a blank computer screen. Writing is very important to me but my family is everything. If only I had more time...
So instead I now get up at half five each weekday to write. I'm not a morning person at all but somehow I do it because I have to find the time somewhere and by doing this I've set up a writing routine. Each morning it's gets easier. I have to write as else I would have woken up early for nothing and I know I don't have long. However two to three hours of solid writing per day adds up. Over the course of the week that can add up to 15 hours and a lot of words committed to paper.
And also did you know that when you start to write an innocent looking short story it can quickly spiral out of control into a novel? I started off with an idea for a short piece and before my very eyes it grew into a 30,000 word novella.
I'm probably not going to be able to achieve my target of 52 short stories but I've learnt things that I never would have if I hadn't of tried. I now know that you've got to be really ruthless with achieving your goals whatever they may be and that you must never give up, even when you stop believing in yourself but you'll get somewhere eventually.
Oh, and always be on the lookout for your next story, because that could be the one.