52 Weeks, 52 Stories

Landing Your First Publication, Mandy Wallace

With my MFA behind me, I’m setting my sights on earning a more recent publishing credit than 2006. Over the course of my graduate program, I wrote and submitted several short stories, but each received multiple rejections.

Instead of lamenting, I wanted to take a proactive approach, which led me to Mandy Wallace’s book Landing Your First Publication: The Writing Prompts + Publication Strategy for Writers Who Refuse to Rely on Luck.

The book is predicated on Ray Bradbury’s advice to write a new short story a week with the faith that at least one of them will be good enough to catch an editor’s eye. My friend Melody and I took on the challenge.

Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

Ray Bradbury

It’s my hope that writing 52 stories will not only help me find publication but help me work out some of the kinks in my writing method. It’s one thing to learn what makes a good story, it’s a whole other beast to put that knowledge to use.

We started August 12, so I’m three stories in. So far, I’ve written two science-fiction pieces and one fantasy for a total of about 8,500 words.

Already the process has been beneficial. Each week, I’ve had to push each story to completion in spite of the fear that they’d turn out awful. Guess what? I’m really happy so far with two of the three. It’s yet another reminder that fear of failure has little basis in reality. Perseverance is a skill in itself.

In the past, I’d have written maybe one story in three weeks and polished it into oblivion before submitting it. In that same time, I’ve already written three and sent out my first two.

Writing and submitting fresh material is cathartic because I know I’m taking action to achieve my goal of getting published. I’m excited to see what happens during the remaining 49 weeks. Wish me luck!

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