Goodbye, Nanoism

When I started the current iteration of this site in January 2009, I was also writing short fiction. In fact, one of my self-imposed creative writing projects was an exercise in the form of a daily tweet-sized story. Very strange, it’s true, but 2009 was a long time ago in internet years, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps even odder, but I found this experiment so creatively fulfilling that I decided to do something that remains unique: a paying venue for literary Twitter fiction, self-contained stories in 140 characters or fewer. (For reference, this is so long ago that it predates the official retweet function, and to this day, most literary magazines do not pay writers for their stories.)

After 14 years of continuous publication, Nanoism remains by far the longest-running venue of its kind. This has been on the About page since day one:

We’re not just catering to the 21st-century attention span, we’re publishing flexible fiction: stories that you can read on your computer or cellphone, stories that fit in the cracks of your day.

Over the past fourteen years, we published 1000 standalone tweet-sized stories from 660 writers, multiple longer serials, ran contests to raise money for charity (judged by amazing writers like Ethan Canin and Robert Swartwood), been on NPR, and had stories featured in best short fiction anthologies and books on craft. Not a bad run.

It was a fun hobby and relatively well-suited to the preclinical/basic science years of medical school. But in the years since, through residency and fatherhood and the many wrinkles that make up a life, it was harder and harder to find the bandwidth to promote this art form, this venue, and the hundreds of writers I’ve published.

This is a small project (forgive the pun), but it took what I had just to keep it running week after week. I was remiss in rarely taking the time to submit stories for the many possible awards and anthologies that work like this can appear in (especially since they often did well!). But the fact is that even if the recognition were to start and stop with just my nomination, every writer who sits down to do the work, puts themselves out there, and hopes for the best deserves as much recognition as they can receive. And for that lack, I truly apologize.

I know that it seems silly to publish things so small and call them stories, but, sincerely, it was an honor and pleasure to read and share your work.


Cathy Chen and Alex Mullen 05.04.23 Reply

Congratulations on this bittersweet milestone! How special that Nanoism made it this far.

Roberta Beach Jacobson 01.03.24 Reply

My congrats on all you’ve accomplished! You will be missed.

Leave a Reply