challenges

Giving Applause & Thoughts on Blogging

I have no qualms giving credit where it’s due. Right now, I want to give a round of applause to all the writers and/or bloggers that keep a steady flow of content going on their sites. Wherever they may be, whether I follow them or never. Sometimes, it’s remarkable. Other times, perhaps the content covers topics done to death, but hey, they are still “publishing” on a regular basis. And that is a habit I have not yet mastered, and may never master.

Image courtesy of pdclipart.org

Image courtesy of pdclipart.org.

In a sense, I feel as if I took on more than I could realistically handle before developing any kind of routine, which just maybe I should have done. The amount of ideas coming to me have continued at a sprinting pace since I created my sites, while writing them down and posting is just power walking on a treadmill listening to headphones. Sure, I could still try to write some of them, but a handful have lost their relevance. Aside from that, trying to juggle utilizing social media to not only find people who may have interest in my work, but also find individuals or organizations whose work I also find interesting is its own challenge. I mean, the WordPress community itself is another social network, and I have barely branched out into it. Something else I’m working on changing, at least slightly.

What it comes down to is really just taking a breather. Looking at what I’m doing, what I want to do and setting aside the time for very specific actions that need to happen. All in all, I have no regrets in starting my blogs, or even neglecting them to some extent. Because it’s a new experience, I’m still learning, and I still look forward to seeing where putting myself and writing out there, more consistently, leads me.

Friday Phrases

Last Friday, I (@TheSquibbler) participated in the Twitter event Friday Phrases for the first time. My first tweet was a simple “haiku,”

A variety
She has gained, of donuts sweet
Plus three, gluttony? #FP

Followed by another light-hearted poem:

Hundreds of tiny corpses
pushed to the street with broom
while thousands of little bodies watched on,
not wanting to go too soon. #FP

I have to admit, it was exciting  to take part in something that immediately puts a taste of your writing out there and so many others join in on. There’s a sense of community, but also no judgment. It’s all in the spirit of fun, writing and creativity. Professional, amateur and those in between (or even non writers) take to their Twitters weekly. Some get lost in it for a couple of hours or come back to it throughout the day. Others choose to tell longer stories in serial tweet form. Nearly anything is fair game, as long as it’s within 140 characters or less. So there’s no pressure, which I am a huge fan of,  although having a little added stress can cause creativity, it just seems to be a different kind of creative.  As to the pieces themselves, many grabbed my attention as I scrolled the feed. Some of my favorites were probably the stories, and I saw more of them during the latter part of the day. Some were funny, while others touched on drama or horror. Pretty much covering all genres. I look forward to what writings will appear tomorrow (or later tonight for the people who get a jump on it).

This week, I plan to double the amount of tweets and will consider other hashtagged events for micro fiction and/or poetry. It’s nice to continue adding more in my life that encourages writing. So, if you have a Twitter and weren’t already aware of it, perhaps you can give FridayPhrases a go, and see what it does for your writing and/or creativity. If nothing else, have fun!

Word Limits and Challenges

For most of my writing experience, I have had difficulty being concise. The more casual the situation, the longer my paragraphs would become. Whether this was mainly from insecurity in my abilities to articulate, my points or opinion, without being misunderstood, or needing to polish skills is hard to say. The reality is probably a combination of the two. However, having insecurities seeped into my creative writing as well. To paraphrase Sylvia Plath, self-doubt is pretty much creativity’s arch nemesis.

I was afraid I could do well. Afraid things wouldn’t make sense to someone else, and just afraid to even try. These fears resulted in numerous half-assed attempts at short stories, poems, and novels.

In the last three years or so, I discovered Flash Fiction, but I didn’t think I could write any pieces. “How could I ever have a complete story with essentially a paragraph?”  Then finally, I tried it. I started off doing pieces around the 500 word range. Fortunately, I found an online group for this and while 250 was the ideal goal, I needed to start somewhere. The other contributors didn’t mind me working my way down the word count, and eventually I was able to easily compose pieces within 200-300 words that I was happy to share and could be proud of.

But the challenges don’t end there. Some short-short stories are written within 100 words. That notion still somewhat astounds me, triggering self-doubt. As a way to combat this, I’ve decided to focus on writing poetry and recently worked on three separate pieces at 100 words each. While I found it difficult to achieve this, being able to do it has been far more rewarding. I’ve also been looking at using more short styled techniques with poetry as an additional challenge to myself. Working within such rigid parameters has allowed my creativity to flourish more than times where I think hmm, “I should try to write a poem today” or consider any other things I want to work on. If that makes me “less creative” or less capable as a writer, I’m not sure I care. For now I’ll continue to find ways of utilizing limitations to push myself to keep writing.