In 2018, I’ve challenged myself to write one short story every day. I was inspired by some advice that Gary Vaynerchuk (Google him if you don’t know who he is, he’s awesome) gave to a recording artist — which was to put out one new single every day.
I’ve had my doubts as to whether or not I could do this, but I’m just going to push myself. Excuses are for losers. I should know. I’ve always loved writing, and would tell people through the years what a passion I had for it. I wasn’t being dishonest — sitting down to write and feeling the words flow through me as if they came from somewhere else, and reading them for the first time, has always made me happier than anything else in the whole world. But for a long time, I did shockingly little of this.
Why? It was simple, really: I was afraid. I had wrapped up my whole identity in being a writer, believing that was the only thing I was really good at. If I shared my writing with the world and nobody liked it, in my estimation that would have meant that I was a failure as a person. I was working on a novel, but most days, that fear would be too much to overcome. I was still writing — I had a blog. This one, in fact. It was on a different platform and the content was totally different. Again, because I was fearful of doing much real writing, the writing I was doing was mostly about books I would read in order to get fired up about, you know, actually conquering those fears and being a real writer. I’d write my thoughts on those books, and what I thought other people could apply to their lives. Essentially, my blog was self-improvement advice from a person whose actual life was a complete mess.
Once I was able to get past those fears, everything changed. Of course it can be hard to sit down and write every day, but getting into that routine just clicked. I finished my novel, which I’ll be publishing once the editing is done (looking at you, Eric!) I came to realize that even if I had somehow been able to finish it before I got my mind right, and if by some miracle it had been a best-seller or something, I wouldn’t have been able to sell enough books to fill that hole in my soul. Now that I see writing as simply something I love to do rather than who I am, it’s enough to me just to have accomplished the goal of writing a book. Everything else is gravy.
Still, I wanted to do more. I wanted to make the one activity that I feel nourishes me the most a bigger priority in my life. And that’s why I decided to write one short story a day for a whole year. I want to have that feeling of working hard to extract a part of my soul and grind through all the sludge I might put out (I can’t guarantee every story will be good every day!) to get to something great. Mostly I want to know what it’s like to just give it a try and to have no regrets. I could tell myself I have too much going on with my career and personal life and whatnot, and that I’d really have more time for it in 2019. But 2019 is anything but guaranteed for me or for any of us. There is only right now.
So I am going to get after it. Thanks for reading!