I Tried to Write a Story per Day and Failed
When you are looking for writing tips on the internet, a common piece of advice is to write more. There are countless articles like “Daily Writing Helped Me Improve” or “How I Write 10.000 Words Per Day”. So as a fairly novice writer myself, I set a goal to write and publish one story per day for the month of July. However, after the unlucky number of 13 days, I failed and missed a day. Here are some of the reasons why.
I am a slow writer. It takes me a long time to find good sentence structures with proper words. And that’s just the writing itself. Depending on the story, other steps may take up as much time as the writing. Probably the most common area I write in is programming. Many programming stories include code snippets. It doesn’t matter whether it is code I wrote on the same day or years ago, I have to go over the code sections meticulously because I want to make sure that there are no obvious mistakes and I didn’t overlook anything.
Another aspect of writing that takes up a lot of time is research. Unless it is a pure narration of what I did or experienced, pretty much every story includes research. Even in programming, there are many things I do on a daily basis that I only have dangerous half-knowledge about. And before I write something that may be incorrect, I try my best to check whether I remember everything correctly.
Finally, there are the images. The best case is just taking an image from Unsplash, which may take some time because I keep thinking “maybe there’s a better image on a later page”, but overall is fairly quick. Screenshots may take a little bit longer, depending on what I need to set up to take that screenshot. And I even went so far to create a Blender scene for a story to create a custom image.
The complete process to create a story takes me a few hours at least. Which would be fine on its own, but it takes a lot of time away from other work, which leads me to the second reason.
My main source of story ideas is my daily work. I do a lot of programming, game development, web development, designing, and 3D modeling and I come across interesting topics regularly. However, if I spend a large amount of time writing a story, I don’t have a lot of time to work on other things, which means fewer ideas.
Another source of ideas is my daily life. A topic might come from something I experienced, read, saw, or thought about during the day. I wish my life was exciting enough to produce one great story idea per day, but unfortunately, my life is rather boring, so at best something worth writing about happens every few days.
Writing a story per day exhausted my idea pool faster than I was able to replenish it.
3. Hot Air
I feel bad writing about hot air. A lot of information and content on the internet isn’t new or unique. Most of it is repeated many times. And I don’t really want to be a part of that, I want there to be at least some value to the story. Although this might just be something to get used to. Maybe something completely obvious for me isn’t that obvious for somebody else and is still worth writing about. Or people just like to be reminded about the same thing many times.
4. Quality vs. Quantity
Publishing one story per day is obviously great for quantity. However, quality can suffer from limited writing time. While I haven’t found any relation between writing effort and a story’s success so far, common sense says there should be one. My only semi-successful story was written quite quickly on a single evening. However, on some days, I felt like the article for that day could have benefitted from more polishing time, but I had to publish it anyway to follow my daily schedule.
Publishing daily is a great way to overcome a fear of the publish button. I don’t suffer from it too much, I know that I will never be able to write the perfect story, no matter how much time I put into it. But for some stories, it is worth spending a little bit more time on them. It may not make them any more successful, but it might make you happier with the result.
Ah, motivation, the big topic. Trying to write daily, motivation plays an important role. A big part of my motivation comes from my ideas. If I feel confident in the idea of the story, I am a lot more motivated to write about it. As mentioned above, coming up with a great idea every single day is extremely difficult. Therefore, finding the motivation to write some stories was a lot more difficult than others.
Another aspect of motivation is success. A few of my stories had the slightest amount of success, but most didn’t have any success at all. There is always a balance between the joy over small amounts of success and the discouragement of zero views. And on some days the disappointment wins and makes it even harder to keep going.
After 13 days of writing and publishing a story daily, I failed and missed a day. Writing took too much time away from other things, which serve as my idea generation pool. Fewer and worse ideas lead to less motivation to write and less motivated writing takes more time, stealing even more time away from other things. I am still going to write frequently, maybe even try to post daily, but when I feel that a story needs another day of polishing or I cannot come up with a great idea for the day, missing a few days is totally fine as well.