Amongst all of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) buzz currently going on out there at the moment, I stumbled on something I’d never heard of: the Ray Bradbury challenge.
In this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W-r7ABrMYU#t=20 — sorry, I am too lazy at the moment to properly embed that link…) — An Evening With Ray Bradbury, 2001 — Mr. Bradbury challenges authors to two things in order to hone their craft and become more creative:
1. The best “mental hygiene” for authors is to practice writing short stories. Write one a week. As he says, out of 52 stories, they won’t all be bad. “At the end of a week you will have accomplished something!” And:
2. Expand your brain. For 1,000 nights, read a short story, a poem and a non-fiction essay (archeology, zoology, anthropology, philosophy, politics, literary criticism - anything!) before bed. “Stuff your head with more different things from different fields.”
You know, this has struck a real chord with me. These are both just such great ideas. I find myself compelled to attempt this, starting in 2015. (I know, critics out there will say, “Why then? Why not now?”, and to that I answer: because the New Year is going to be a new start. In my personal life, 2014 has sucked turquoise donkey balls, and frankly, I can’t wait for it to be over. 2015 can only be better. Right now is just a slog to get through the last few weeks. And that’s the honest truth.)
So this is what I will do. And I will document all of this here on the blog. I will post my short stories and list my reading material, and in doing so, I will be held accountable by you, my tiny group of readers. And if I happen to fail, you have my permission to throw rotten bananas at me. Only fair, right? So let’s see what happens. Right now, I’m totally game. We’ll see how I feel when we get through the first week of January…