12 May

Story A Day Challenge Weekly Update: Part 2

Posted in Process, Story A Day, Writing Challenge

I have hit the wall.  Actually, “hit the wall” would imply that there is something in my way that is stopping me from writing but that’s not quite the case.  Instead it’s the nothingness, the absence of writing momentum that is keeping me from getting back into my daily-story discipline.

It started last week, when I stalled in the middle of a story.  Then with my thesis and other obligations in the way I decided to give myself a few days off.  Big mistake.  That’s the thing with writing; it’s all about momentum.  Just as writing can lead to more writing, not-writing can cause inertia so bad that it would take a volcanic explosion of creativity to get out of it.

Of course, the worst part about not-writing is that it can be a hundred times more painful than it is to just do the writing in the first place.  Between the guilt and the endless rationalization, writing usually ends up being the easier path, even if it’s not the one of least resistance.

To that end, I’ve come up with a few small tricks I use to cheat myself into writing when I don’t want to do it.

  1. Set small goals.  I force myself to sit and write even if it’s only one paragraph or ten minutes.  Usually once I get going, the momentum kicks in and I’ll write much longer than I originally planned.
  2. Write something easy.  I start with the easy scenes or mindless assignments first, leaving projects that require more planning and thought for when my mind has loosened up.
  3. Write first.  The days I’ve been successful with the Story A Day have been those when I’ve done my story first thing in the morning.  With the story out of the way, I could then get on with my day and get on with my life.  If I let the story hang over my head, it inevitably doesn’t get done.

Anyone else have some good tips on how to break out of writing inertia?

Comments Off on Story A Day Challenge Weekly Update: Part 2

28 Apr

Writing Challenge on Hiatus; Welcome to Story-A-Day

Posted in Story A Day, Writing Challenge

I’ve decided to put my Writing Challenge on hold for the month of May because… *drumroll please*

…I’m participating in Story A Day!

I first learned about this challenge today through Inky Girl’s blog.  When I read the rules of the challenge, I was terrified… a story a day?  For all of May?  My thesis is due on May 10th!  Will I even survive that first week?  But then I thought… if I’m resisting this idea, maybe that’s because this is exactly what would be good for me right now.  Not to mention, it would be a fantastic way to start the summer if I manage to succeed.  Before I got a chance to change my mind, I signed up and now I’m doing it and I think I’m about to freak out!

Here’s the plan: I’ll be writing one short story per day, most likely of the flash-fiction variety and I’m giving myself Sundays as an optional day off.  I’m also going to try writing first thing in the morning, before my inner censor wakes up and before I have time to procrastinate too much.  On Wednesdays I’ll check in here and at StoryADay.org to let you all know how this is going.

Comments Off on Writing Challenge on Hiatus; Welcome to Story-A-Day

21 Apr

Writing Challenge: Week 3

Posted in Writing Challenge, Writing Exercises

This week’s exercises went a little better but I still haven’t hit my stride.

The Exercises:

  • My Pet by Alison Lurie
  • Wedding Cake Assignment by Debra Spark

The Results:

While the exercises above went fine, this week was all about writing on the fly.  In particular, I did a couple of fun exercises with my writer’s group.  One of the exercises was to write a short parody based on a postcard of a piece of art.  I chose Henri Rousseau’s The Dream.

Then we also did an exercise where we wrote a short piece with one of the following three titles:

  1. How to Eat a _____________
  2. Eating __________________
  3. Recipe for a ______________

This exercise was inspired by the poems How to Eat a Poem by Eve Merriam and Eating Poetry by Mark Strand.  I ended up writing an ode to my writers’ group.  Unfortunately, these two exercises don’t count toward the writing challenge so this week I only crossed two off my list.

The Tally:
Exercises Remaining: 81
Days Left: 71

Comments Off on Writing Challenge: Week 3

14 Apr

Writing Challenge: Week 2

Posted in Writing Challenge, Writing Exercises

What do a toaster, a Komodo dragon and a tea kettle have in common?

They are all subjects of the pieces that resulted from this week’s writing exercises.

The Exercises:

  • My Pet by Alison Lurie
  • Surrealism Exercise, or Thinking Outside the Box by Laurie Foos
  • Birth of a Story in an Hour or Less by Crystal Wilkinson

For My Pet I wrote a passage from the POV of one of my characters who happens to have a pet Komodo dragon.  For Surrealism I used the exercise’s formula and made the prompt:  “After a night of cramming, she discovered that her hand had grown a tea kettle.”  For Birth of a Story, I used two of my characters, one of whom was reincarnated as a toaster.

 The Results:

Overall, not so good.  For starters, I only got through three exercises this week, rather than my target of seven.  The bigger disappointment, though, was that of the three exercises, only one actually felt like it sparked something and it was the one where I didn’t try to use characters from my current project.

Usually I like using the “two birds, one stone” method with writing exercises.  I use them to warm up, but I tend to tweak the prompt or assignment so that it allows me to use characters I’m already writing about.  Usually this works.  In fact, a lot of times I get material out of these exercises that I can later add to the book in some way.  At the very least, though, these exercises usually end up helping me understand my characters better.  This week, that totally didn’t happen.

In the end, My Pet and Birth of a Story will have to get do-overs so they don’t count toward the tally.  I better get my act together because the days are ticking away.

iggi says…

The Tally:
Exercises Remaining: 83
Days Left: 78

Comments Off on Writing Challenge: Week 2

Iggi & Gabi - All rights reserved © 2010-2011

I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley