Three Stories in Three Days

I like to be challenged. I like setting goals for myself and seeing if I’m up to meeting them.

I had the idea of Three Stories in Three Days for several weeks. I wanted to see if I could do it. No immediate reason, other than the alliteration sounded good and I thought it would be a decent test of my artistic skills and endurance.

I’m telling you, it almost killed me.

I got up early every morning, had a big breakfast and coffee, and was working by eight. I often finished around eight or nine (I can’t really remember) that night, with an hour or two (or three) of downtime.  But even though I wasn’t writing those hours I was thinking of the story at hand. It was all very  intense, more than I realized it would be, I guess. I should have known better.

The problem was even though I was working on the first story of three, ideas for the other two kept popping into my head. So I had to deal with that and compartmentalize.  It was a mental juggle. It didn’t help that my nights were for the most part sleepless. Ideas (and some angst) kept intruding on my rest.  Initially, that first morning, I had some trepidation. Was I insane? This was a really big project. Who was I trying to impress?  What did it mean, if anything, that I wanted to do this? Not to mention I’m of the school a story is as long as it needs to be. Oh, no, what if a story had to be 40 pages? That’s a lot of work for one day. Was I setting myself up to fail?

Eh, quit your whining, you fuck, and get to work. Failure is not an option.

By the second day I was 2/3 through the second story when I was faced with a decision. I could write a quick and easy ending or go for the gold and write the ending the story had to have. Which meant it would be longer and I would have to keep working. But I was so tired! If you read my blog with any kind of regularity you know me well enough to know what side I came down on.  Story comes first.  But when I was into it I was psyched.  I kept getting up every couple of pages or so to work off some of the kinetic energy that was flowing from the story into me.  When I finished I thought I had written something pretty special.

By now I was damn near running on fumes.  The whole mental aspect of this was more draining than I figured it would be. I’ve written three days in a row before. I’ve written an entire story in one day. I’ve written 10.000 words in a single day.  But the whole dynamic of Three Stories in Three Days was like nothing I’ve ever attempted before.  Because day by day I had to shift into another gear. Often I would think, “I”m not going to be able to do this.”  But then I realized I did not want to fail. So I kept going. I pushed myself.  It was all mental.  That surprised me.

On Day Three I was dragging. It was zombie time.  I had no reason to be ashamed. I could quit. I already had completed Two Stories in Two Days. But that’s not what I set out to accomplish.  I started the third story. It didn’t want to flow. By noon I only had about four pages. I was running out of time and starting to panic. I recognized I was being held up more from exhaustion than anything else.  I knew these characters and the setting. (Which is the reason I chose them to be all Haxan stories, because I thought that would make it easier.  Haha. Fool that I am.) I pressed on.

By six o’clock the ending began to reveal itself, like slices out of an orange. I had to put them together. I have three Writing Rules: Tell a good story, persevere, and trust your instinct. I depended heavily on the last two. I instinctively felt the story was good, but I had to keep going and most of all I had to trust myself.  I wanted to quit. I couldn’t quit. I had to finish what I had started.

I did it. I wrote the story.

When I was finished I sat looking at the screen. I was beyond the point of being able to concentrate. I had lost that ability long ago.  The past three days were a wild blur.  It had been incredibly intense. I don’t know if anyone else would have felt that way. Maybe their experience would be entirely different.  But I am still amazed how personally intense those three days were with story, Story, STORY.  Man. I still can’t believe I actually did it.

Bottom line, I wanted to prove something to myself and I guess I did. It doesn’t mean anything in the long run. But I learned something about myself, what I can do, what I am capable of. That was instructive.

And to answer a question you might have, No, I am NOT going to do this again, haha. At least not on purpose! Once was more than enough, believe you me.  You can give it a shot!

I want to thank everyone who was cheerleading from the sidelines. That was a big help, more than you can ever know.

I’m still kinda stunned.  Three stories in three days. Doesn’t mean anything to you, maybe, but I was able to accomplish it. I set a goal and tested myself and met the challenge. Best part? The stories don’t suck.

But, boy, did it ever wear my butt out.

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