Have you all set a New Year’s Resolution or Intention about your writing this year? My 2016 Intention is to judge my success by how much fun I’m having. I realized that in a lot of areas in my life, writing included, I was just trying entirely too hard and often found that I wasn’t having much fun at all. So I’m making joy a priority this year.
Having said that, I was excited to stumble upon this writing challenge from Our Writing Therapy. 52 Short stories in 52 Weeks – one short story a week for an entire year.
I love these prompts because they are so simple, and leave a lot of wiggle room for imagination and experimentation. I bet that if fifteen people in a Creative Writing class had these prompts, they would all come up with stories that were vastly different each week.
So I started last Monday with Week 1: A Story Entitled “A New Beginning”.
Here are the notes that I took while brainstorming. For all of you nerds out there (like me), I used a Moleskin Cahier Journal (pocket size, lined) and Bic Round Stic pen. My absolute favorite pen of all time, though, is the Pilot V5 Precise. The highlighter I used was a Post-It 2-in-1 Flag Highlighter.
When I brainstorm, I write whatever is floating in my imagination and give myself permission to entertain whatever comes to mind for however long I am sitting and thinking. A New Beginning sounded, to me, like a great way to start after a traumatic sort of end. So I came up with the idea of a miscarriage, or false pregnancy. I started shaping the story around that idea and moved down the pages of my notebook with things that popped into my head. One of the things I love about brainstorming is that it calms the mind and allows you to pull out fragments from your imagination you might otherwise ignore. I find when I allow myself to write down whatever I’m thinking, I actually end up with lines I really like, and sometimes even full sentences right off the bat.
When I realized that I didn’t have a ton of knowledge stored away in my brain about Ectopic Pregnancies, I researched online and wrote down specifics that I thought would help the story.
In the end, I was really pleased with the result. I have to confess that I haven’t finished the story yet, but have a good chunk of a first draft written down.
Yesterday, I started Week 2: A Story About Rising to a Challenge
I went through the same process here as above, wrote down whatever I was thinking and started to shape the story from there.
As I mentioned, my main goal with writing this year is to have fun, so I am going in a sort of Bridget Jones direction with this one. I listened to an excellent podcast on Jane Austen by The History Chicks last week that inspired me to write about things that I see/experience in my own life while being as authentic as possible. This story hits close to home as I have been in several weddings and it seems that someone I know gets married just about every six months.
I’m really liking the character that I’ve come up with. She’s a little bit of an emotional wreck who has decided to take control of her life. The story begins with her getting ready to go to this wedding and struggling through all of it. I’m excited to see where this one ends up.
I’m interested to see what comes of this 52 Week Challenge. I think that the prompts are great and the goal is pretty realistic, even if it is a tad ambitious. This challenge would be a wonderful starting off point for someone who wants to set a writing routine. At the very least, this will keep me writing and by the end of the year, if I’m really good, I should have a pretty large body of work!
What are you all planning to write this year? Have you found anything that has helped you lately?