I discovered a fabulous blog a few days ago, Write Me! which hosts the #5MinuteFiction contest. The deal is that every week, blogger Leah Petersen puts up a prompt at 1:30 PM Eastern Time, and then you have until 1:45 PM to write a short story and post it as a comment!
As soon as I read past contests, I knew I wanted to enter the next one, but the chances of me waking up in time, being functional, and being able to do anything fast, were extremely slim. However, I've been getting a lot of pats on the back as a writer in the last few weeks, which has given me additional confidence. So, why the hell not try?
I woke up at 1 PM today, of course completely forgetting that it was Tuesday. I was in a fair amount of pain and just lying in bed trying to decide what I was capable of, when I clicked my Twitter tab and saw the reminder for the contest.
What does a chronically ill writer do to get prepared for a writing contest in less than half an hour?
- Pee! I just knew as soon as the contest started, I'd have to pee, so I got that out of the way. Then I was in more pain and exhaustion, but some things cannot be avoided.
- Find my keyboard, mouse, lap desk, and clipboard. I use my clipboard as my mouse pad. It had fallen off my bed during the night. Searching and finding it was another time-and-energy drain.
- Arrange pillows for maximum comfort and functionality (arm bolstering).
- Ignore the ringing telephone. (That reminds me -- gotta check my voicemail!)
- Hope like hell that my computer and internet connection cooperate.
I actually used a fair amount of time dithering about which blog address to give. I decided to give this one, my new writing one, even though I didn't have any content yet. Hell, I don't even have my widgets and links and such set up. It's just soooo unlike me to not get all my ducks in a row before going public. But this is part of my new strategy of believing I will actually accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Blogging with the confidence that eventually, I'll have the rest of this site looking how I want.
Of course, if I'd had more than 10 minutes to write, I'd have revised, cut, tightened, proofed, and otherwise tweaked the story. But much like videotaping my dog-training sessions, seeing what I wrote after that thinking-on-your-feet burst has already helped me to see what I like about what I wrote, and what I don't like. (Guess which one wins out?) Yes, there's a lot I wish I'd done differently, that I want to do better next time.
Oh yes, there will be a next time. I'm hooked. I'm pretty sure that this weekly contest, when I'm able to participate, will make me a better writer, especially of, as Anne Lamott says, "Shitty first drafts."
Anyway, I'm one of the five finalists out of 30-something stories, I think. (I can't remember how many there were.)
What does a chronically ill writer do after she has finished the writing contest? Take her pain medication and try to get the word out about being a finalist! These two activities turn out to be a bad match, today. I thought I'd had enough breakfast before taking my meds, but apparently not, because I'm all fuzzy-headed now. I hope this post makes sense!
The winner is announced tomorrow at 9:00 AM Eastern Time, so please go to Write Me! and read the Week 64 Finalists, and vote! Obviously, I'd like it if you voted for me, but really you should vote for the story you think deserves to win.
This is a fun way to start my writing blog.
P.S. Please spread the word about the contest and voting, and about my new blog!