In 2015, I issued myself a personal challenge: write one brand new erotic short story every day in the month of May. I set myself a 700 word minimum per story, and told myself that the stories didn’t have to even be GOOD, just not horrible.
It was a struggle, but I succeeded, and I turned those stories into my “Short Strokes” series, which is available on Amazon (I suggest “Short Strokes: The Complete Collection,” simply because it’s the best value for money by far).
I did this challenge for a number of reasons. For one thing, I wanted to have more titles for sale under my name. The more titles I have, the bigger chance somebody stumbles onto one, and the bigger the chance that they fall in love with me as an author. Or, at least, that they enjoy what they read enough to pick up a second title.
Also, I did it to improve my writing.
One of the problems that I had as a writer early on was my own perfectionism. I could–and did–sit and tinker with a single short story for years. I had trouble knowing when a story was finished, because I could always revise it to be just a bit better than before. As an author hoping to make a living with my work, I needed to be able to actually finish my work, and to do it in a timely manner.
That’s the other issue–time. I wanted to practice meeting deadlines. I wanted to be get better at not only finishing a story, but finishing it within a specific timeline.
My first May challenge was a good growth experience, one that sharpened my skills as a writer in both of those areas, and more.
In 2016, I issued myself another May challenge. This time, I’d again try to write a short story for every day in May, but I’d up the minimum word count to 2,500!!
Again, I succeeded.
It was rough, but I hammered out 31 new short stories in one month, and most of those are up for sale on Amazon.
On the final day, late at night, I still had one story left to write, and only a couple of hours left before midnight. I was completely out of ideas. I was fried. I was damn-near brain dead. I’d learned that the only way to do this kind of challenge was to force myself to get out of my own way, and to
Desperate for an idea, ANY good idea, I went to twitter and started reading through the tweets by @MagicRealismBot, a plot-generating bot that I follow. Almost immediately, I found an idea that I knew I could work with.
From memory, it was “A game-show host is climbing an octopus. She will never make it.”
About an hour and a half later, I’d finished writing “The Octopunishment,” my first tentacle-erotica story, a pornographic Greek myth about an afterlife of sexual torment for a woman who dared insult a god.
I’m particularly proud of that story, especially considering the pressure that I was under. It turned out damned good, and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it.
In 2017, I again issued myself a May challenge. Same as before, but this time I swore to have a minimum word count of 5,000 words!!!
And I utterly failed to accomplish my goal.
Like, it was pathetic.
I wrote two stories that month, and only because anthology submission deadlines were due. My life upheaved, and I found myself in the midst of several crapstorms that I won’t even get into.
The point is, WOW, did I fail!
So here we are. It’s May again, and I’m going to try another challenge. I’m low-balling it a bit, because my defeat last year stung, and because my life is pretty busy due to my current Fucking Day Job.
This year, I’m going to focus on my much-neglected Blog that I started in 2015. Currently, I have something like five posts. If I meet my challenge, I should have 31 more blog posts to add to that by the end of the month.
Starting with this post right here.
I’m thinking that I’ll aim for 800 words minimum per post. Word-count usually comes pretty easily to me, so I should probably have a ceiling as well.
What’s a good limit? 1,200 words? 1,600 words?
I guess I’ll figure that out.
Got any other advice for me?
If you’d like more information on my previous challenges, I did a couple of interviews about the subject with my friend and fellow erotica author Angora Shade for her blog back in 2016. I encourage you to check both interviews out, along with the rest of Angora’s blog!