Maybe you know that November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. The NaNoWriMo goal is to write a 50,000 word novel, from scratch, in a month. The idea, as I understand it, is to encourage people to write without worrying about what they're writing. It's for all those people who don't finish things because they spend too long tweaking, or too much time worrying that their writing is crap. The only way that 50,000 words in a month is even remotely possible, I gather, is if you don't stop to think about it.
I'm not going to take part in NaNoWriMo. I don't want to write a novel at the moment, and I think that 50,000 words in a month is an impossible target for me. But I like the idea; I've lost count of the number of times I've started to write something, and ended up stopping because I'm afraid I'm writing rubbish. I'm sick of doing that. I want to finish something. It will be rubbish, but hopefully I'll gain some insight into why.
So, I give you SSWriMo: Short Story Writing Month. My goal is to write 20,000 words worth of short stories in the month of November. That's probably something like four stories, at a very satisfying rate of 666 words a day.
Now 20,000 words is probably just as unreachable as 50,000. It's job season for astronomers, so I've got about a million job applications to write. They're obviously going to take priority. But I'm going to give it a shot. I'll try to keep you updated on my progress here, although there's a good chance it'll devolve into posts about word count and not much else. Every word written for this blog is a word that isn't going into a short story, after all!
Some ideas that are currently percolating in my brain: the first close-up look at a neutron star, a dangerous criminal loose aboard the World Train, and a dream I had that co-starred William Shatner.
Seriously, William Shatner. Awesome.