As a writer, I’m always interested in new ways to motivate and challenge myself. I get bored by routine fiction writing (not to be confused with a writing routine – one is sticking to a schedule; the other is doing the same thing the same way over and over again).
One of my favorite authors is the late Ray Bradbury. I enjoy his style of writing and his imagination. He was always able to capture the wonder and mystery of youth (Something Wicked This Way Comes, for example) and his imagination (The Fog Horn) was something to be admired.
In his book, Zen and the Art of Writing, he discusses his writing routine. He pushed himself to write one short story every week. Start to finish.
That’s an amazing amount of output. Obviously, not every story is going to be a gem, but odds are there will be some diamonds in the rough. And that’s the point.
Of course, not everyone can keep up with Mr. Bradbury in his prime.
I was recently reminded of his routine while scrolling through an online writing discussion at one of my regular haunts (r/Writing). It got me thinking about the challenge of writing one complete story every week. From the perspective of someone whose fiction-writing routine can best be described as erratic, it seems daunting. But the more I thought about it, the more tantalizing it became. I mean, it would be difficult to do at first, but as with anything, the more I do it the easier it becomes. Practice, baby.
So I decided I’m going to give it a shot. Well, a short shot. I want to write four complete short stories in four weeks. One each week. But I’m going to cheat a little.
I keep a list of potential story titles. It’s several pages long and has been around for twenty years or so. Basically, every so often I get one of those moments when something pops into my head and catches my attention. Usually I’m reading something and some word or passage makes a connection in my head and I think, “That would be a cool story title.” And I add it to the list.
So part of my cheating is that I’m going to pull four random titles from the list and use those for my prompts. Also, I’m going to brainstorm a bit…not that I’m going to outline or anything like that. I just want to have a basic idea in my head for each one. I’m not going to dive head-first into an empty pool.
I think this will be fun. Frustrating and anxiety-ridden, but fun. I’ll post on here when I get started (may be a few weeks to get my schedule in place) and update my progress.