One year. Four dozen stories.
When I first conceived of this project, way back in late 2019 (around November, I think), I had no idea what 2020 would bring.
Then again, none of us did.
All I knew was that I had any number of previously published stories that weren’t doing anything and several on my hard drive that had never found a home.
With a little creative scheduling, I figured it would be fairly easy to write enough new stories to fill in any blanks.
Then 2020 actually happened.
I wondered what I’d gotten myself into and feared that somewhere along the way, I’d get derailed. So I took it one story and one week at a time.
It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be. In some ways, it became my anchor for 2020. I could always edit a post, create images in Photoshop, or excavate stories from my hard drive.
(Note: if you’re fairly new to writing, it may seem strange that you can forget about writing stories. I’m here to tell you: it really does happen.)
A couple of times, I came this close to not having any stories scheduled. At others, I had so many in the queue, there wasn’t enough room on the WordPress dashboard to display them all.
Once, I became exceedingly confused and published a story on Thursday, realized my mistake, and unpublished it until the next day. This was post-COVID, so we can simply blame lingering coronavirus brain fog for that.
I learned a number of practical lessons, things like it’s good to have several posts in reserve in case you sprain your ankle or that scheduling each story/post will take much longer than you think it will.
The project–and 2020–gave me the chance to reflect on my writing in a way I’m not sure I would have otherwise. As the saying goes:
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten.
Or, in this case, fifteen. That’s the breadth of the stories in this collection. It’s not the sum total of my entire writing career, but it’s a significant portion of it. I chose not to include some earlier stories (and, actually, some later ones too). They’re not necessarily bad. They were published, after all–one even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. They simply didn’t fit the collection.
So now I’ll turn my attention not only to 2021 but beyond. Sure, there are many things I’d like to accomplish this coming year, but I’m going to keep my eye on the next decade as well.