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Jul
3
2015

Three Things I've Learned From Publishing A Story Every Day -- by Krishan Coupland

At the start of this year I set myself a challenge: I would write and publish a short story for every day of 2015, starting January 1st and ending December 31st. Three-hundred-and-sixty-five in all. Why, exactly? Well, at the time I'd just finished writing Hotel - my interactive collection of microfictions. I was getting a feel for the form, and I enjoyed writing in bite-sized segments. More than that though, I was following some advice that I'd heard and read in a dozen different places. The advice was this: write every day. Rain or shine, busy or not - write. It certainly seemed like a good idea, and I was keen to try out anything that might force me to write more regularly.

It's now five months into the year and I have indeed been writing every day. Some days I've finished six stories, and some days I haven't even finished one. Some days I write for three hours and some for fifteen minutes. It varies enormously, but I've managed to keep to my goal of publishing a story each day on a dedicated blog. Much to my surprise, I've not missed an update yet.

Not only that, but in the course of all this frantic writing, I've noticed a few interesting things about me and the ways I create - things that I wouldn't have discovered without writing every day. Here, for your entertainment, are a few of them.

1 - Writing becomes easier the more you do it.

At the start of the year, I found it a lot harder to keep up with the schedule I'd set myself. A story a day seemed like an impossible task. Thirty-one stories per month! Crazy. But I made it through January, and then through February too. March followed. By the time I'd done three months, it didn't seem quite so difficut to do a fourth. The more I wrote, the easier it got to write. In part this was down to knowing that I could write thirty stories in a month, and in part it was down to sheer momentum. Sitting down to write just became part of my day - something that, after a while, I didn't even have to think about.

2 - Words add up quicker than you'd think.

None of the stories I've written so far have been longer than three hundred words. I keep one master document with all the stories in. Its total length as of today? Forty-five thousand words. By the end of the year I'll have written a novel and a half. It doesn't feel as though I've written anything substantial though. When you spend a few minutes working on something every day, those short periods of time add up. Maybe you can only spare quarter of an hour per day to work on your book. That's fine. It'll take a while, but if you stick to it the words will stack up, and it will get written!

3 - You don't need to be inspired to write.

There have been times when I've had to force myself to write: days when I felt tired, when I wasn't interested in sitting down to type, when I had a dozen other things that I needed to do. On these days I forced myself to sit and work for a while, certain that whatever I came out with would be trash. A lot of it was. But then, so was a lot of what I wrote on the days when I felt genuinely energised and inspired. Being tired, bored, busy, or in a bad mood doesn't necessarily mean that you can't write. You might have to push yourself a little harder to get started, but the important thing to remember is that you can!

It's been a manic five months thus far, but with a little luck and a lot of coffee I should make it to my goal of a story per day for the entire year. You can read my efforts at unlikelyislands.blogspot.com - or sign up to receive them by email. Be quick though - there's only another seven months before I'm done!

Posted by Krishan Coupland 3 Jul 2015 at 01:20
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Responses to this blog

Sherryh 3 Jul 2015 at 05:57  
Wow! That's quite an accomplishment. Many kudos on your progress so far, and best wishes for the rest of 2015.

My goal at the beginning of this year was to write 1000 words a day, at least five days a week. I did have to put that on hold for a few months while I was in school away from home, because I had to focus on my studies. But now that I'm home again, I'm back on track.

One thing I have found is that momentum builds. Many days I sit down, unenthusiastic, thinking I'll just grind out my thousand words and get it over with, and before I know it I'm in the middle of something and don't want to stop. I'll write 1500 or 2000 words or more before I'm ready to call it a day. But if I hadn't sat down to write, I'd have written zero.

So, as you say, get your backside in the chair and your fingers on the keys. (Or pens or pencils...)

Great post!
Sheridan 3 Jul 2015 at 06:15  
What a great goal, Krishan!! And congrats on meeting it! There is no equal substitute for the feeling of accomplishment.
Clareeast 3 Jul 2015 at 07:33  
A great idea, Krishan. Looking forward to reading them.
__________________
"You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club." Jack London

Fairchild 3 Jul 2015 at 17:15  
Awesome! Congrats and happy writing for the rest of the year!
Tylermarab 4 Jul 2015 at 12:38  
Wow, that's hardcore! Wished I had such a good work ethic like that.
Hiswriter 5 Jul 2015 at 02:58  
I agree with everyone up there!

Great job so far, hope you can stick it through for the rest of the year!
Petesdiner 5 Jul 2015 at 12:12  
Second Clare's words.
Slperrin 5 Jul 2015 at 18:39  
You are an inspiration! Keep going!
Larissahin 7 Jul 2015 at 08:21  
This was exactly what I needed to hear. I've always struggled to keep writing every day since high school. I feel like I beat myself up and down remembering how easy it was to write every day. It was because it was easier. Because I wrote every day. Now, I don't. So now I need to get back on the horse, and get to writing! Thanks for the kick in the pants, lol.
Card 9 Jul 2015 at 19:51  
Good for you. Keep up the good work, Krishan. ^^
Rhodes 10 Jul 2015 at 13:22  
This is an amazing goal and I'm seriously considering trying it out myself. Way to go!
Brenmurphy 11 Jul 2015 at 17:07  
Hi Krishan,
It's nothing short of inspirational to have set this goal and then diligently maintained it week in week out. For me making new habits and turning them into part of my lifestyle is something that has turned my life around as well - but nothing more than setting a solid morning routine and sticking to it seven days a week.
Getting your day off to a productive and meaningful start sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Thanks
Bren Murphy
Anahita12 7 Sep 2015 at 22:07  
When I was younger, I used to write just for the sake of writing - as an exercise. To my surprise, the results were very much appreciated by some people who were considered 'experts'. To me, however, most of those texts meant close to nothing. At some point, growing older, I couldn't remember any of them. So now I stick to the ideas that DO matter to me, to those I'm likely to remember in the old age and that are dear to me. Call me selfish, but I don't write for the readers exclusively. I write for myself, too: writing has helped me through the most difficult moments in my life. Call it therapy.

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