The Short Story Shuffle: 12 Months of Short Story Writing

With the new year here already, many writers set big writing goals for themselves with the hopes that they'll finally write that novel or finish that screenplay. Such an achievement is definitely something to be proud about, but for many writers can lead to disappointment.


For instance, often you may not write a novel that year—a huge task—which leads to disappointment. Or, you may finish the novel only to realize it is total trash for various reasons. Maybe it's because you didn't plan ahead of time or maybe you did too much planning. However things go down, attempting this task alone is something to be proud of. 

Last year I talked about how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals as a writer so you can actually achieve your writing dreams. One of the key elements to set an achievable goal is to create tasks that you have control over. This means avoiding goals that are dictated by other people's decisions, such as whether or not your work is accepted for publication somewhere. Goals like that are completely out of your control, and not worth setting this new year.

Instead, you should set realistic goals that you can measure as a writer and not goals that you'll give up by the end of January. Goals that set you up for success and help you work towards your dreams of publication, but which you take full ownership of.

Many writers want to write a book and as a result, participate in NaNoWriMo. While I have a lot of respect for NaNoWriMo participants, it is a sprint approach to writing that may not work for many. Additionally, despite the changing trends in publication, if you want to make your mark as a novelist, you almost always first have to demonstrate your skills as a short story writer before landing the book deal. (Unless you choose to self-publish.)

As I've said before though, writing short stories goes beyond pathing you a path for publication. It trains you as a writer and editor in a way that taking on a big novel right away cannot. 

That's why I've created the Short Story Shuffle, a 12-month challenge for writers in which they write 12 stories over 12 months, rotating which they edit as they months pass. This not only gives them 12 different stories they can submit for publications but also develops a regular habit over a year's time of writing. 

Writing a single short story a month is still a lot of work, but it is not nearly as much as writing a novel requires. Because of this, those with full-time jobs and other obligations may find it easier to squeeze in the time to write their story on the weekend and in the evenings without falling far behind when they forget a week or two. 

How does the Short Story Shuffle work?

Each month you will first and foremost write a short story of your choosing. There will be a fun prompt to help you get thinking, as well as a calendar with an ideal schedule, a recommended short story to read, and an approach to prioritization. 

Once a month you'll be sent everything. If you complete a short story every month, a year from now you'll have 12 stories to send out to publications.

But if you miss a month? Not much happens! Meaning you can hop right to it the next month without feeling guilty or you can stop after three months and still have three completed stories in your hand to send out, which is much more than an unfinished novel!

So, if you're ready to begin writing a year's worth of short stories, sign up for the Storytelling Shuffle below!

Joining the shuffle late? No worries—there's no such thing as too late. As soon as you sign up you're enrolled and you'll proceed to get monthly emails about the challenge. It's the ultimate resolution—even if it's April or August!

ProseEmma Welsh