Hello friends and welcome to another short-form edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
If you’ve been following along the blog the last few weeks, you’ll know that I’ve felt creatively pent up of late. I haven’t had a freelance novella to work on since I turned in my last at the end of March, and my attempt to utilize Camp NaNoWriMo to draft my urban fantasy novella failed after I realized I hadn’t given myself enough time to outline.
I took a hiatus last week both to adjust to some non-fiction freelance work I picked up to fill the gaps, and to mull over some ideas to keep me creatively engaged. One idea I returned to was podcasting. I even bought a (cheap) microphone. But that is something that will take a lot more thought than idle fancy allows, and would require more planning than I am able to give at the moment. As such, it wouldn’t satisfy the itch I feel right now.
The second idea I had was returning to weekly short form entries. You may remember my earlier attempt at short form with my Short But Sweet vignettes. You may also recall that they were, ahem, short lived.
Was I too ambitious, perhaps, by keeping them all withing a single story idea/setting? Or did I fail to give myself enough structure to keep my neurotic need for rules in check? I honestly don’t know. But I do still like the idea of telling a story one short entry at a time.
That’s when I remembered how much I enjoyed writing drabbles during my days as a fanfiction maven. Give me a ship and a single word prompt, and I could pump those babies out with alarming frequency. It was a fun and relatively commitment-free way to engage with my fandoms and fellow shippers.
Drabbles, for those unfamiliar with the term, are short works of fiction of precisely 100 words. If you spend any amount of time on writing Twitter you might have seen the drabble’s spiritual successor, the #VSS or very short story.
While the #VSS was always a little too short for my preferences, I think drabbles are perfect for some fun, weekly posts. Right? Of course right.
But it wouldn’t be Just Another Struggling Writer if I didn’t make it just a little too hard on myself, because while driving around my daughter this afternoon an idea occurred to me. What if I told a contiguous story through weekly, 100-word increments?
Enter Dark Me.
But, Me, I said, wouldn’t that be putting too much pressure on myself?
Who cares, Dark Me replied, just have fun with it.
I don’t know, I thought. I kind of wanted to do just random drabbles. You know, generate a random word and challenge myself to write 100 words around it. My friends and followers could join in if they wanted, it would be like #VSS but drabble-y.
That’s the great thing, Dark Me said. YOU COULD DO BOTH!
Both?? I thought. Now that’s crazy talk. I’ll never be able to keep up with it!
TOO BAD WE’RE DOING IT ANYWAY
Welp, I guess I’m committed, I thought, having committed nothing whatsoever other than a series of goofy photos to the task.
And that was pretty much that. I pretty quickly decided thereupon that I would do random-word-prompted drabbles every Tuesday and The Ballad of Mercy May, told in 100-word increments, every Friday. I thought I might start as soon as tomorrow, so full of vigor for the idea I was, but I think it’s probably best for the health of the idea and my fragile psyche that I give it a week to percolate.
Two things can be true at once:
- I have failed to maintain ambitious projects like these long term in the past
- I am prone to overthinking and if I don’t seize on this spur of the moment energy I might never actually get around to starting what I am calling Drabble Rock
And, honestly, I am Over allowing past failures to determine future endeavors. Stifling my creative energy just because I didn’t live up to my own expectations last time hurts only myself and helps… exactly nothing.
So, friends, I hope you’ll follow along while I test drive this new project. I hope some of you join me in drabble writing and I hope the idea inspires you to foster your own ambition, even if it is a bit wayward.
Oh, and, uh, wish me luck.
Summer Reading Challenge
Did anyone else participate in the summer reading challenge at their local library? My grandparents always signed my siblings, cousins, and I up, and I always wanted to win. I’ll never forget the thrill of returning to the library after a week of furious reading and getting a sticker for yet another completed book.
Anyway, a full two years after my city opened the branch they’d been building across the street from my neighborhood, I finally decided to avail myself of their services. I also pressganged my kids into joining this year’s summer reading challenge, but they only agreed if I did it with them.
The first book in my Summer Reading TBR? A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kolzoff.
Friends, I’m 23% in and I am smitten. I don’t care that the POV jumps around. I don’t care that there’s a lot of characters and politics and not a ton of forward momentum in the first act. I don’t care because I love these things.
This is very much my kind of book.
So, what is everyone else reading this week? Let me know!
Alright, I think that’s quite enough out of me for the day. I’ll be back next week for your regularly scheduled Monday Motivations and Thursday blogs, aaaaaaaaaaand of course the new Drabble Rock posts. Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.