The Hunt for Metaphors

I’ve written about this several times before, most notably in one of my posts for Amazing Stories years ago, but one of my favorite YouTube videos is a lecture given by Ray Bradbury at Point Loma Nazarene University in 2002. (I’m watching it as I write this piece.)
In it, he gives beginning writers a treasure trove of advice on how to get started and how to improve one’s writing ability, and one of the main points he stressed upon early in his talk was the importance of metaphors.
In order for someone to really get good at identifying metaphors in books and stories and to be able to write good metaphors he gave a challenge. For the next 1000 nights he told the audience to read one short story, one poem, and one essay. To my knowledge, at least for those who would post about it online, no one has ever completed this task. I myself have attempted it twice already, managing to go a little over a month before eventually giving up.
Now that my passion about writing has come alive even greater than it ever has before and I’ve begun writing every night, I’ve decided to give it one more go. In the past I’ve called it my “Bradbury Diet” or my “Bradbury Program” but this time I’m not going to give a name to my challenge.
Instead, every night I’m just going to log what I’ve accomplished for the day reading and writing. Hopefully in 1000 nights I’d have read more stories, essays, and poems than most people ever will.
And hopefully I will have my name in print somewhere, too.

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End of 2016

In years past I would write myself long lists of New Year’s Resolutions, many of which involved reading or writing. I know better than that, now. I never ever follow through with any of them, so instead of calling my goals “Resolutions” I just decided to call them goals, and instead of waiting until the New Year to get started I started right after Christmas. 

For the first time, I experienced my first success.

I had three writing goals for myself that I really wanted to accomplish. 

1) Write 1000 words a day minimum.

2) Finish one short story a week. And

3) Read every day.

I started these things on Wednesday. Here it is Saturday, New Year’s Eve, and already I’ve achieved these three things for the week. Last night I finished my first full-length short story. It’s not very good, and even if I polished it up I’d never want to publish it or anything, but what’s important to me is that I FINISHED a story. I didn’t give up half way through, I didn’t start writing it one night and never touch it again. I stuck with it for four days straight and finished it. 

On top of that, I wrote it in 1000 word increments–in other words, 1000 words a day, fulfilling the second goal of mine. Both of these gave me a major boost in confidence, let me tell you.

I’ve also been trying to cut back my gaming so I can read more. I’m almost through a second read-through of Philip K. Dick’s Solar Lottery and also a little over half-way into Stephen King’s On Writing. Today I’ve been reading the November/December issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, so I have three things going on right now. At the rate I’m going with my reading I should have all three, and possibly even a fourth, done by Friday. I have the next two days off of work and plan on being up late tonight so maybe I can squeeze a fifth book in this week.

So that’s my plan for the year 2017. If I keep up this pattern I should have at least a hundred books read, at least 52 short stories, and roughly 400,000 words written, not counting my blog entries.

Happy New Year, everybody!