A Novella Challenge?

The High Holidays are in the rear view mirror now. I always hope that I will emerge from them refreshed and a bit better. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes not. This year’s is still a question.

Steve and I slept far more than we expected and were more tired and weak than is normal for Yom Kippur fasting. So either a residue from a bad cold we’ve had in the past couple weeks or too little sleep in the last couple of months. Or both.

We began our discussions for the future last night. I am focused on next year’s challenge. We recently watched Kris Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s How to Write a Novella Pop-Up course that we got free as a stretch goal for their latest Diving the Wreck Kickstarter. (This is the best way to get their courses, btw. They give away so much free content in their Kickstarters it is nearly always worthwhile to support them.)

In the course Dean mentions the idea of writing a novella a month for twelve months. The idea fired my imagination, first because from a purely logical/mathematical standpoint it seems achievable. Twelve novellas in twelve months is somewhere between 180,000-420,000 words in a year, which comes to about 3,500 -8,000 words a week. In other words, less than a 1,000 words a day. I wrote 232,776 words of completed short stories during the Great Challenge, so this is totally do-able. From a mathematical perspective.

Second, It seems utterly fantastical and impossible from another perspective. It’s a crazy amount of novellas to write in a year. It seems impossibly daring to commit to, but less intimidating than writing a single full novel. (My brain is funny that way.)

Third, I love novellas. It is my favorite reading length. And obviously if I’m going to write a novella a month, I would need to gear my brain up by reading lots of novellas, which sounds like a lot of fun. Dean points out that in the new Indie world, novellas are just as marketable as novels, so there is no downside to writing them.

I’m sitting with this idea. It seems like a great idea today, but it also delays novel writing, which may not be such a good thing. I could count novels in the challenge, though I don’t know that I can write a novel in a month. I’ll explore other challenges as well before December 31, the day we lock in our plans for 2021. If anyone wants to join me in any of these challenges, let me know. I would love to have company.

Dean has a post up today that I encourage everyone to read: Dare to Be Bad. It is about his mantra that enabled me to get past my crippling fears of writing to finish 52 stories in 52 weeks. It is what enables me to send out stories. It’s really a wonderful affirmation to recite. He explains it fully in that post.

So that is where I am the first full day after the high holidays. And for my friends who asked (you know who you are), today is the 12th of Tishrei of the year 5781. Yes, that is right, I have a new Jewish calendar and can look days up (until I misplace the calendar).

May 5781 challenge all of us in good ways. Be well, friends!

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