Writers are forever looking for material to use for a journal article or magazine, characters or plot fragments for stories, workable settings for novels that don’t require major research, and a niche to market their work.
During this past month’s blogging challenge, those writers who’ve managed to follow-through each day have also upped their A-game in material. Some of the challenged writers kept their posts closely related to those subjects that they’d already fostered on their blogs.
Others looked at the “relative” nature of their ordinarily chosen subjects, and either expanded on them or moved to relate them to additional topics that weren’t usually equated with them.
Either strategy was legitimate. Also, such strategies created new perspectives and approaches toward future writing projects. Any time a writer can pull that off is a good day.
Since I took the challenge literally, I came away with material for memoir, essays, poetry, stories, books, and the list goes on. The constant reliving of details and personal responses allowed me to find new characters that had stories to tell. Poetry flowed within each memory, whether as a retelling of it or simply as a visceral impression and emotional recapping of it.
It hadn’t occurred to me at the beginning of this assignment that I would have such a strong emotional reaction to those recollections from so long ago; recollections that were incomplete and, sometimes, beyond vague.
This learning experience has opened up areas of writing that I hadn’t seriously considered before. I might have toyed with an idea here and there, but I hadn’t pinned down those ideas with any certainty.
Suddenly, I was seeing plots, twists, character development and settings that had never occurred to me before. And if I wasn’t seeing fiction, the brain was in overdrive about poetry or non-fiction pieces that could go to this market or that one.
Some days I felt like a voyeur as I took note of how I approached a subject differently than I would have two months before, and how my style shifted with each person I chose to write about. Some style elements remained fairly constant, while others wavered or developed new execution phases.
Prior to this, I had only foggy understanding of how my style shifted and when. That’s cleared up for me now.
I finally set my future writing projects and knew what I would tackle in the months ahead. The projects haven’t changed, but how I handle them will change. I’ve already come to that conclusion.
This challenge has given me more than its creators could ever imagine. It gave me a closer look at myself and why I choose to write what I do and how. It gave me a clearer picture of what my future will look like and my place in it. And if gave me the ability to focus on one aspect of a project (each day’s post) to the exclusion of everything else around me for the time I was working on it.
All of these things have come from a simple writing challenge. In some ways it doesn’t matter what the prompt was. It could have been anything, as long as I could relate to it enough to accept the challenge and stay focused on it.
In other respects, because I chose to deal with personal family members and issues, I came away a winner, regardless of who finishes first or who writes the most, etc. I came away with intangible bits of myself that I didn’t know I was missing until now. I regained an ability to focus on one project at a time until it was complete. And I learned that I thoroughly enjoy writing in areas that I hadn’t concentrated on before.
I think that’s pretty good for one month of writing. Later tonight I’ll do one last post on this subject to finish out the month. I’m running a day behind right now. I’ll do one more post on family and how I define it and experience it.
Tomorrow my subject prompt will change. I look forward to seeing what it will be and I look forward to meeting new friends along this road of discovery called LIFE.