In July, I tried to give myself time to think about my own stories and was failing miserably until the end of July when I learned of Esquire's short short fiction contest. On a whim, I thought, Surely, I can put together 79 words that don't suck too badly, right?
It took some time to write the piece, for as we all know, the shorter a piece, the more important each word becomes. In the writing of that first piece, a fire was lit inside me to write more. So, I did.
Since July 28, I've written one 79-worder a day. That might not seem like a lot, but in the act of writing these pieces, my creativity has grown. I remember that I am, indeed, a writer, and that I revel in characters and story ideas and conflict. Already, I have ideas for three or four longer works and several key points for the development of my third Double Inkwell mystery. All from a few 79-worders.
It doesn't hurt that these short pieces have also forced me to think about word economy and how to select the right words or develop a sentence in a particular way. I've also had to think about where to start the story, how to start the story, and what key parts are necessary to have the piece make sense and develop within the reader's mind. These are all things that writers constantly think about when writing. It's been good stretching my creative muscles and remembering the importance of questioning these things.
Just as important as the above positive attributes to writing the 79-worders, I have realized how important being creative is to my overall well being. When I write creatively, I feel alive, grounded in something important to me, and that in turn sparks me to move and groove in all my other endeavors.
And all it took was one 79-word submission to reconnect me to my creativity.
The Esquire contest runs until September 1, so consider submitting. Seventy-nine words might provide sparks for your own writing endeavors.
How are you able to keep writing in your busy schedule? What activities do you perform to keep your creative spirit alive in your hectic life?
Shon Bacon is an author, doctoral candidate, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. Her second mystery, Into the Web, was released April 2012, and, recently, she's been published in the short story collection, The Corner Cafe. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University ... and trying to find the time to WRITE.