Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just Write

Everyone can come up with a reason not to write: family obligations, the day job, writers block, the Internet, or life in general. Porfessional writers can add another hundred or so excuses revolving around the biz, promo, production work, wrangling contracts, etc. Writing is easy to put off, too. We make bargains with the work: Next month I'll have more time or I need to take this class/go to this conference/study this how-to so I can be a better writer or the ever-popular, one-size-fits-all Let me deal with this more important thing and then I'll get back to you.

Those bargains work because the writing can't talk back, or send us a text, or encourage us to give it another go, or even remind us of the empty promise we made. Writing simply waits in silence wherever we abandoned it, stuffed in a file, stowed on a hard drive or tucked in a notebook. It always waits, even when we completely forget about it.



I thought I'd toss out a challenge on the blog to see if any of you want to join in. Starting today I'm going to devote my Thursdays to writing something new -- flash, poetry, a scene, a short story, or whatever appeals to me -- and then post the results online before midnight. In other words, just write something new once a week and put it out there for the readers. The length will be whatever I can write in 24 hours.

Why do this? I have a couple of reasons, but the primary idea came to me when I read Anne Frasier's Blood Moon, a short fiction piece that she posted on her blog. I thought it was exceedingly cool, and it reminded me of how as a rookie I used to post a new short story on my old web site every month. Some of those stories turned into novels and novel series, but that wasn't the point -- having fun and trying something new was.

No matter how lame, silly, unprofessional or otherwise flawed it is, I will post whatever I write today online in my Google Docs account, and add a link to it to this post, before midnight EST tonight. I invite you to do the same, and if you do take up my Just Write challenge and want to share your results when you're ready please post a link to your Thursday fiction in comments.

My link: Click here to read.

Image credit: Ivalin Radkov/Bigstock.com

30 comments:

  1. Oooh, I like this idea. I know I've been struggling to have the energy to write lately. Life is exhausting. Yes, I think I'll do this. Can it be parts of a novel we're struggling with? Or should it be a true one shot of something different?

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    1. I think you should write whatever you want for this, Melisa, so no rules on what it has to be -- existing work or something different is your choice. I'm probably going to run with something new (getting a late start this morning, lol.)

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    2. Okay I have to say I like this. I just need to remember to finish the other stuff I'm working on before I delve too deply into this. Thoughts welcome - really.

      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DhxPKwQp5n3M87KMQAZU5QaOIJ6nZzkRXnOMVWQ3hWE/edit?usp=sharing

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    3. You packed a lot into that scene, Melisa -- very tense and immediately engaging. I hope you'll revisit it again and write more. :)

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    4. I really enjoyed that, but now I want more! I am looking forward to next Thursday much more now.

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    5. Thank you, start of a new series that has been eating at me for some time. But really need to finish editing the book I'm working on (2 scenes left to write, and about 10k words left to edit) and finish another novel I have fully plotted out. But... I think I may write random scenes for this one as part of my world building. It was fun, and I immediately connected with Mika.

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    6. Great opening, Melissa. It grabbed me right off, and made me very curious about this world and what's going to happen next.

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  2. I just finished reading a section in "Manage Your Day to Day" about the importance of creative work just for yourself as opposed to what you create to meet somebody else's expectations. This sounds like a fun way to implement the because I want to exercise. Although I'm not sure I'd actually finish anything short each time. Maybe a post as I go novel thing. Anyway, whee!

