I sit here on my deck watching the sun set on the first week of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. I had set my goal at writing for six hours each week. Mission accomplished, but goodness this week has been a difficult one.
There are times when the words flow out of my fingers as easily as spreading margarine on toast, and there are other times when it feels like each word is like pulling fingernails. That’s where I am today. During this week I’ve worked on two projects. One is intended to be my fourth quarter Writers of the Future contest entry. Unfortunately, I have little more to go on for that story than a character and vague idea of a political conspiracy.
I love reading stories with lots of intrigue. Sadly, I have about as much talent with inventing intrigue as a frog, unless there are aspects of frog life that are hidden to mortal eyes. I did spend a commute with my son talking things through, and between us we came up with a lot of good ideas. They’re helping, but I am still moving very, very slowly. I ended the week with about 2000 words written on that project. There were significantly more than that were written and discarded.
The other project is a piece of flash fiction for a writers’ forum contest. This is going a little bit better. I have 1000 words to play with and am up at around 700, with some idea of an ending to aim for. I expect to complete this story by tomorrow or Monday. Still, those 700 words took an awfully long time.
It’s tempting for me to look at these results and be disappointed. On the other hand, if I hadn’t forced myself to shut off the internet and stick myself in front of a Word document, I would have 2700 words less written. I think I need to re-frame my definition of success. Struggle is frustrating, yes, but it’s better than letting days go by without writing a word.
So, for me, this first week of the write-a-thon has been a success. I’m looking forward to what the next week brings.
My Clarion West Write-a-Thon link can be found: here.