A few years ago, well, in 2002, I came up with the idea of writing a set of micro-stories. I’d taken some literature class that required us to keep our responses between two hundred, and two hundred fifty words, and I remember how challenging it was to make a valid, significant point, but still keep it that concise. It was also a lot of fun.
I decided that I was going to make a fun project out of the extra-short writing concept. I’m not sure why I picked ninety-nine, maybe just because it was my quirky way of picking one hundred without actually picking a hundred, but that’s what I settled on. I was going to write stories that had ninety-nine words, and just to be extra clever, I was going to write ninety-nine of them.
And the idea sat around, collecting dust, for fourteen years.
Eventually, I stumbled across an old blog entry of mine, where I’d first publicly talked about the idea. I’d almost forgotten all about it, or at least had relegated it in my head to some mythical legend that had never taken form. When I was reminded of it, all of the ideas that I’d come up with to write about came flooding back as well.
This happened right at a time when I was being very self-critical about not expressing myself through creative outlets. It had been a long time since I’d made any sort of art, or written anything, and I was beginning to worry that I just didn’t have it in me anymore. So I did what I often do when someone tells me I can’t do something. Prove otherwise.
So I decided to kick my ass into gear, and actually start writing again.
I have a long time habit of planning grand projects, and then burning myself out by starting off too strong. This project was no different. My plan was to write a story a day, which upon reflection was far too ambitious. I wrote the few stories that had roughly outlined in my head, managed to come up with a couple more, and then stopped.
I like to justify this by telling myself that I was too busy, had a lot going on, let my content affect me, etc. But I know the truth. I was just being lazy.
Now I’m being more realistic about it. When I’m inspired, I write a story. If I not, I don’t force it. This obviously has to be tempered by periodic checks, to keep my underachieving nature at bay. But my point is that it’s a work in progress, and it’ll be done when it’s done.