30 Stories in 30 Days: Complete!

This post follows my successfully-completed endeavor to read one short story every day for 30 days, write about it, then post what I wrote on my blog. I challenged myself to do this in order to observe good writing, apply what I learned to my own writing, and—at least, where blogging is concerned—work on that other goal of expanding my writerly platform.

Now that the daily reflections are over, however, the time has come to reflect on the process as a whole.

Let’s look at the charts, shall we?


Number of stories read: 31*

Number of words looked up: 135

Number of followers gained: 71

*Rounded up for the 31 days in January.

It’s a little harder to quantify just how much I learned in terms of craft, but there was at least one lesson in it for me each day. Every story, besides generally being a pleasure to read, had something to teach.

Looking at everything I’m coming away with—more stories in my head, better craft, new vocabulary, and no small amount of new followers—I definitely feel that this practice was worth the time I put into it.

That being said, of course, time was probably the biggest tradeoff in this investment. Reading a story every day (anywhere from one to twenty-six pages) might have cost a minute or a couple of hours; summarizing the story, looking up words and reflecting on writing lessons probably took up to another hour, or longer if the story was lengthy; compiling everything into daily blog posts (and formatting, finding an image, tagging, etc.) likely cost upwards of another half an hour.

That’s a pretty big commitment for thirty consecutive days, and it didn’t leave a lot of time for me to focus on the task this whole endeavor was meant to serve: writing! And yet, I did manage to write an entirely new short story in the month of January…(hooray!)

Am I glad I did it? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? With pleasure.

Am I in a hurry to do it again? No, sir—I have a manuscript to revise! That’s going to be priority #1 for a while.

I am, however, contemplating another, less time-consuming series. I like the idea of using those 135 words I picked up for something—maybe printing out and cutting up the definitions, putting them in a jar, and drawing a handful at random each day to make sentences with. We shall see.

Alternatively: blackout poems. That could be a fun break.

At the very least, coming up are a complete list of the 31 stories I read for my challenge, plus a compiled vocabulary list (all 135 new words).

Right now I’m still enjoying my (it feels as if new-found!) free time to write write write, anything I want! So far, since January and the challenge ended, I’ve written:

  • A letter
  • A poem that I’m really excited about…and might name a chapbook after
  • A rant about ugly pajama pants (look for it shortly)
  • Roughly twenty pages of manuscript (well, re-written; I’ve changed a great deal, plus wrote a character into one of the first scenes).

Well, lads—for now it’s back to the books, as they say!


4 responses to “30 Stories in 30 Days: Complete!”

  1. That is definite success Julie! I know that I loved reading your interpretations and even though I didn’t comment on a lot, I still read your thoughts. Eeep! I am so excited for you and your manuscript! 🙂 I hope all goes well! ♥

    1. Thank you, Emma! I am at least as excited to see an “Eeep!” that is not my own in relation to my novel 😀

  2. I commend you for the completion of your tasks. I read many of your 31 posts and found them to be very engaging and inspiring.

    I think doing something with the vocabulary words is a great idea. What is a blackout poem? That’s a new term for me.

    Whatever you are led to do, I am confident you will do it with much zeal and fervor and that you will produce something written well.

    1. Thank you, Tony, for your continued reading and comments! It was a pleasure to have you reading along with me.

      A blackout poem is created from an existing text. You take something like a newspaper article, or a magazine, or (perhaps) the page of a weathered old book, and circle words that you want to use. When you’ve circled your words (not necessarily in complete sentences, but in coherent readability), you take a marker and color over everything else.

      Voila. The blackout poem. Give it a shot– they’re a lot of fun! 🙂

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