About nine months ago I wrote this:
It’s just been a few days since my birthday and as thirty six treated me so well, I thought I’d better have some more clearly defined goals for thirty seven. Since I’ve been little, grade school-ish little I mean, I’ve wallowed in a kind of self guilt about writing. So, for thirty seven I’m going to give myself a break. No creative story writing pressure this year. This is the year of reading books, stories, literature, and other such words. Lots of them. Oodles. You won’t care, and it doesn’t apply to this blog, but it matters to me. Writing fans, see you in fifty one weeks.
Uh… so how has that panned out so far?
The idea was to give myself a break from the self-imposed pressures of being a wannabe writer. I was suppoooooooosed to read more and focus on the other aspects of personal self-development that would flesh out my stumbling mind for future projects of glistening ambition. One problem: I followed through on the being-lazy, not-writing part. The rest… um… I’ll get back to you on that.Actually, I’ve been so tempted to start tip-tapping away on the keyboard again that I’ve been questioning the logic of these little personal vows I make. Not writing for a whole year? Pfft! After all, why should that be the one goal I actually keep?
So, after rolling back in from a two week vacation, apparently fresh of mind, body, and spirit, I want to kick myself back into gear and dump the vow of self-imposed-writers-blockishness with a big-ol-crazy project. Introducing… The Saturday Stories Project.
Introducing… The Saturday Stories Project.
To be good at anything takes practice. To be a good writer, one needs to write… prolifically. So, it’s time to shelve the lazy, lame-excuses, watching-too-much-tv plan that fell out of my last impromptu writing goal, and get back to work.
…no real framework. …no real guidelines. Just once per week, every Saturday, until the steam runs out on this crazy idea, one (probably fairly rough and fairly unedited) short story posted right here…. and any commentary on the project as emerges, as well. As usual, follow or play along as you see fit.
Ready. Set. Write…
Over the past five years I\’ve transformed myself from a kinda-pudgy, lump-on-the-couch computer guy into a speedy and lean half-marathon machine. And, to be perfectly honest, it\’s largely been thanks to three things: (1) running, (2) the community of awesome and amazing people I\’ve met while running, and (3) the reading and writing I\’ve done about running that keeps me informed, motivated and interested.
I wanted to give a little something back.
See, something I\’ve noticed over the years is that many people out there have great stories to share. You might be one of them. In fact, I\’m betting that you\’ve got a great story inside just bursting to get out.
The problem is, while runners can tell their running pals at the next training practice or post-training coffee meetup, those people have often taken the journey right along with them and and heard it a hundred times. And while runners can always spread the word on their social media accounts, like on Facebook, Fitocracy or Twitter — we get it — many of our friends see our progress and are probably going to just ignore our enthusiasm for our sport. It\’s no one’s fault: we\’re out there bragging about doing something awesome with our health and fitness and that sometimes makes others feel… well, you know how peer pressure works, right?
Of course, any of us could send our story to a magazine and hope-beyond-hope that they pick it from the thousands they receive each week and actually publish it. Or we could spend time building and promoting your own blog in hopes of getting our ideas out. I mean, I do that, but not everyone has the time, energy or skills to bother. Either way, it\’s hard work.
FEETS dot CA is a kind of shot at being a mid-way alternative. For a while I’ve wanted to build a collaborative blog, a site where anyone with something to say on a topic… can. Plus, it’s one of those things that I’ve never really succeeded with on the web quite yet: building a community-driven, user-sourced website. It’s my next challenge.
You’ll notice a few things…
1) If you’re not a runner, into running, or interested at all in anything to do with lacing up and getting out on the trails, you probably won’t care.
2) In order to speed up development time I went with what I knew: the template for that site is a modified version of the template on this site. I like it. It works. And I’ll tweak it and customize it as we go. But why reinvent the wheel, right?
3) There isn’t much there yet. In fact, the three actual articles that are published right now are things I’ve pulled off this blog and slightly adapted for that blog. Explanation: promotion, work, and a little bit of curiosity and risk-taking by readers is required.
I’ve got a lot more work to do, but the shell is up, the site is launched and live, and I’m going to be out there pumping and promoting it for the next while. You need to hold tight and hang on. If it work, it could be awesome. And if not? Well, I’ve had another little design-resume-padding project to work on for a few months.
If you are a runner — past, present, or future — and want to contribute… get in. Or just check it out. Bookmark it. Subscribe to the feed and check back for the sure-to-come updates. You know I’m going to write: if nothing else I’ve proven my fortitude for generating heaps of content. And you? It’s early. By playing along, writing with me, you just might make a name for yourself. Or you might be cast into the depths of obscurity right along with me. You’ll never know unless you try.
September kind of snuck up on us there, didn’t it? And with it swarmed by the annual wash of changes that normally transpire at this same time: the train got busier this morning with the rush of students back to the University, I needed a jacket for the brisk walk from my car, we actually had a conversation about extra-curricular activities and the associated schedules soon to be imposed upon us, and my various projects flipped over on their invisible odometers.
For those who were tracking along, my pixelated project — the three-six-five, photo-a-day for one year project — officially wrapped as of last Friday morning when I posted the final shot from this epic year-long collection. Being a leap year it was actually three hundred and sixty-six photos, and given that I’d actually started daily photos a month previous and still, four days later, have not missed a day, there are technically a lot more daily photos than the project would imply: but alas, it is (technically) over. And I feel a little lighter for it. It was a crap-load of work, actually. I mean, you wouldn’t think it, but… well, it was.
The running continues, of course. Another big race in — according to the count-down timer on my phone — approximately ninety days. And I’ll be out and running at least four, probably five, days per week for the foreseeable future.
And then there is the writing. I’ve been blogging a lot. But fiction? Not so much. Fiction has escaped me for a while. Fiction has eluded me, while haunting me from a respectable distance, prodding me with motivational cues that I’ve chosen to ignore. I got to thinking about my fiction writing over the last few months and, what with all the other projects I’ve been doing lately, have ploddingly avoided jumping into a big, bold new fiction-based writing project in the past year. But with things wrapping up in that pulsing creative sphere I seem to project around myself, I think it might be nigh-on-time to kick something else into gear in the fiction-writing arena. And it’s the first week in September… so… now’s the moment: carpe diem, as they say.
I’ve been blogging a lot. But fiction? Not so much.
Thus, here is the announcement and the plan: a serialized novella.
Weekly installments. Posted here starting (next) Sunday. Each installment available (if all goes well) by the end of each weekend on Sunday evening some time. Fifty-two installments. At least five hundred words per instalment (which for those who are curious yet lacking word-counters is roughly — roughly — the same length as, and maybe a few words longer than, this particular post.) And that will be that: it will be free to read, but comments will be closed for all instalments.
I’ll set up an index page of the whole collection at some point along the way. Soon.
I do have an idea in my head for a plot. It will be speculative fiction and character-driven. But I haven’t written a word of it yet.
For now? Stay tuned.