I know it’s in my nature to write. To want to write, anyway. But getting to the keyboard and actually turning something out has proven to be a challenge, and not in a good way.
The why behind not writing has, therefore, been very mysterious to me. No matter how I tried I just couldn’t seem to get over the hurdle and get to pounding the keys.
I looked for some way to break the chain of inertia. NaNoWriMo came to mind readily and quick this year. The problem with NaNo is, it’s ruthless, relentless, and promotes a sensation of failure among those who don’t accomplish the 50K in 30 days. At least that’s what I’ve seen from those I’ve known who tried it. The pressure is too much. It’s a fun idea, but I think part of the problem lies in the timing. It’s not like the holiday season doesn’t have enough pressure already. Tack on trying to get a novel written in a short month and it’s a recipe for failure.
So I kept looking. I’d been seeing this #FridayFlash thing going around Twitter for a couple of months through my buddy Al Bruno III and he graciously invited me to join. It’s a movement to post flash fiction every Friday and then collect them into a collector site and give folks some exposure. At least to each other.
But there’s another benefit. When I finally accepted Al’s invitation, it made me do something I hadn’t done previously. It made me write.
So far it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve written a couple of flash pieces (less than 1000 words), and you can see those over at my fiction blog if you’re interested. They carry the “#flashfriday” label in the title, except my first effort (which is titled “Morning Commute” if you’re wondering, which you probably weren’t). It’s tough to try and tell a full story in that small a space so a lot of them end up being vignettes instead, but they’re a lot of fun to do and I’ve noticed it’s forcing my prose to be tighter and more concise. My wife actually made me chop one of them so hard I was afraid I’d lost something in the cuts, but it turned out pretty well. (It would’ve been too saggy and telegraphed without them, so kudos to you, babe! Good eye!)
I’ve started writing them ahead of time to post on the Friday following, and then I go and add the piece to the collector when I have time on the actual day. For now, it’s the only fresh writing I’ve done, and it feels pretty good.
If you’re looking for a way to practice, stay sharp or sharpen up, and like reading short, punchy pieces and offering some feedback, give #FridayFlash a shot. You might like it.
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