A Reminder Concerning Streaks

Hi Folks,

Sometime or another, in one place or another, I mentioned to someone that Streaks Have Power.

I probably mentioned it here before, and I’m sure I mentioned it in at least two or three seminars or writing intensives.

To create a streak, you set a daily or weekly or monthly goal and then achieve it time after time after time.

If you’ve ever worked in one of those places where the management had a sign up that said something like “93 Accident Free Days” and then the number changed each day, you were witnessing a streak.

And even if you weren’t the one who got hurt and had ZERO vested interest in the streak continuing, when they reset it back to 0 or 1 Accident Free Days, it disappointed you.

Same way with writing streaks.

My own best streak thus far is my short stories.

Back in April 2014, I set a goal to write and publish a new short story every week. That included writing the story, creating an attractive cover for it, and publishing it to three places: here, Smashwords, and Amazon.

On the first venue, the story went out free to subscribers, once per week, every week. Thanks to the latter two venues, within a week or so, the same story was available for sale in over 100 nations worldwide. Cool.

In that particular streak, today (May 17, 2015) I published the 65th short story. That’s 65 short stories in 58 weeks. When I post the cover over on HarveyStanbrough.com/short-stories a little later today, it will be the 93rd story cover there.

So what makes streaks so powerful?

When you get a streak going, you don’t want to break it. That’s it.

And the longer the streak runs, the more it will torque your jaws if you allow it to end. The thing is, as of about 1:30 p.m. today, I have a streak of 65 short stories writing at least one story per week. If I don’t post one next week (Monday, May 25) the next time I write a short story my “streak” will be 1 story. Ugh.

The other good thing about streaks and their power is this: If you DO happen to fail, you fail to success.

When Dean Wesley Smith set himself a goal to write one short story per week, his streak broke at 47 stories. Oof. Body punch. On the other hand, in that year, he had written 47 stories. Can that really be called a failure? I don’t think so.

Now, if I had said, on April 15 last year, “Y’know, I’m gonna set a goal to write 52 short stories before next April 15,” no possible way I would have done it. Then I’d have excused myself. After all, writing 52 short stories in a year is a ridiculously high goal. It’s unrealistic.

But that isn’t what I did. I set a REALISTIC goal to write at least ONE sparkling, shiny new short story every week. And in that same 52 week period I wrote 59 short stories.

So there y’go. Set yourself a repeating, renewing goal and build yourself a streak. I swear it’s worth it. Tell your writing groups and partners and get them to do it with you. Great fun.

Happy writing,

Harvey