May is Short Story Month...
... and I had no idea until today. In my last newsletter, I mentioned that after a month of all things poetry during National Poetry Month, I'd be slowing down to focus on fiction during May. Little did I know that back in 2010, StoryADay proclaimed May the month of the short story.
In fact, I didn't even know StoryADay existed, so I'm thrilled to have found this resource and to share it here on my website. The concept was started by Scottish writer, podcaster, and speaker Julie Duffy after she challenged herself to write a story every day during the month of May, 2010. Now you can join in by signing up for prompts, challenges, and accountability through the website.
My history with writing fiction
As I've shared before, one aspect of my regular writing practice is to write a poem draft each morning. Part of my writing practice also involves spending at least ten minutes a day responding to writing prompts, so I have many fiction "starts." But after weeks and years of writing, I have fewer finished fiction pieces than I'd like.
For this reason, I love the concept of writing (and finishing!) a short every day--but I admit I'm intimidated! In my newsletter, I shared that I started 2023 with the goal of writing a story every week. This is partially because I want to write more fiction and partially because I've read or listened to countless writers talk about writing a story a week. For example:
"Write one short story a week…at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done." -Ray Bradbury
I haven't succeeded in finishing a story each week, and out of frustration I shared that I decided to change it finishing a story each month. I thought I was "too busy" and "too overwhelmed" to complete a story each week. Just like everyone else, I do have a lot on my plate: full-time freelance work, my creative writing work, family, health, kids, life in general...
However, after taking some hard looks in the mirror and thoughtful reflection, I realize that the reason I haven't succeeded in finishing a weekly story is because I haven't tried (enough). I've quit too early or stopped entirely when the going got rough. Other people who are far busier than I am manage to start--and finish!--fiction stories, collections, and even whole novels.
I need to stop making excuses and start making time for fiction.
I'm not committing to writing a story every day. At least not this month! However, I am going to commit to completing the stories I start. One of my long-term goals is to finish a collection of related stories. I've already finished several, a few of which have been published or are forthcoming in different journals. Knowing that May is Short Story Month is motivating, and I plan to use that motivation to continue the story I started in April and the one I started in March.
In the meantime, think about the ways you can celebrate short fiction this month. You don't have to write a story to support short stories. Here are a few ideas:
Become a fiction ally by reading a short story every day in May (check out this free and ongoing collection from Reedsy)
Consider supporting writers of short fiction by purchasing a short story collection (I recommend Sometimes Only the Sad Songs Will Do by David Denny--my review of this collection is coming soon!)
Check out short story recommendations on social media using the #shortreads hashtag
Subscribing to a literary journal that promotes short fiction (some of my favorites include Smokelong Quarterly, Zoetrope All-Story, and One Story)
How are you celebrating short fiction in May?
If you decide to embrace short fiction, I'd love to hear from you! Keep me posted on your reading and writing this month by emailing me directly or reaching out to me through the contact page on my website.
Enjoy short story month!