A few months back I was introduced to a site which has a weekly timed flash fiction contest. You see the contest prompts, you have 90 minutes to write and upload your story. After the weekend, all the entrants critique and vote on each others' stories. It's a fun activity (Yay for "having fun!") and I've written a LOT of new stories as a result. But.
But they've mostly ended up half-formed in the first draft due to the time constraints. And critiquing the other stories usually ends up eating up my writing time for one or even two evenings, depending on how many stories there are and how busy I am with other activities. Between that and doing a lot of blogging, I've actually been writing very little fiction besides what I write for these every-weekend contests.
Even that wouldn't be a huge issue if I was still getting the stories whipped into shape and out the door. But that mostly hasn't been the case. Between those stories and a few others I've got literally a dozen stories where I've gotten feedback from other writers on them but I haven't gotten the stories polished and out the door. And that's just not useful for me.
So... When you find you're getting off-course, what do you do? Correct your course! And that's what I'm going to do now with the following three items:
- Draft my September goals heavily around story revisions and NOT new words. (Remember that I've got an option in my Daily Writing Chain to do a 45-minute block of focused revision activities as one of the ways I can meet my goal for the day. A month filled with a lot of blocks of time like that would help me get many of these stories out the door.)
- Only allow myself to participate in the flash challenge if I've written and submitted at least one story of my own devising (meaning, not prompted by this specific challenge) within the past three weeks. I'll start this rule with the first full weekend in September. This is to make sure that I'm continuing to come up with organic stories from my own thoughts, not just relying on this prompt activity.
- Consider the amount of time I'm spending on blogging and see if I want to adjust my blogging routine (between this site and my Write Every Day site).