The New Workout Plan

As you may have gathered from last week’s post, I probably feel worse about my writing than I have in years. I feel utterly devoid of ideas, creatively bankrupt, a victim of my own paralysis and high standards.

Simply, this cannot continue. As tempting as it is to sit in my pajamas playing Sonic CD until April 1 when my mood starts to improve, I know it’ll leave me more miserable than I already am. So, time to commit to something.

One of the cooler things I did recently was sign up to Poets.org’s ‘Poem a Day’ mailing list. Every morning I get a new poem in my inbox, from the classical to the contemporary.

But poetry is not where my interests primarily lie; I’m more interested in short fiction (but ‘Short Stories for Gravediggers’ didn’t have the same ring).

This is the short story shelf of our bookshelves. All of those books are mine, and while I’ve made a sizable dent in them over the years, they’re nowhere close to done. this isn’t including the pile of McSweeney’s Quarterlies a couple of shelves down.

So here’s the plan: for the month of March, I will a read one story from one of these books each day, and give it a brief writeup here on PFG, highlighting what I liked about it, and more importantly, what I learned from it, since what I’m looking for here is inspiration.

The familiar knowledge goes that the two most important things any inspiring writer can do is read a lot and write a lot. I’ll worry about the second part if I get through this.

Thirty days, thirty stories, no author repeats if possible, and no rereading anything I’ve already read, with a concerted effort to go outside my comfort zone [example: The Lady’s Bradbury collection]. You lot seem to like when I commit to thirty-day challenges, hopefully you’ll stay with me through it.

When it’s all over, who knows, maybe I’ll have enough in me to finish something. Hold your breath on that one. But we’ll have some laughs as we go down in flames.

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