So the Write-A-Thon closed as of this past week, July 27th to be exact. Overall, we got something like 400 out of the target 500 donors, and over the target amount of writers. And there’s still time to donate! Access all of that info here.
My final count: I have about 3/4 of the amount of stories I pledged. My original goal was to write one piece of flash fiction per week over the duration of the workshop, which works out to something like 6 or 7 stories. I currently have five, a couple of which still need to be tinkered around with. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it bums me out somewhat that I hadn’t been able to turn up right at the end of Friday with a big shiny smile and a complete roll of completely finished works all ready to brandish at y’all, but hey- I’m working on self- encouragement in the process here too. And I think that, considering the circumstances, I did pretty darn well.
So here are a few things I’ve learned, in the course of this experience, that I can share with you:
-Setting one’s self an external goal, & making one’s self accountable to that goal, really DOES help with motivation! It’s been wonderful to write along with a group, to get support from sponsorship, and to share that positive, synergistic energy. I’m psyched about participating again. (also I am so going to be all about somehow getting into next year’s workshop… Look who’s going to be teaching… swoontacular!!!)
-This is the first experience of my having gotten back into short story writing since, literally, my teen years… when I was avidly reading every new issue of Asimov’s, and illustrating weird ’80’s SF/David Lynchian landscapes in my spare time. It’s just as much fun as I remember! I’m a little guilty that I have to dig deeper to find that natural enthusiasm I began with that makes me say, “hmm, I wonder where this story direction will go if I take it”, but really not much has been lost there. I can still put out (stories, that is…) I’m proud of that.
-No matter how I’d like to pretend otherwise, life circumstances do tend to have an impact on my ability to be creative. I hate this, because it sounds like a bunch of whiny excuses. But I’ve had a lot of other concerns on my mind that blew my life sideways since starting the write-a-thon, including getting laid off work, scrambling to find alternative supports, breaking my foot and having to go in for surgery… and I can tell you right now that, while being on opiates might have been the key to success for the Romanticists… It only turns my brain into applesauce & makes me want to sleep about 15 hours a day. So, productivity took a big hit. My determination to keep going is, well, something that’s been helping me keep going, despite all this.
-Writing flash, or any short/particularly structured fiction, is not as easy as it might look! I’ve been in a wrestling match with a couple of my guys, trying to get them in under the commonly acceptable word count (typically 1,000 words- but some circles like to see flash be even shorter, I’ve discovered.) Not all writing ideas WANT to be ultra-short pieces. I feel it’s better for the integrity of the story that it be allowed to take the form it naturally wants to take. This can get somewhat unexpectedly convoluted, when I thought I had a tasty little scenario, and suddenly I have a short story or a burgeoning novella idea on my hands. Yes, I do a brief outline, or have an idea of what I’m going to write- but no, it’s not watertight before I begin. Nor do I wish it to be. Quite often, at least half the meaning, plot and development forms from delving into the writing and letting it meet me halfway- the results can sometimes be really stunning, and nothing I ever could have come up with by consciously trying to plan something out.
This blog post is already getting too long, so I’ll just say- Sponsors, I am going to be doing another pass through and cleaning up my work/doing a first draft edit, and after that- the story set will be ready to read. I will get a hold of you when this is done for your copies. And thanks to you all- other writers, readers, Clarion West- I appreciate you so much.