birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The First Day

So a few hours ago you got your first writing prompt. It's probably in your email just below this one.

This is how it'll go pretty much every day. You'll get an email. Maybe let it percolate in your brain. And then do some writing. Here are some other frequently asked questions.

What the heck is "Birds in a Barrel?" Look, a number of years ago I had a dream where an editor I used to work for said, "Birds in a barrel are worth two fish in hand." Or something crazy like that. So the phrase has held a space in my imagination for a while, and I own the URL. So it is the launching pad for my nutty ideas, like "40 Days and 40 Writes." 

Do I need to have a theme for my 40 days? No you do not. You can, but I can't assure it'll all pan out like you think.

What if I write longer than the allotted time? That's fine. Just don't blow yourself out the first week and burn out. Think of this like progressively lifting more weight.

Do I have to send my writing in through the web form? Yes. You do.

Are these in any sort of order? Yes, there is a logic to what I'm doing, which I will happily share when it's all over. Generally you should expect that after this week, the time allotment will tick upward in two-minute increments every 4-6 days. And things will get a little harder. Feedback from the first group has helped me put these order of what they perceived as increasing difficulty.

Is anyone reading these? I am! I will read everything. I will critique nothing. I will post a few of my favorite entries to the "40 Days and 40 Writes" Blog at the end of each week. If you send it in through the form, I should also have a copy for you at the end of the 40 days.

Are you keeping score? Yes, all your entries are also entered into a spreadsheet, which will allow me to see who wrote how much on which days throughout the 40 days. You can see the weekly standings here.

Overall, I suspect you'll find this simple and straightforward. But if you have any questions, you can email me at

Onward and upward!

— Robin

A few minor repairs

Welcome to the 40-day writing project