It wasn’t a particularly exciting week, but I did finish a few things.

Read two books this week (TWO?!?). You can thank the amazing Multnomah County’s public library for that, in particular the amazing array of books they have available in Overdrive (service that lets you checkout books on your e-reader). I won’t give the titles here, because to be honest I was disappointed with both. Each had interesting story ideas, were parts of series – and were plagued by horrific prose. I know my writing must be shite, because I have the lack of sales to back that up. These were bad.

I pulled a story from submission this week, mostly because I realized the “publication” was dead. So, that one went back out, because that’s what we do. But riding high on that tide, I also finished a new(!) short story and sent it out this week. I don’t hold high hopes that it will succeed at the professional market I started at, but go big or go home.

That got me  toying with an ambitious idea. A challenge, if you will. There are 21 weeks (and 1 day) left in the year. In a perfect world, I’d love to say I can do a story a week.

Yeah, I knew that was insane the second I thought it. But...I bet I could do seven new stories, out the door, between now and the end of the year. Let’s face it – some weeks are going to be crap. Work, sick, life, and work will combine efforts to bring that down. (Yes, work was listed twice. Those who understand are just nodding along.  But then, some weeks aren’t going to be so bad.) Some weeks, though, I should be able to crank out two stories.

I’m not challenging myself to write a certain number of words. Word challenges ultimately fail for me. Maybe it’s because at the end of the day there’s nothing to point at but more words. But finishing stories? Those give a sense of accomplishment, a sense of completion.

So here it is:  I’m challenging myself to write 7 new short stories and send them out before the end of the year.  That’s seven, never seen by slush readers before, stories.

I won’t even count the one I sent out this week. But with 21 weeks, seven is the perfect number in my head. Three weeks to work on a story should be completely achievable. And then you get to cap it by sending it out.

I’ll even add this gauntlet – a challenge to my fellow writers. Join me. Embrace the dark side. Remember, a short story is anywhere from 500 to 17,000 words depending on your market.  Ping me on twitter (@kodermike) or use the hashtag #7storychallenge, but join the fun. Mock me when I fail. Celebrate with me when we finish.

Who’s up for the challenge?