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The Bradbury Challenge

I have a tag Bradbury Challenge for blog posts that reference The Bradbury Challenge. You might wonder what The Bradbury Challenge is.

Here is the long answer.

The short answer is it is a pair of things for new writers to do. The goal is to give you something to write about and develop the craft.

The something to write about challenge is to read. To quote Stephen King, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Bradbury suggests for 1000 days you read a short story, an essay, and a poem every day.

The craft part is write a short story every week for a year. Bradbury’s argument is no one can write 52 bad stories in a row.

It took me four tries to get into the first part. I used to think if I missed one day I had to restart the count. When I started to think in terms of systems instead of goals, I decided the goal of the 1000 days was to so ingrain that habit that you do that reading close to every day for the rest of your life. Since I started my fourth attempt I’m 317 day of reading completed over 977 days as of this writing. To give you an idea on the habit formation, I’ve finished 64 days straight. My prior best was 41.

I have been writing short stories, but as I write this (2020/09/14) I have not come close to a sustained story a week. That is still a struggle, but again, the idea is now to get regular writing fiction, day in, day out, at a rate that can produce a short story a week. Yes, having those finished stories will help me grow in craft, but writing at that pace is the first step.

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