I delayed this week on purpose (for a change). I was waiting to see if I won the writing contest I entered last week. It wasn’t a huge deal – a writer/blogger/Twitter goddess pal of mine (if it’s not too presumptuous of me), Ksenia Anske, held an impromptu competition which involved 1000-word stories written quickly and including a handful of specific elements.
Well, I didn’t win, but that’s not important. The story that won is a pretty darn good one, I think (it and the rest can be found on Ksenia’s blog). The cool part for me is that I learned from it.
I kind of got lucky on this – I have never been able to count on inspiration in terms of writing. If I wait for the flash, I usually miss the deadline. That wasn’t the case this time; I’m not sure if I made the flash happen by sheer willpower or if it just came at a really opportune time. But I managed to get a story together in time (hell, with a few days to spare) and get it entered.
I also learned that my competitive streak (a part of me which I do not like) can apply to something as abstract as a writing contest. I’m not proud to admit that despite telling myself constantly that I wouldn’t be, I was a little mad that I lost. Only for a few seconds, thankfully, but it was there. So much for my weak attempt at brainwashing myself. But then again, maybe it did work, because the feeling didn’t last long.
I’m also beginning to realize that some of my hesitation to get started on a writing project is that I’m afraid that I’ll just get bored with it again. I have tended in the past to get bored with writing before I can complete anything. I see writers out there spending all of their careers writing the same characters in the same setting with the same tropes and I think there’s no way I can do that. Well, dammit, maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I can write what I want to write when I feel like it and not worry about what readers want. If they like it, great. If not, they can go read something else.
Maybe I spent too long thinking about writing in terms of reaching a specific audience. It’s a useful thing to learn when you’re learning to get by in the real world (at least I hope so – I taught it to college students for years). But now it might be time for me to get past it and start telling stories.
We’ll see how that goes, but in the meantime, thank you, Ksenia, for pushing all of us as hard as you do. Including yourself 🙂