Write a story every day, part 12: Words of Wisdom

I’ve been writing a short story every day for two years, one month, and three days now. I thought now it'd be a good time to wrap up this blog series with a few shouts into the wind.

You feel totally sure that you couldn’t ever do something such as writing a story every single day, but… have you even tried to do it? Have you tried once for three minutes and failed and given up forever? Have you tried it a second time after you first failed? Right. Call me again AFTER YOU’VE TRIED IT TO BEGIN WITH!

You can develop the most unlikely habits. People are adaptable—different people in different ways. It’s amazing that people “learn” how to smoke cigarettes. You might as well learn how to swallow burning sandpaper. Learning how to write a story every day is easier than a lot of things you’ve learned willingly in your life.

First create, then edit. Before your wicked, amoral, shameless, free, wide-ranging creativity creates something—any one little thing—your inner editor has absolutely no role to play. It’s a universal principle: First the shapeless blob of mud, then the sculpture. First the dead chicken, then the fricassée de poulet à l’estragon. If you’re going to write a short story every day, you need to let those dead chickens come out of the freezer.

You don’t necessarily get better at something by simply repeating it again and again. I know musicians who’ve played in the same orchestra for 30 years and who have completely lost their ability to make music in any meaningful way. (Orchestras have a way of killing people slowly.) But if you practice something attentively and skillfully for any length of time, you definitely improve your craft. Writing a story every day for two years can kinda make you a good writer, know what I mean?

Time to take a break from writing about writing. My next blog series will be purely visual. See it for yourselves!