At the start of the month I set up a little writing challenge: to write a ten-sentence story based on a prompt every day for the first ten days of December. I’d been wanting to get back into writing but was feeling overwhelmed, so I thought starting small would be a good idea. I invited others to join me. Almost fifty of you did.
And what a blast we had!
This has been wonderful, so many encouraging people and such a great standard of writing – and so imaginative. – Sue Harmes
This has helped me to develop the habit of writing every day, regardless of the life distractions and also having the courage to post them, even when I wasn’t entirely happy with them. Everyone has been so encouraging and the stories have been wonderful. – Clodagh Power
Even for those who already have writing projects, this has been a good daily exercise. A bit like pianists practice their scales every day before getting onto more serious stuff. – Clive Astley
I wanted the challenge to be supportive rather than daunting, encouraging rather than competitive. So I made it so that you didn’t have to post your work if you didn’t want to – you could just comment to say you’d written something. I also made it clear that this wasn’t a place for criticism and critique (even if it were constructive) – this was a place for encouragement and support. Of course I wholeheartedly believe constructive critique is necessary to develop your work, but this wasn’t the place for it.
Having something small to aim for meant it was more achievable, and achieving anything (no matter how small) gives you a boost – creatively, emotionally. It gives you something to build on.
I very nearly didn’t sign up – although I write some for a living alongside editing I’ve never shared creatively in a group before and was, frankly, terrified! Everyone has been so lovely, and the contributions inspiring. Such talent out there. It has been, for me, an amazing experience, and has truly helped me re-find my creative-writing mojo. – Cally Worden
It’s been brilliant. So much fun. Everyone has been so lovely and encouraging. I was extremely nervous about posting but I don’t regret a single story. I’m a Fibromyalgia Warrior and doing this challenge has given me such a huge boost, I can’t thank you enough for putting this together. – Ursula Hanna
And if you missed a day? Don’t beat yourself up. It happens. We’re here to have fun, not make writing a chore. I didn’t even manage to write every day! But what I wrote I was very pleased with.
I also very much enjoyed the half that I managed to complete haha! Life got the better of me, but perhaps I can catch up at some point as it’s bugging me to leave it half done. It did, however, do exactly as I’d hoped and sparked the old creative noggin, and I have some ideas on how to expand one of my little stories, so I’m dead chuffed with that. – Julie Marksteiner
I didn’t finish as many prompts as I would have liked, but it did get me back on track with writing again. And perhaps a few more rounds of practice and I will be ready to share my work. I loved reading everyone’s take on the prompt. – Shauna McIntyre
A few people started writing ten lines of poetry rather than ten-sentence stories, and I was totally down with that (and had a crack at it myself for one of the prompts). It helped break the challenge up a bit, I think.
The challenge took a lot more out of my day than I had anticipated, mostly because more people joined the challenge than I had expected! (A good thing.) Writing and posting the prompts only took a few minutes, but reading all the stories and leaving a brief comment probably took me about 60-90 minutes per day, as well as perhaps 15 minutes to write my own. Don’t worry, though – no one expects you to read everything. I just wanted to!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading all those pieces of micro fiction, and I especially enjoyed seeing how people would interpret the prompt. Such creativity!
I have loved doing this, so thank you so much, Sophie. My next challenge is to sustain an idea for longer than ten sentences, but this wonderful opportunity to see if I could string together anything that wasn’t factual has given me heart. – Sue Littleford
By the time the ten days were up, we’d all got to know each other a little more (two people even realised they live near each other and have arranged to meet up!) and we all seemed to have a case of the warm fuzzies for the circle of support and encouragement we’d created. Perhaps we should do this again …? many of us wondered, including me.
We had a good few months doing this challenge, but it’s now drawn to a close. Why not create your own writing challenge, though?
Hey, let’s stay in touch.
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