Beware the Ides of August (aka Challenge Time)

Right I need to start kicking my own ass if I am ever to be a successful writer.  I’m finding it difficult to get anything done and very easy to get distracted at the moment.  True, the move to the new cottage hasn’t really been conducive to a creative environment but that’s not really a good enough excuse.  I have to admit that I miss my weekly writing get together with my dear friend and muse Cherie.  The challenges we would set each other was a fantastic motivator.

That is why I am going to set myself a challenge.  Over the month of August I am going to write at least one short story a week.  If at the end of the week I have succeeded, I shall reward myself with something delicious.  Probably a trip to the chippy (my favourite thing).

I know it’s still July but as there are only a couple of days left I’m going to start today.  By the end of the week you should see a post on here with a link to the completed version of At Sleeps Twilight Gate.

All ahead Mr Sulu, warp factor six.

Write What You Know

Recently I stumbled across some old word files containing the partial remains of stories I had written when I was teenager (oh so long ago). As I read through, happily trundling down memory lane, I felt as if something was not right. There was something missing in those early manuscripts. It wasn’t that the ideas behind the stories were weak, far from it. In fact I intend to revisit one of them in the near future (if Mr Brehaut is reading this; You’re going to be very happy 😉 ). It took me a while to finally figure out what was missing back then; Life experience.

Time and time again I have heard the words “write what you know” offered as advice to struggling writers. While I always thought it was good advice, I never really appreciated it until I looked back at my own work. Our writing is a reflection of ourselves, of the things we have seen and done. It can be a record of how we are feeling at a given moment in time. This is important not only for our readers, but also for ourselves. It allows us to look back and see how far we’ve come.

Of course we can’t get any of this life experience if we are constantly tied to our keyboards. I offer this additional piece of advice to the struggling writer. When you are struggling to find that next chapter or fill that big gaping plot hole, stand up and walk away from the keyboard. Staring at a monitor is not going to help. Get up, leave the room and do something totally unrelated. New ideas come from new experiences. If you have no new experiences, you will not be able to “write what you know”!