Write fifty-two short stories in a year. Hmm . . . will it help?
Recently, within the last few months, my writing has slowed to a crawl. I’ve written very little since finishing revising a batch of short stories. I’ve spent most of my time brainstorming, putting together story areas, and cobbling together outlines but never finishing them because of problems I can’t see the solutions to. This is partially due to a paradigm shift in the early stages of my writing process—whenever such a shift in the process occurs, you usually will take a few steps back before taking many steps forward. However, after three months of this crawl, it felt like more was going on. I finally realized I’ve become paralyzed by fear, fear that the stories I’m in the early stages of won’t be good because of X, Y, or Z reasons.
How do I end this paralysis? I pondered that question for a couple of weeks, and then I happened upon this quote in an article I saved a few years back. It is a quote from Ray Bradbury’s keynote address at The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University, 2001.
“The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing—and at the end of the year you have fifty-two short stories, and I defy you to write fifty-two bad ones. It can’t be done. It can’t be done. At the end of thirty weeks or forty weeks or at the end of the year, all of a sudden a story will come that’s just wonderful.” (“An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001” 03:07-03:43)
Write fifty-two short stories in a year. Hmm . . . can it be done?
I have done similar to what Bradbury states to do here—write one short story a day for the month of October or for all of February write a piece of flash fiction. Such challenges have always been a good way for me to progress in my writing, get a lot of writing done, and get out of my head regarding the quality of the stories and instead focus on just writing them, no more, no less. Such challenges play into the idea in art that quantity eventually leads to quality.
Perhaps this is what I need? Could such a writing challenge help me get out of my current writing funk? Perhaps . . .
I guess I’ll find out over the next fifty-two weeks. Time to begin the Ray Bradbury 52-Week Writing Challenge! For the next fifty-two weeks, starting from the week of November 14th, 2022, I will endeavor to write the first draft of one short-form story (short story, flash fiction, micro fiction) a week.
Write fifty-two short stories in a year. Hmm. . . Let’s do it!
“An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001.” YouTube, uploaded by University of California Television (UCTV), 8 May. 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W-r7ABrMYU