While this is only the second official installment of the new Daily Challenge format, those of you who have read UhW for some time know that challenges abound.
Today’s is a bit different.
Typically my challenges are about character development, dialogue, story arc, the basic nuts and bolts of fiction writing. I trust these bon mots are useful to you. They come from my own questions and struggle to write a better story.
Likewise, today’s topic comes more from real life than some stretch of a fantasy world. The topic is time.
Elsewhere I’ve hinted at age and maturity being helpful to one’s writing. I have also tipped my hat (so to speak) to younger writers who seem to have boundless energy, and who are still weeks, months, years—decades, even—from facing the physical slowdowns that come with advancing age. Not, mind you, that I have anything against getting older. It beats the hell out of the alternative.
But energy and concentration are the key.
In a flurry of excited discovery, of movement into new realms of writing, short stories, for example, blogging, journalism, and can I even whisper it? Ghost writing? Life can get complicated. Difficult even.
I have found that the harshest deadlines are those I impose upon myself. A frenzy ensues. An addiction to reach out, take on one more task, finish them all. Time isn’t always on our side.
I love to write. These days, one way or another, I write at least 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is that cool, or what? What? No, you’re right. It isn’t.
I love to write, but at what cost? Do I think that my work, whatever it is at the moment will last? What is the trade-off?
I love to write… but I am driven to write as well.
So, pardon the maudlinness (yes, a real word, I checked), and sing along with me for a moment.
Writing is life—for many of us, at least—but life is life, too.
Today’s challenge is to stop writing. Stop for one day. Don’t do any. Don’t read, either. Lay your books, your newspapers, your blogs, all of it, aside for one day. Just one. And see how it feels.
Chances are guilt will set in, but let that go. See, the challenge is to stay involved in life. In your life. In the lives of those around you, even in the lives of strangers. Where do YOU think the experience needed to write well comes from? You don’t really believe you make this all up out of whole cloth, to you?
So, that’s it. Maybe today isn’t the right day, but how about tomorrow? I won’t be blogging tomorrow (stopped doing Sunday blogging a couple of months back). How about you?
How about a walk in a park? A drive in the woods? A party with friends? No, not a movie. Even in a group, a movie is an individual experience. Get out and be with people. OK, fine, you can talk about writing, just don’t do any.
Then, come back and let us know how it went.