Short Story a Week and Public Accountability

Recently, I posted about Rachel Aaron’s method for increasing her daily word count from 2,000 to 10,000. I also posted about how practice trumps talent. This had me thinking of Jonathan Coulton’s (@jonathancoulton) Thing a Week Project.

For those of you unfamiliar with Coulton, he was a programmer who was really a musician. Coulton decided to write, record, and publish a song a week for 52 weeks, and see if he could make his living that way. Coulton would put the songs up on his website, and people could contribute to a tip jar. He made his declaration public, and forced himself to comply with that weekly deadline. The project was largely successful, and his popularity has grown dramatically. Coulton recently toured with They Might Be Giants, and if you’ve ever played Portal, the song at the end credits, “Still Alive,” was written and performed by him.

So, in awe of Aaron’s daily word count, and with much respect for Coulton and his “forced-march approach to writing,” I have begun writing a short story every week. I will outline the story over the weekend, write the short story during the first part of the week, and edit it during the latter part of the week. Then, while writing the next story, I’ll start submitting the short story from the previous week. Today I’m starting to write short story #2.

I’m making this plan public so there will be some accountability for my efforts. I will post semi-regular updates here and more regular updates on Twitter. My dream is to have a story published at professional rates before I get to story #53. Not for the money, but because I want my work to be recognized at the top tier. That being said, it’s unlikely. That’s why it’s a dream. My real goal is to complete 52 short stories. To learn about my style, my voice, and my bad habits. I want to improve–to write at the best of my ability, and to see that ability increasing over time. If a publisher or the general public like my stories, well that’s just icing.

Also, once I run through my submission plan and collect a fistful of rejection notices for each story, I’ll post it here and on my profile at WattPad. That’s also part of the public accountability. You can read my stories and let me know what you think. And if I get published, I’ll post a link to the story. This should be fun. Let’s see what happens.

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