Created Weekly – 2016 and Beyond

At the beginning of 2016, my pal Fred and I decided to challenge each other to write something new each week for the entire year. He had accomplished something similar a few years back when he put up a song a week for a year, so I figured he’d be the perfect partner to keep me motivated for the year.

Well, 2016 is now over, and we did it. For every week, we wrote something new. Fred mixed it up. He wrote mostly poems, but mixed in the occasional short story or song lyrics.

I stuck with short stories. 52 new stories, one a week for an entire year. Looking back, there are some stories I really liked and am proud of. There are others where it’s obvious I rushed it together at the last minute. There are also plenty that I think are good ideas, but I didn’t take the proper time to flesh them out. Overall, I’d say there’s something with about half of them that I’m happy with, and a handful of those are ones I’m proud of.

It was definitely challenging, but also a very fun exercise. There were weeks where I didn’t have an idea. Or I had an idea but didn’t have the time to flesh it out. There are probably a dozen stories I’ve started, then decided I’d come back to, and a handful of other ideas that I figured I’d save for a week that I didn’t have an idea. Ideas aren’t the issue, it’s taking the time to get them to paper that I struggle with.

Ultimately, if I wanted to go for another year, I truly believe I could. So many of the ideas came the week the story was written, and I’m confident my brain could keep going at that pace. It’d end up the same way though, where I’m happy with maybe half, and disappointed with the others. Mentally, I think I’m capable of it, but I know I don’t want to.

So I won’t be writing a story a week in 2017. I would rather take that energy and time used for writing and focus on other projects.

But, I love the idea of Created Weekly too much to just let it be a one year thing. So, in 2017 it will stay alive, but the focus will shift from writing to visual art.

Myself, my oldest two daughters, some of my best pals Zane, Jimmy Cole, Chris, Tony, and anybody else I can get on board are going to create a new piece of art each week for the year.

Zane, Jimmy, Tony, and Chris are all awesome artists who are amazing and I love their work. I suck at drawing, always have. Hopefully after a year of forcing myself to draw something new every week I will improve. Even if not, it’ll be fun to try.

I’m hoping Fred continues to contribute in whatever way he wants, even if it’s not every week. And I will likely still write the occasional short story to post. I’m hoping to do a short story a month. 12 is much less overwhelming than 52.

And the site is still going to be open to anything. So if you or anybody you know would like to participate, you or them are more than welcome to. It doesn’t have to be drawings. It can be anything.

I look forward to shifting the focus in 2017, and will look back fondly on what we did in 2016. I may not be proud of every entry I wrote, but consistently doing anything for an entire year is a big deal for me.

As for outside of Created Weekly for 2017, I also have some other very cool stuff in the works, so I’m excited about that as well.

And since I don’t expect anybody in the world to go back and read all 52 short stories I wrote in 2016, I’ve decided to handpick a few of my favorites. Check them out if you have some time to kill, and if you like them and still have more time to kill, there’s plenty more where that came from at CreatedWeekly.com.

And please take note, I’d write them and post. So there may be typos and they’re not perfect. Rarely did I re-read through them. I will likely do so with these at some point and touch them up. Maybe.

Here are 10 of my favorite stories I wrote in 2016 (and some extras), in no specific order:

1. Return to Foreverland

This is easily my most personal story of the entire year, kinda. It was inspired and almost ripped off completely from a dream I had where my brother Gary showed up. I am in the process of reworking this story a bit and rewriting it. This story will show up again in 2017.

2. Club Reincarnate

This is the final entry of 2016, week 52. It’s probably the longest entry of the year, but I’m very happy with it. It felt good to end on a high note. This is one that I had a basic idea and just started writing and let the story develop naturally. It’s about a writer that attends a meeting of people who consider themselves “Reincarnates”.

3. The Waiter: Chapter One

This truly was supposed to be the first installment of a handful. But, I didn’t want to resort to filling the year with sequels and serials, so I left it at Chapter One. I do love the story and the characters though, and outlined the rest of the story from this point. I may write the entire thing at some point. I think this works as the first piece of a larger story, but also stands pretty well on its own as a standalone.

4. Neighbors

The whole reason I wanted to do Created Weekly was because I had an idea for a short story but didn’t have anywhere to post it. That story idea was about a lonely man that lived downstairs from a lonely girl who decided to offer to do her a favor. I ended up not writing the story until the summer for some reason, but I don’t regret waiting because I like the finished product.

5. Have a Nice Life

This was based off somebody something said to me that I ended up thinking way too much about. It digs into how powerful of a phrase something so simple can be.

6. The Greatest

Muhammed Ali is an all time hero of mine and I was crushed when he passed away this past year. This is the story I wrote that week. I like the idea better than the finished product, but it came out OK.

7. Squirrel

This is another one where I like the idea more than the execution. It’s clear this one was rushed and written right when it was supposed to be posted, but I like the idea a lot. It’s one of the shorter ones of the year.

8. Stupid

My freshman year of college I started writing a novel. I worked on it for a few years before bailing on it, but the idea has stuck with me since. It was called In The Words Of Wink and followed a dude navigating adulthood while having flashbacks to lessons his childhood little league coach tried to teach him that seemed silly at the time but are incredibly relevant now. This is basically that same idea put into short story form.

9. Creed’s Greatest Hits

At the beginning of the year, a lot of the stories felt like I was just writing sketches in story form. They were mostly just two dudes talking and strictly dialogue driven. For this one I tried to transition into more stuff happening, and dipped my toe into some hard sci-fi. It turned into one of the sillier stories of the year, but I think it’s fun. It’s the only story of the year I actually wrote a sequel to, but Creed’s Greatest Hits: Disk 2 was almost too silly for its own good.

10. Obey

I don’t feel there’s much special about this story, but Fred liked it. It was actually meant to be the first part of a trilogy, but I never put up the second part and haven’t yet put the third to paper. I may in 2017, but we’ll see. This was at a point where I tried to start transitioning into less silly stories and explore some other stuff.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Babygirl
I hated that most of my stories centered mostly around dudes, so I started trying to mix it up and start writing more female characters. This story isn’t the most groundbreaking or original, but I really liked writing it.

Puzzle Club
This was written at a time of the year when I was the most down and pessimistic. I tried to write through it, and the best way to do that was to write about a group of women working on puzzles.

Adultergeist
In a neck and neck race with Creed’s Greatest Hits for the stupidest story of the year. It came later in the year though, when most of the stories had a darker tone to them, so it was a much needed light hearted break. My Movies On Up! cohost actually read this story on our Halloween episode, and that was fun.

Digger Spaeth: Private Investigator
This was another that was intended to be an ongoing story, and I actually outlined the rest of it but never wrote it. I enjoy the two characters and liked the dialogue between them. Again, not the most original idea I had, but it was fun to write.

Observe and Depart
I hate the title of this one, but like the idea. It’s a better idea than the execution, but I’m still pretty happy with it. It’s about a guy with a unique opportunity and a tough decision to make.

There are others that I like, or at least like something about. Stories like Sole Mate, Cabinets, and Inbox come to mind if you wanted to search the site for those.

Overall, I feel like I went through phases. They started off lighthearted, then veered off into more dark as the year went on. Lots of death related themes along the way, and a decent bit of loose sci-fi.

Anyways, 2016 was a terrible year overall, but I’ll always look back at the Created Weekly experience fondly. Hopefully there’s something along the way you enjoyed as well.

Happy 2017. Let’s draw.

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