Well, Story A Day May 2017 is in the books, and it’s reflection time.
Here’s what I’ve got….
A lot of not-writing things happened this May:
CanalFest – the annual celebration of the opening of New York State’s fairly extensive canal system.
Homeschool pizza party and time with friends.
An eye doctor appointment for my son.
My new-in-April smartphone has a very comprehensive fitness app, and I’ve been wanting to get to a healthier me…
Two arguments with my Accomplice (not, thankfully, a common occurrence – which also makes them more stressful when we do happen to disagree).
We decided to upgrade our cable, which now gives us access to many channels we didn’t have before…including Heroes and Icons. That’s notable because it plays a five hour block of Star Trek six nights a week – one episode from each of the live-action series, and ending with Enterprise…and there’s an accompanying Twitter chat. I’ve found my Trek tribe at #allstartrek, and I’m having a blast…but, of course, it’s hard to write stories if I’m also watching my favorite Vulcan and her favorite human, and chatting about them…
I’m in the midst of revision and marketing classes, and helping my Accomplice with his business venture (I’m his entire branding, marketing, and design team. I have a creative bent, good instincts, and some extremely modest related experience, but a lot of this I’m learning as I go, with trial and a LOT of error…).
But what does any of that have to do with writing a story every day in May?
It wasn’t a seamless challenge – not by a long shot.
Well, for one thing, there are only 24 hours in a day, and, even though I don’t sleep much, I am human, and it’s inevitable. Family and hometending take time.
I didn’t quite write every day. I felt guilty about the misses, even though the reasons for them often had to do with family, or stretching in new and productive directions, or attending events that are time-sensitive and wouldn’t wait for a more convenient month.
That’s more than a little silly, really.
I also found that writing two stories each day, and sharing them via three daily blog posts and a fan fiction site led to a good deal of additional work each day.
Sometimes, it was overwhelming.
At one point, I was behind two days with my stories, and a whopping 13 days with my posts. The rest of my blogging fell away to almost nothing while I tried to get caught up again.
I was stressed about being behind.
It was a challenge, and, now that my last posts are up, and I can breathe – I’m tired.
Was it all worth it?
My Month, By the Numbers:
I’ve got 64 new stories (I wrote 3 drabbles on the last day).
That’s 3,300 words of fan fiction, and…
A whopping 12, 833 words of backstory and noodling for the novel I’ll be plotting this month, and drafting in July.
I have a much better idea of who these people are, the realities of their lives, their histories and points of friction. They are more alive in my mind than they were at the beginning of the month.
I’ve seen, again and again, how life and writing intertwine. That time taken to go to the Tulip Festival filled my mind with the vibrancy of texture, color, heritage, and history. CanalFest did the same, with a different flavor.
Even those arguments had their place – because I was attempting to find the clarity of what mattered most to me and why, I was able to also do that for my characters.
And about that overreach that overwhelmed?
There’s value in realizing that I bit off a bit more than I could comfortably chew, and making the decision to either adapt the plan, or keep on chewing. Neither is more right every time, so assessing the variables and making a decision is a conscious act with a risk involved.
It’s not always about the challenge itself, as much as it is about awareness.
Falling down a bit and striving to get back up can lead to discoveries we might not make if we sail along smoothly from day to day.
Have you undertaken a challenge lately?
What did you learn along the way?