A month ago, I decided to write a new story every day and publish it. Yesterday I quit, and these are some of the things I learned:
- Showing up was easier than I expected.
- Despite my fear of always running out of ideas, I always ended up finding something to write about.
- I was also able to get rid of a lot of shitty ideas and gave myself the space to look for better ones.
- Early on, I struggled with publishing bad writing, and it wasn’t until a friend of mine told me: I had to redefine my idea of failure. Showing up and writing something every day was the real success.
- With that said, the quality of the work suffered. Spelling and grammar were a mess because I often pushed half-finished stuff out without even rewrites to complete the task.
- Because of #5, sharing my stories didn’t mean people were coming to read them. Another friend said that those mistakes might be pushing readers away.
- However, the one big benefit: the writing led to more writing. I did a lot more blog posts and reflections as I processed my way through the work, which was nice to share.
- Also, I wrote a lot more of myself into those stories than I expected. I try not to offer too much of my personal beliefs and values online, but many of them showed up in my fiction.
Skipping yesterday made me realize I needed the break.
For a while, I’ve been worried about what happens if I couldn’t write and publish due to travel, poor internet connection, or some unforeseen circumstance. I was always barely getting the writing out last minute, and I had no wiggle-room.
I could’ve written a few stories ahead, but some days I barely found the story, and other times, it would take me all day to work out what I was doing. The whole thing felt precarious.
But more importantly, I was worried about the mistakes that might be pushing people away. I didn’t want to be just doing the work but also doing work that drew in readers.
No wiggle room
One of the troubles of writing every day—at least how I was doing it—was that I never had a buffer to revisit and rewrite the work. Every day, I was always behind and struggling to catch up. Even if I had a few days to do a second or third pass, I think the quality would improve and attract more readers.
I also don’t know if I could’ve sustained this pace. Writing, editing, and publishing a new thing every day seemed like a quick way to burn out.
Furthermore, not every story was great and shouldn’t have been published at all if I’d allowed myself the choice.
My path forward
I’m not quite sure what I want to do, but I have a few ideas.
I like the idea of publishing one or two stories a week and allow some room for a few rewrites. I want to post regularly, but not so regularly that I am putting out weak writing.
I also want to do some serialized stories, longer stories, or special projects. My short turnaround wasn’t allowing for any of that.
Overall, I think that writers should give their readers the best version of their writing that they can. My daily stories were fun, but unfortunately, they weren’t delivering on that fundamental belief.
I still want to make this website a new way to publish some of my work, but if I slow down and give craft and care to my writing, I will hopefully draw in new readers.