Ray Bradbury once said “Write a short story every week. It's not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” His words have become a challenge for writers everywhere. I had never heard of it until I attended the Rainforest Writer's Retreat last month. Author James Van Pelt gave a presentation on how he undertook the challenge last year. He talked about what he learned and the process of writing that much.
I was amazed that anyone could accomplish so much. Not only that he managed to sell quite a few of those stories. At the writer's retreat I undertook another Middle Grade novel that I hope to submit to agents. So I kept thinking, "I don't have time to write that many short stories. I don't have that many ideas for short stories." And so on. But I couldn't shake the idea of the challenge. I kept thinking of different ways to integrate the challenge with my other writing. I thought maybe I'll just write a story a month. Or take two weeks to finish them.
Finally I arrived at an idea I thought would work for me. I decided I WOULD write one short story a week for a year. BUT I wouldn't try to submit them anywhere. I would just write them down and move on and not worry about the short story finding a publishing home. Other people wouldn't even see them. I could use them to explore ideas, or just write a single scene and call it a story.
And it's been working! I am writing short story #5 this week. I'm exploring a book idea by writing a little sort of prologue that probably will never appear in the book. I've found a freedom to write whatever, and the freedom to fail. Story #2 was the worst thing I've written since college! So while Ray Bradbury may be right, that it's impossible to write 52 bad stories, I can tell you, it's possible to write at least one terrible story!
I hope to keep up the challenge and I'll post on my progress periodically. Even though I've just started on this challenge I would recommend to anyone! And