What I’ve gained from entering the flash fiction competition and why you should as well

I did something last month I said I would never do — I didn’t enter the Ballarat Writers Flash Fiction competition. I let life get in the way.

After winning so many of the monthly challenges last year, you might have thought a lack of wins this year might have made me give up. However, it was the month after I finally had a win that I failed to write an entry in time.

As an artist in any medium, I think we need to be more forgiving to ourselves. Yes, it’s good to have a routine, as if we never stick to them we won’t develop and reach our goals, but sometimes things happen and that’s okay too. I learned so much last year that I made a pact with myself that this year, regardless of the previous month’s outcome, I would enter every month. The wins last year were a great motivators, but what I achieved (that wouldn’t go on my CV) is the experience of writing in ways I may not have otherwise.

We all have our favourite genres and favoured styles within those genres. What I love most about having to write a new story each month is not only the regularity of it, but also the unique challenge each one brings. A keyword, a genre I’m not used to, a word length that forces you to create a story in a way you haven’t before.

Maybe it’s the challenge, maybe I’m addicted.

Quite often I have an idea for the story within moments of the new monthly prompt being announced. Even if I had to come up with a new idea, the length means that not a lot of time is required, which makes them even more possible. The feeling of achievement once an entry was completed is what I crave the most. Editing is still an issue with my concentration difficulties, which is why a win means so much more to me — it means I managed to get my idea onto the page in such a way that it connects with the reader enough for them to vote for mine above all the others. This isn’t the end goal though, a win is just sprinkles. The cake has already been baked and iced and I am more than content with that finished product.

So whatever project you are currently working on and wherever you are at with it, keep going. Today is a new day, so don’t worry about what you didn’t get done yesterday — focus on what you can achieve today. And if creatively today is already a loss due to circumstances outside of your control, know that surely as the sun will set in the west tonight, it will rise in the east tomorrow, giving you another day full of possibilities.

 

List of excuses I could have used to not write this blog post:

  • The cold stormy weather is making my pain worse and by worse I mean the drugs aren’t working.
  • It’s too painful to sit so I’d have to lay on my back on type with the laptop on my belly.
  • I have no internet. (It was out for a few days)
  • I have a headache.
  • I said I’d write it last month and still haven’t.
  • There’s no guarantee it will get published.
  • Even if it is uploaded there’s no guarantee anyone else will read it.
  • Relaxing would help this pain, more than this forced concentration.

 

List of excuses I used:

 

 

Neville Hiatt has been a member of Ballarat Writers for the past few years. In that time his poetry and short stories have been published in Australia and USA.

http://nevillehiatt.com/

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