Welcome to Monday Musings, where I ponder some aspect of writing that has popped into my head over the last week or so.
This year I succeeded in the Story a Day in May challenge where I hadn’t in previous attempts. I did miss one day, but I’m still calling it an overall success. I actually felt a bit bereft when I got up on June 01 and didn’t have another prompt to go on with. There are two major things I learned during this process, and they’re things I don’t want to let myself forget, even if I might want to when I’m being lazy.
- I learned that I CAN write every day
I’m a fairly busy person. I work full time, I’m studying for a Masters degree past-time and during May I was rehearsing three times a week for a musical that opened on June 02. Doing the challenge has taught me that I can still squeeze some writing in each day, even if it’s just a few hundred words. Even if I’ve had a terrible day at work and I have a three hour rehearsal that night (at a venue half an hour’s drive away), it can still be done. I only missed one day during the challenge, and that’s because I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything for that day’s prompt. When I’m working on my larger WIPs, prompts won’t be something I have to worry about, so I’ll have no excuse.
- I learned a new way to brainstorm ideas.
All I had to go on at the start of May was a very vague premise: the country where Clara lived during her exile doesn’t like magic and to punish her they find a way to switch off her powers. Now I have a new point-of-view character, several plot points, a potential romance, and world-building that will not only help with this book but with its predecessor. Sure, there are still big gaps in the plot and there is still a lot of work to do, but it would have taken me forever to get this far if I had been trying to brainstorm/outline/plot in more traditional ways from the outset. I tend to be a pantser, but in pantsing these shorts, I can give myself a framework before I start work on the major WIP.
I’m sure these weren’t the only things I learned, but they are the two lessons that stood out to me at the end of the process. What writing challenges have you done and what did you prove to yourself by doing them?