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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Nov 9, 2018

In this episode Mark interviews Phillip McCollum about an intriguing project of writing 52 stories in 52 weeks.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from the podcast's sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .

. . . and then a personal update which includes a push-up challenge he participated in at the 20Booksto50K conference in Vegas.

Michael Anderle instigated this challenge for a good cause, with the following companies each donating $150 to the cause

$750 USD was raised for two worthy charities in a push-up challenge between Mark and Christine Munroe from Kobo. Chrissy's chosen charity was Children's Book Bank and Mark's chosen charity was First Book Canada.

Mark thanks the companies previously mentioned for their generosity to two great children's reading programs and then also thanks new Stark Reflections Patron, Katie Cross, for supporting the podcast via

In the interview Phillip and Mark talk about:

  • The genres that Phillip tends to write in most often
  • How long Phillip has been writing
  • Thoughts about NaNoWriMo and other similar "competitions" to help inspired writers to write
  • Phillip's inspiration for the 52 stories in 52 weeks, which was derived from Ray Bradbury
  • The discipline involved in undertaking such an endeavor on starting each week on Monday morning and posting the story by Sunday night
  • The typical word count of the stories that Phillip wrote during this process
  • The importance of being adaptable and recognizing that you might not always reach every single goal you set
  • Plans that Phillip has for the stories which included 3 ebooks: 1 for writers (52 Stories in 52 Weeks) and 2 for readers (splitting them into two volumes of 26 stories: Fantastic Shorts Vol 1 and Vol 2)
  • Feedback that Phillip has received on the notes added to the stories
  • Forthcoming challenges that Phillip has in mind to keep challenging himself as a writer
  • Things that Phillip learned about himself as a writer by taking this challenge

After the interview, Mark talks about the importance of challenges that impose deadlines and require a writer to actually get their butt in the chair and their hands on the keyboard. He also reminds writers of the importance of the "fail to success" theory from Dean Wesley Smith that Phillip mentions. If you try to hit a certain word count, for example, and don't make it, instead of fretting about the missed words, focus on the words that have actually been written, or the parts of the goal that were actually accomplished.


Links of Interest:


Phillip McCollum spent 52 weeks writing 52 short stories in an effort to prove to himself that he might be cut out for this writing thing after all. He hails from Southern California where he shares living quarters with his wife, son, an old cat, and young betta fish.


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0