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Thirty in 30!

30in30 is DONE.

This month for 30in30 I…
– Finished 30 short stories.
– Wrote a total of 79,564 words.
– Outlined an additional 37 short stories.
– Wrote the rough drafts for 5.5 other short stories.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I decided for sure to do 30in30. I new it would be hard. I knew it would be a lot of work. I did not realize that 30in30 was going to be way harder then doing The 5 Day Novel, and it was!

The 5 Day Novel in a way was easy. I put my life on pause for five days and basically did nothing but sleep and write with a few breaks for walking and eating. It was hard work, but easy because doing it was the priority. One of the main things that intrigued me about 30in30 was that it would be about balance. To achieve success in 30in30 I’d have to NOT put everything else in my life on pause and yet still get the challenge done.

July is historically a busy month for me because for the past five years I’ve done a Kickstarter. This year I had to prep it, launch it, and keep tabs on it. Although it sounds super simple, running a Kickstarter is not easy and is super time consuming. July is also when all the big board games come out, right before Gen Con so I have lots of freelance photography work. Because July is so busy for me I usually do less writing then, and I was excited about 30in30 because it was a way for me to try and find balance so that I could still write.

Although I finished and managed to do the thirty stories in thirty days, I do think I could have done better. For starters I was not ready at the start of the month. I was too busy prepping for the Kickstarter and so I didn’t plan out and outline all the stories till a few days into starting the challenge. The challenge would have gone much smoother if I had done it before the start.

I also did something a bit crazy in that all my short stories are set in the same universe as my upcoming fantasy series. They cover about a five thousand year time span and not only are the POVs drastically different throughout all thirty, but the style of the stories shift. A few of the stories are creation myths and they are written as such with an omniscient storybook style view. Other stories were more fairy tale romance, or historical text, or in-world fiction.

Of the thirty only about a third were written in the same third person point of view as my fantasy series and the writing process would have gone smoother if the style of the stories was more consistent. I apparently have a mental block and cannot easily transition from one style to another. I needed at break between the different styles and instead of powering through a bunch of short stories on a single day I needed breaks between them to get into the right head spaces of the different styles.

I am also a bit disappointed because maybe twenty-five of the stories are not stand alone in the sense that the main book in the series should be read first to avoid spoilers or some of the stories were specifically written to be put inside of the books in the main series. I really wish I had manage to get more fully stand alone stories done. As is I think there are still ten or eleven stories I HAVE to write because I got too distracted with the world building and different story styles and I need those additional stories for reader magnets, email sign-ups and all that jazz.

Although I wish I had done better, I am proud of myself. It was an interesting challenge and I’m super glad I did it. However I wasn’t the only one who did it. After announcing that I was going to do 30in30 I had a bunch of other authors jump on board. I made a Facebook group and we spent the last thirty days cheering each other on.

I was a bit hesitant in inviting others to join the challenge. For starters it made me the de-facto leader and I hate being in charge. I also knew how hard it was going to be and that a bunch of people would feel bad when they didn’t finish. I don’t like to make people feel bad. However one of my main teaching philosophies with my non-fiction is about empowering writers to figure out who they are and I figured even if someone did the challenge but quit after five to ten stories, they were still ending at a better place then where they started.

What I didn’t expect was the bonding with the group members. They were all so awesome and they all made the challenge their own. I did my best to cheer them on, but at the same time they pushed me to work harder and that was a cool feeling. From what I know at least two others, and maybe three also completed 30in30.

I’m super proud of all the writers who attempted 30in30 and I really hope that those who didn’t finish don’t feel bad or like they failed. So much of 30in30 was about learning balance and making time. Fingers crossed, even those who didn’t end the month with thirty finished stories still had a few take aways about themselves and their process.

Would I do 30in30 again? I think so, but it would have to be at a time when it wouldn’t distract me from writing a novel or one of my non-fiction books. So maybe next July when I have another Kickstarter and am to distracted to write a full novel? I also think next time I’d make sure all the stories were the same style and type of POV. It would also be nice to switch up the genre so they didn’t have to be so heavily world-builded and fit into a pre-established continuity.

That was my July. How did your July go?