Micro Month

Listening to: Motion City Soundtrack, “Worker Bee”

So when 2010 started out, I was pretty much open to anything. I’ve been doing the novel thing and little else for several years now, and although I always tell myself I’ll write a short story here or there, I never actually do. I needed something new to spice things up.

Thus, when a friend in my writing group said she planned to write a micro-short story, 500 words or less, every weekday in January, I didn’t really think hard about joining in. We were joined by another group member, and the three of us were off and running.

Never in my life have I been so glad that I did something without thinking about it. Had I actually put thought into it, I would’ve imagined that preparing the final draft of FLAWED, along with all my submission materials, would be all I could manage.

And yeah, it was tough. But the girls were understanding when I couldn’t crank out a story for the day due to novel revisions or general busyness, and on the days I could make it, they were grateful. I returned the favor–we all know life gets in the way sometimes.

It didn’t really require much of my time, though. On a good day, I could churn out something respectable in 20 minutes or so. And I’m still rather amazed at how the process recharged my brain, got my creative juices flowing, and how much I loved it. I love writing novels–that long process, sometimes seeming like it’ll never end, as you you dig the story out from the piles of dirt covering it. The micro-shorts were different. It was like that feeling when you write a really good scene, and you can just feel it, lightning coming from your fingers. In a week or a month or a year, sure, it won’t look as shiny-pretty-awesome–but in that moment, it’s SO PRETTY.

In short, I would highly recommend this to anyone, even if it’s just for a week, or just for a creative outlet to stave off the twitchy-need-to-write hunger that pops up during revision. It’s low-commitment but incredibly rewarding. I even have some pieces I’m thinking of submitting to various flash fiction markets, and a ready-made piece for a coffeehouse reading my friend’s holding in a few weeks.

Some tips:

  • I worked well with a weekly theme, and you might too. Character, setting, dialogue, whatever–it gives you a starting point.
  • Music. Muuuuuusiiiiiic. When I couldn’t come up with a darn thing, and the blank page became my enemy, I played a few songs. Pretty soon, a line would just pop, and I’d be off to the races.
  • Just have fun. When I wrote my first January Micro Story, I couldn’t believe the rush I got from it. And I adored that story. But for the next few pieces, I expected that same rush, when really I should’ve just enjoyed the process. And I expected to adore every story as much, but you have to give yourself permission to write absolute crap.

So. Between that, getting the website up and running, and polishing FLAWED, I had a rather busy first month of 2010. How about you?

4 thoughts on “Micro Month

  1. Yes, I like the idea of a bigger theme. I’ll set my brain to “think” mode and see if anything comes up.

    I’ve started dithering on verb tense in my WIP. Yes, I’ll gladly trade you. =)

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