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1000 Days to an MFA

“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.”

Ray Bradbury, Beyond 1984: The People Machines, 1979

I also want better. Not just for the world around us, but also myself. Can I be a Bradbury, Asimov, Bester, PKD, Le Guin? What hubris to even think it?

While, these are fantastic role models for a writer (writing craft only, not their personal lives), I’m reminded of the affirmation, “The only person you should compare yourself to is your former self.” Well, I’m okay, but there’s room for improvement. 8^)

In our first writing group meeting of the year we did an informal discussion, and some light-hearted ribbing, on our plans and ever extending deadlines for this year.

One of our members mentioned they were doing a program first promoted by Ray Bradbury on how to improve your writing – 1000 Days to an MFA. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.

Over the years I have fallen behind on things I love to do. The evening isn’t getting any longer.

Taking inspiration from giants of the past and the friends of the present, I’m going to work on my future.

And so. The plan:

– 10 mins of free-writing
– 60 mins of writing (editing, outlining, or writing)
– 30 mins of drafting (new)
– One (1) short story, or poem.

– Finish One(1) short story (bi-monthly)
– One(1) blog post on website
READING: (Book List)
– Read one(1) craft book (bi-monthly)
– Read at least one novel

– Drafted one(1) short story or
one(1) deep character profile
– Read one(1) article on writing

– 12+ short stories (zero draft or better)
– 12+ blog posts
– 365+ short stories/poems
– 52+ articles on writing
– 6+ books on the craft of writing
– 12+ novels

This may be overly ambitious; I work full-time. It may be a setup for failure; I have two kids under four whose priorities come first. But it’s a start that’s been a long time coming.

Here’s to renewed endeavors. After all, I published two short stories last year! Keep the momentum going. Build healthy habits. Writing habits. Every day. Every week. Every month.

What plans do you have for the year and beyond?


“The most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur
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