It was my final summer: The last year I’d experience a summer break between school sessions. After that year, it would be just summer, not summer. For some reason lost to the mist of time, I was only able to secure thirty hours a week for work. And that summer… I decided to go for it.
I was going to write.
That summer I intentionally followed a method I’d read that Ray Bradbury used: He’d write a short story rough draft on Monday, revise the story every day until Friday, and then send it out. I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea. A tough one, but a fantastic one. After all, who could live at the speed of a short story a week?
I could. That summer, every week I wrote a short story. Every week I sent stories out, attempting to sell one. Just one.
I did sell one, just one.
Anyway, that was my final summer. I gave up writing. I never returned to it.
Wait a second…
Okay, yes, I’ve written a good amount since then. I’ve learned so much about writing, both the skill and the business of it. Since then I’ve been published in a number of anthologies and magazines, have two novels out, and at least six more on the way…
And one of the things that’s happened is I’ve learned how to write more than one short story a week. Now, granted, I ain’t no Ray Bradbury. He was a master. I’m still very much a student, though one who’s worked his way up a few grade levels.
One of the pledge levels for my recent Kickstarter included a bonus short story for every novel. So this week… I wrote them.
All of them.
Now, they’re not polished. I’ve revised each of them once. They’ll be revised at least twice more before they’re good enough to be sent to backers.
However, it was refreshing this week to see how far I’ve come. I’ve written in the past about how I’ve upped my writing speed. This one was definitely all about outlining ahead of time, as well as already knowing the characters and their world well.
One new trick I used was aiming for short chapters. These are still short stories, but I’ve chosen to write them in a multi-chapter format. Each chapter is less than a thousand words, though. That meant as I wrote, it was real easy to say, “Oh, I can do just one more chapter.” And… voila! Another chapter would be written before I could blink!
Actually, I blinked. It would be bad for my eyes if I didn’t blink. Please, blink. Blink right now. Your eyes will thank you.
Anyway, the main point is: It was refreshing to see just how far I’ve come.
How about you? Have you grown in your writing ability? How have you surprised yourself recently?