W1S1 Q1 is over. It's incredible to think that we're already 25% of the way through the year. I thought I'd take the opportunity to review how it's all working after three months, for me at least.
When we set this scheme up we called it an "experiment". Is it possible to write and submit a new story each week as Bradbury did? And if it is, is doing so a good idea? Is it helpful to the writing process or just a burden?
I guess we'll all have our own views, but my honest answers after 3 months are that it is possible and that it's both a help and a burden, actually. But mostly a help.
On the plus side, the incentive of "having" to write a story each week works for me. Obviously if I failed one week, nothing bad would happen, apart from my fellow Write1Sub1ers laughing and calling me names. But wanting to keep up is a great incentive. It puts me in the mindset of thinking, "Right, what's this week's story going to be?" Having to write something no matter how good or bad is a great spur. I know I've written a bunch of stuff, some of it already published, that I wouldn't have otherwise. I've also written stories that have been bouncing around in my head for a long time which I just wasn't getting round to. So, yay for Write1Sub1.
On the negative side, concentrating more on shorter fiction has probably meant I've spent less time on the longer stuff. I'm editing a novel at the moment, and that's coming on nicely. But the novel I'd hoped to start this year : haven't touched it. Equally, I've tended to focus on shorter short fiction, if that makes sense. A 10,000 word novella doesn't fit very well into a week's writing in my universe. If I was doing the monthly scheme, that would work better. So I've tended to write short short stories, flash stories and microstories for Twitter etc. Again, this has worked well for me and I've produced some stuff I'm proud of. But a small part of me does worry that it's cheating, I'll admit. One Twitter fiction story a week is pretty easy to do, let's be honest. I find myself writing and submitting four or five Twitter stories and maybe a flash story too in a week to feel like I've done the scheme justice. Does anyone else feel like that?
I think there's also a danger of rushing things. I've fallen into the pattern of drafting out a story one week and editing/polishing/submitting the next. That works pretty well but it's still a tight timescale. It leaves little room for beta readers to get involved, for example. We were very clear up front that it doesn't have to be the same story you write and submit each week/month and I think that's important. You need time to set things aside and come back to them. Actually I think it might be a good idea to submit things written several weeks or even months ago - but obviously that makes it hard to be submitting early on in the year.
Overall, I'm thrilled I got involved in Write1Sub1 and will most definitely keep it up for the year. Next year I may seek a different balance though. We shall see. What do you think? How's it been for you so far?