05 May 2011

Already a Cheater: The First Four Days of Story a Day

Soo......Story a Day!  This is a post to update y'all on my progress and to talk about what it's like to push yourself way beyond your usual capacities.

As a writer I face a couple of challenges. One: I have chronic ants-in-pants. I find it physically difficult to sit with my arse in a chair for more than a few minutes. I combat this by working out a lot, to the point of exhaustion. Two: I am a relentless multitasker. Although I can focus on a task for long periods of time, I find I am super distracted by the many different things we as writers should do: draft! edit! polish! submit! blog! correspond! research! read read read!.

As a result of these two factors, it often takes me a couple of weeks to finish a short story draft.

So Story a Day, with its brutal, high-intensity schedule, is great for me, because there is no time to get distracted, and I have to keep my arse in my writing chair in order to do it. I'm finding that it is deeply satisfying to get a short story draft out in a single day.

I haven't started my challenge story today, the 5th of May. So far in four days of writing I've drafted three short stories with a total of 11 772 words. Yoicks! That's huge for me.

Day one was good: I dutifully wrote a not great story about a Greek tragic actor. I ran into a spot of trouble on day two when I came up with a great story idea that I knew was going to run long. I made some sacrifices to Chronos (by cancelling some plans) and kept writing. At 11:30, I still wasn't done the story, but I had hit a reasonable stopping point. Normally, I would let a larger story drag out. Because I was aware that I was already stretching the Story a Day guidelines, I finished it the next day: BOOM! I'm super happy about that one. At 7600 words, it's a little long, but trimming will happen later. Yesterday I wrote a silly story about catharsis. And here we are. Today I'm planning to go back to an older idea I've tried to write before, but it's never quite worked out. I will try to make it work today.

The nice thing about this challenge is that if the writing goes well, then great; if it seems like the story sucks, you can let it go at the end of the day and move on. I feel like I'm getting an education in what works and what doesn't.

I am learning too that unless I have an idea that seems like it should be flash, I am much more a short story writer than a flash writer. This is a little frustrating because I would like to write a piece in an hour or two, rather than spending all day on it. I'm all:

But I am in this to push myself, so getting out ridiculous amounts of word count this month is not a bad thing, not at all.

If you're doing Story a Day, how is it going? If you're not, what are you writing today?


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I may get around to writing today but as for now, I'm just reading blogs and stuff.

Claudie A. said...

I'm the other way around. I am much more a flash writer than a short story one. Whenever I get an idea, it will either span a full novel or 500-2000 words. Almost never more.

Summer Ross said...

I have taken on the challenge- and honestly I have quite enjoyed most of it- the hardest part for me right now seems to be coming up with an idea- My longest work was 800 words and my shortest so far I think was 412 words. I haven't written yet today- because I have that problem- I need my ideas stimulated and its not happening- I've looked at dozens of prompts even ones I come up with myself- and it just aint going. LOL

However I am glad the challenge is going well for you- even if you tend to write on the longer side.

Deborah Walker said...

I've hit day five with 12.5K (in total). I'm really enjoying it. I setched out a rough plan, bearing in mind my schedule, which mean esentially the childrens' days off school. Voting day today and yet another day off--bless 'em.

I'm finding it really helps me to know what I'm supposed to be writing. I'm loving story-a-day. Might continue it.

Crystal Collier said...

When I'm not home schooling 3 little kids, I think I'm going to try this one. What a great way to stretch! Nothing more effective than practice eh?

I've been editing a script...for the 113th draft. *gag* Much rather be penning out new creative works.

Luanne G. Smith said...

Wow, that is a lot of writing. I'm envious. I've been in revision land so long I've forgotten what starting a fresh new story feels like. But I'm almost there. No, really. Almost done. For reals.

Anonymous said...

First off - to me, it sounds like you're doing great on Story-a-day so far. Keep it up!

What I've done today:
Finished chapter five of my Roswell/Pern fanfic crossover.
Read through the first few pages of 'Merm-8' for critters critique.
Spell-checked my Script Frenzy screenplay, so that I can get it printed and bound at Staples in the next few days.

Trisha said...

I'm finding it a challenge enough writing one short story a WEEK! Unlike you though, I'm used to being able to write an entire short story in one sitting. Still, doing one a day?? I don't think I'd manage too well :D

Marta said...

The distractions are endless. I try to accept a certain number of them and work around them.

LOVE that cartoon by the way.

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Kudos on doing the A Story A Day! I was tempted to do the challenge, but I'm relieved that I didn't. lol

I have a Versatile Blogger award for you at my blog!

Anonymous said...

RELENTLESS MULTITASKING! I shriek. But yes, it's true! I suffer from that as well, which is a shame because I used to be so disciplined. Curses.

Wonderful progress. Even though you're a bit behind, three stories in three days is definitely something to be proud of!


Unknown said...

You're my hero. I too am a crazed multitasker. Actually, I stopped writing this comment two hours ago and just came back to it now--b/c i'd been multitasking. Sigh

I intended to to StAD but ... I suck? I'm half considering picking up the challenge today, one week into it. Not b/c I'd "win" but b/c it means I might amaze myself with my own productivity.

You've got me thinking about it. I hope that means you've inspired me ... I will return to tell you which it is.