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    1. Thanks, Charlene. You hit on another of my reasons for doing this: it's been years since I've written anything outside the blog for fun. :)

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  3. I am not a writer (well, I am a technical writer... not really what you think of when you think of a "writer") but I am often surprised by the issues that we all share across many different industries. The prioritization thing you mentioned is something that all my writers struggle with. I often hear grumbling or joking about how little time they actually spend generating content because other things are more important. I can't share my own writing since it's all R&D proprietary stuff and the Legal department would strangle me (plus I work for a medical device company that deals with blood so it's GROSS), but I may borrow the idea and have my writers devote a part of every Thursday to focusing on content and then posting an excerpt for the team. Even though it will be random, out-of-context technical data I think it will be fun. Plus everyone always tells us “no one reads the manual” (my life’s work!!!) so at least this way someone will be reading the stuff we create. *grin*

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    1. Creativity and the challenges of maintaining and exercising it are certainly not limited to fiction writers, and I think your idea is a marvelous interpretation. I know you have to keep the writing involved confidential, but I'd love to hear if the idea works out well for your writers.

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  4. I look forward to reading your output, although I cannot promise that I'll do the same. I will promise to try!

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    1. You might surprise yourself, Fran. :)

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    2. Hi Lynn, I didn't write anything except emails to friends but I've been listening to BBC Radio 2 and the breakfast time DJ Chris Evans is running a competition called "500 words", a story writing competition for kids in 2 categories: U9 & 10-13. The only stipulation being write 500 words. This morning they were all at the Hay Festival and I was lucky enough to hear the bronze medal winner in the U9 category, read out by Benedict Cumberbach (Sherlock Holmes no less). What a lovely story. As soon as I heard it, I thought of you and your blog. I am always amazed at your creativity but you're an adult. These kids have no fear, they just write what's in their heads without worrying out it. I'm going to have to go to BBC iplayer and listen to the whole show later to hear the other stories. I just had to share this with you all.

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  5. Okay, you hit every excuse I've used lately to avoid getting started on a story I've had in mind. So, today is the day!!!! And thanks for the motivation...as usual. ;D

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    1. My pleasure. And while the weather conspired to keep me off the computer (thunderstorms all day and half the night) I was very proud of myself for sticking to my just write pledge -- it was a lot of fun here.

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  6. I love this idea! I'm in the midst of revising a novel, and writing some fiction "just because" on the side sounds like a great way to let my muse have fun. I'm in.

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    1. Delighted you'll be joining in. I'm in a similar place right now, working on a book proposal for my editor -- and while I like writing about writing a book, actually writing some real story perked me up.

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  7. This sounds like a great idea, Lynn! Procrastination may lead to writer's block, so it's good to be careful with that. If you ever do find you have writer's block, try taking a chunk of your story, read it out-loud, and write one sentence. I find that helps get people writing again.

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Anita. :)

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  8. That was more fun than I should be allowed to have, but I had it anyway ;-)
    Here's the link to my Thursday fiction:

    http://www.daleivansmith.com/thursday-fiction-a-gremlin-kind-of-night/

    Thanks again for inviting us to join you!

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    1. That was fun, and now I have the image of gremlins at ComicCon... is this a bad or a good thing?

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    2. I swear there were gremlins at MegaCon here this year. :) A neat story, and what a great first line you got, too, Dale. Looking forward to the next installment.

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    3. Yes that was fun, and hopefully there is more to come next week???

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  9. I haven't written anything fiction in awhile, and saw this just a few minutes before midnight and don't have anywhere to publish this anyway, but I joined in and got the beginning of a story. Maybe about 350 words. Thank you. That was fun. Maybe a few Thursdays from now I'll have figured out a way to share.

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    1. I'm glad it worked for you, Alice -- and you can always start a story blog with Blogger or another free service. Google Docs also offers free storage up to a limited amount of space; I pay $5.00 a year for 20G on mine.

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  10. I came upon this late, but it did make me smile. I'd been considering doing something similar, thinking it might get the juices flowing.
    If I can I'll jump on board next week. :)

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  11. I'll write today...for no other particular reason than I love it. Cheers for the inspiration ;-)

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  12. Hm, I could revive The Lost Scrolls blog which I used for another such Just Write Something and Share that has died. I could need some regularity outside Nano (which, btw, I still fail spectacularly each year, but I do get more words written in November than average).

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  13. Oh, and I want to read the rest of your story, Lynn. :-)

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