Between blog posts, working, and keeping up with my family I’ve been busy writing stories.
My friend Tina gave me an idea for a writing project over the summer. I was lamenting to her about being stuck in a writing rut and how long it took me to finish a story. She gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever heard.
“Stop trying to make it perfect,” she said.
And she was right. That’s exactly why I was stuck. I was trying too hard to make each and every story perfect. They’re never going to be perfect. But maybe, if I could get out of my own way, they could be good.
“Why don’t you try writing one flash fiction story each week for twenty weeks,” Tina said. “Set a schedule. Monday you plot. Tuesday and Wednesday you write the story. Thursday, edit. Friday, submit it somewhere.”
The idea behind the project was pretty simple: My goal is to publish, and get paid to do so. The more work I have in submission, the more likely I am to get an acceptance. So I needed to generate a bunch of stories and pump them into circulation.
The idea simultaneously made me excited and scared the shit out of me. Could I really write one story a week? And edit that same story in a single day?
Then I saw the point: If I tried to make the stories perfect, no. I couldn’t do that. But if I ditched the idea of perfect, yup. You’re damn right I could.
I started the project of writing one flash fiction story per week back in August. It hasn’t gone exactly as planned, but do things ever?
One week I wrote two stories instead of one. Some of my stories have been longer than flash fiction length and spilled over into short story territory. But with the help of my accountability buddy, I’ve finished at least one story a week for the last three months, and I plan on sticking with that schedule through the end of the year.
Each of those stories has been submitted out to publications. As of today I have 20 stories pending a response from publishers, 48 rejections, and one ‘maybe’.
Regarding rejections . . . they suck. No one likes rejection. But you can make them fun. I took some more of Tina’s advice and turned my submissions into a points game. I give myself one point for a Flash Fiction and Short Stories, two points for anything over 5,000 words, three points for Novellas and five points for Novels. I don’t have any novellas or novels in submission, so right now I’m just working with shorter pieces.
I even made pretty graphs, because I *heart* Excel.