Making Sure I Write Enough

eric shay howard typing

Now that I’m actually trying to do this blogging thing and fiction writing thing right, I’ve got a number of things I actually have to accomplish each week. Now that I’m finished with grad school, I think it’s totally doable.

For my blog every week, I need to:

  • Post 4 blog posts about something.
  • Post a short story on one of the days.

So, that’s easy. Of course, that doesn’t count all of the social media work. The blog posts will automagically post to my twitter and Facebook when they post on my blog. The blog posts will post on my blog and to my social media at 8am eastern time Monday through Friday. In addition to that, though, I try to retweet some stories from my blog, to drive traffic to them. I usually schedule those tweets for 12pm Monday through Friday. That means I need a constant supply of stories on my blog to keep this going. I’m only getting one new short story on my blog a week, so of course that one is usually retweeted at some point throughout the week, plus four other older stories.

Next, I need to try keeping up with Patreon. This will require:

  • Posting a new, early draft of a short story every weekend.
  • Posting a more polished short story every weekend a week before I post it on my blog.

Now it is sort of starting to get a little harder. Because I just started the Patreon thing and haven’t really seen it through the first week yet, I don’t exactly know how this will work out, but I think I can sort of figure it out.

My Short Story Schedule

So, every week, this is how posting my new stories will go.

  • Post last week’s early short story from Patreon to my blog.
  • Post a new draft of a short story to my Patreon.
  • Post a new early short story to my Patreon.
  • Repeat.

Now, I can’t share ALL of my work early on Patreon or even on my blog, because I still need to leave some things technically “unpublished” so I can submit them to literary journals and stuff like that. Plus, I still want to have a good amount of stories that are exclusive to my fiction collections, because why would anyone buy the collection if they can read all of them for free easily in one place like on my blog?

This means that, at least once or twice month, I need to write an extra short story that doesn’t really get posted anywhere. Of course it takes me years of rewriting before any of my stories are actually good. (You’ll see if you become a patron because of those early drafts I’ll be posting every week.)

So How Much Writing Am I Doing Every Week?

Let’s count how many stories I’ve signed myself up for every week.

  • 4 blog posts about life or my thoughts or whatever (for the sake of creative writing, let’s refer to these as the “creative nonfiction pieces”.)
  • 1 short story draft for my Patreon. (Doesn’t have to be good, and can be a rewrite from the week before.)
  • 1 more polished short story for my Patreon a week before posting it to my blog.
  • The short story that I post on my blog is the story that I posted on my Patreon last week, so that doesn’t add to the weekly count.

So, that’s just 2 short stories for sure every week. They’ll be, you know, on the shorter side, probably. That’s 8 short stories a month. If I want to have extras for literary journals, lets say 1 or 2, that’ll be 10 short stories a month.

That’s over 100 short stories (or drafts of stories) a year. A lot of them will probably be microficiton or really really short stories, though. But, that doesn’t always make it any easier. And, I definitely won’t have 100 fiction-collection-worthy stories in a year. I think maybe 2 or 3 of short stories are decent enough to event try to submit to journals every year.

So, ambitious? Yes. Still doable? Well, it’s starting to sound a little bit like a house of cards, but I’m going to just do it anyway. This is supposed to be fun. It may not work exactly like I think it will, but I have somewhere to start.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He's the author of the fiction collection, Crushes, and is a literary editor. He also works at a law firm and is writing his second book. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University.

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