You may notice a new badge over on the right side of my blog: "Write 1, Sub 1 -- 2011 / Weekly." This is something I stumbled upon this past week, and I've gone and signed up. Let me tell you about it...
I've been spending time at the Every Day Fiction site. This is a free site where they publish a piece of flash fiction every day. The stories are entertaining to read, the writing is typically very good, and the discussions in the comments is often lively and very informative as to what works and what doesn't for different readers. It's a good mix of a variety of tastes.
As I was browsing the site, I opened the link of top-rated stories for the past year and came across #4: "Captain Quasar and the 'If Only' Elixir of Opsanus Tau Prime," by Milo James Fowler. I really liked the story. It's a quirky piece of science fiction, with a main character named Captain Bartholomew Quasar, who's a bit of a James Tiberius Kirk spoof, and a hairy, multi-armed, laconic navigator named Hank. It's a spot-on send-up. But there's also the underlying theme of wanting to undo our mistakes, and the desperate measures that regret might cause us to take, making this much deeper than just a sci-fi parody.
So I followed the link to Milo James Fowler's website to let him know how much I'd enjoyed his story. I also browsed around there and that's where I found the link to another site he co-hosts: Write1Sub1.
This website is geared towards writers who want to come together, make a commitment to write and submit stories on a regular basis, and improve their writing skills and their chances for publication in the process. As the web site says:
"Ray Bradbury is reported to have finished a story each week, mailed it out to a magazine, then got to work right away on his next story. We're going to spend 2011 in his shadow. Up to the challenge?"
Well, I'm a new writer who wants to improve his writing, meet fellow writers, write on a disciplined and consistent basis, and to eventually get published. It makes sense -- to get published, you have to submit. To submit, you have to have complete stories ready to go. To have complete stories, you have to finish what you write. To finish writing, you have to start writing. So you need to write, and to keep writing.
Write, submit, repeat. Pretty simple, when you think about it.
It certainly maps to the sources I've used and mentioned previously in my blog here, falling perfectly in line with Bradbury's 'Zen in the Art of Writing' and Heinlein's Rules for Writing.
Heck yeah -- this is just what I need.
Even though I came across this late -- we're well into 2011, after all -- I asked Milo if I could still join up, and he welcomed me with open arms. So now I am proudly flying my Write1Sub1 banner, and have made the commitment to write at least one story a week, and to submit at least one story a week to a valid 'publication.' My guideline is that, while it may not be a paying site, it has to at least pass through an acceptance criteria where someone other than me has to accept it. If I can post anything I want by my own hand, it does not count. This blog doesn't count. Shane's Creative Copy Challenge doesn't count because I can put up almost anything there by my own hand and Shane would be OK with it (bless him for it, but it doesn't meet my criteria of 'published').
So now, each week for the remainder of 2011 (31 weeks), I will write and submit, and will let everyone here know how things go. It's not based on accepted stories, just submitted stories, so that makes it easier, but that's really the only part I can control. Still, I'm kind of curious -- I may have no problem keeping up with the goal, or things may not go so well and I end up falling short. We'll see. I asked for this, so remind me of that should I ever get depressed (there is often no greater curse than for a man to get exactly what he asks for).
But I'm naïve and optimistic and am rolling up my sleeves. My first update on this will be Sunday. I already had one story in progress that I'm finishing and will submit before then, so I think I'll make my first week (week 21) goal.
Wish me luck!