I love the excuse New Year gives me to make over-ambitious plans. One of these is to work out how to write a decent short story.

You’d think it shouldn’t be too different from writing a novel, but in many ways it’s harder- less forgiving as a medium, anyway. Within a few thousand words, I need to simultaneously create interesting characters and develop a satisfying plot.

Michelle, a friend from a writing group, inspires me. Over two years, I read two short stories aloud, when I thought they were ready for submission. She wrote a fresh story every two weeks. She found an idea and a couple of hours, and produced something. And the more she did that, the better her stories became- better than my edited stuff.

The most helpful book I read in 2015 was Hilary Rettig’s Seven Secrets of the Prolific. She talks of accepting we’re not usually presentient. We don’t know whether something will work or not. But as a rule, those who are prepared to invest time and energy to create, regardless of possible failure, are more successful overall than those who are risk-adverse.

So my other writing goal is to ditch my pride and get better at writing first drafts, without stopping to edit every paragraph. Put things down and give creativity a chance to kick in, before my right brain tells me it’s all wrong and I better give up trying.

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6 thoughts on “2016 goal: to write badly

  1. I’ve read recently that you shouldn’t edit your first draft until you have completed your story. You then go back and edit the draft. This way, you’re able to spill the ideas onto the page (or screen) as they come to you and allow your creativity to come out without the distraction of making the details perfect.

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  2. Hi Sophie, I am one of those who writes it all and then publishes…At least I do with blogs. I don’t like editing and redrafting. Sadly that is something that is now a major part of the school curriculum. I am generally getting my children to redraft once the writing is “complete”. Seems like I am inadvertently doing the right thing! So much of the way we have to teach writing, is not how real writers approach their writing though. I recently read something advocating avoiding using exciting words like expostulate, and go for the invisible “said”. Anthony Horowitz says to avoid adverbs and use a powerful verb. I could go on, but maybe I should just make this my next blog post! I am off to bed now and going to publish this comment without checking it!

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