Apparently Ray Bradbury wrote a story a week and submitted that same story to a magazine each week.Â This is what is typically defined as crazy.Â And/or hard-working.Â Also, perhaps, â€œa good plan.â€
Not, perhaps, the sending out of the self-same story that was written that week to magazines that same week.Â Most of us, and I would include Bradbury along in this designation, need a little more time to stew over what weâ€™ve written and fine tune it before it can be presented for public consumption without someone accidentally choking on that chicken bone we were in too much of a hurry to pick out of the shepherdâ€™s pie.
Enough with the most of us.Â As usual, Iâ€™m talking about me.Â And, as you might have read in these pages before, Iâ€™ve a pretty high opinion of the quality of my first drafts.Â For the most part, they are close to the final version that reaches publication.Â In this case, Iâ€™m not saying this is by definition a good thing, just that it is what it is, so far.
[Sidenote: My experience with first drafts probably has something to do with the eight of the last ten years of my writing life being focused on poetry and the fact that, in a poem, I tend to be very careful about each line of the poem before I set the pen to paper.Â When I approach stories, I work the same way, treating each line, each paragraph, each bit of dialogue as a stone soon to be fixed in the wall Iâ€™m building.Â Iâ€™ve learned from revision that I can take out individual stones to leave decorative views into the neighboring field, but Iâ€™ve yet to tear the whole wall down to build a house.Â Though maybe I should.Â That would certainly save me a bunch on rent.]
But Bradbury was writing for a different time when, yes, there were less restrictions on what was accepted for pulp magazines and their successors because there was such a dire need for good writing and, whether or not you like everything heâ€™s written, Bradbury is definitely a good writer.Â He can construct plot.Â He paints a convincing image.Â His emotions crawl under your bed and stay awhile.
So this: Write 1 Sub 1.
Itâ€™s a joint venture, a capital agreement, much like NaNoWriMo, where each participant agrees to write a story a week and submit a story a week (though, pointedly, it doesnâ€™t have to be the same story).
I just joined on with this merry band of crazed wordheads because I need the push.Â At this point in my life, I have an overabundance of time, but lately I havenâ€™t been using it to write.Â Blame that on the search for agents or blame it on the fact that my job/fellowship/meaning-of-life search has stalled for lack of a destination, the sad truth is that Iâ€™ve been lollygagging (gagging is the operative word) and twiddling my metaphorical thumbs (since my real thumbs have been involved in making drinks).
What I want out of this is the first part of the equation: a story a week.
Iâ€™ve got the stories.Â Iâ€™ve got the leads in my head.Â Iâ€™ve got the words that â€“ for a while now â€“ have been gumbo-izing and, like the best foods, have (I hope, I hope, I hope) grown stronger and more satisfying with time.Â Ideas are not lacking.Â Thatâ€™s never where a writing roadblock starts for me.Â Itâ€™s the standing myself down and realizing, once my fingers start dressing the keys, that writing is what I truly enjoy.
Wish me luck.Â And feel free to jump on the bandwagon, especially if you know how to hold a tune.