As we come to the end of the first week of 2021’s first writing challenge I have one question for you all… Are we having fun yet? I expect that the answer would be a resounding ‘Yes, and no’ from most of you; me included. So much depends on how I’m feeling and what’s going on around me, that most of the time writing is a very yes/no type of process.
This year I decided to mix things up a bit and set myself some new parameters. Nothing earth-shattering, but just enough to take some pressure off and have more 'yes days' than 'no days'.
Let’s face it, life at the moment is stressful enough. My Teen is studying from home and either snacking loudly or muttering to himself in the corner, while I try to convince myself I’m the next Alan Bennett. Then there’s my Hubby in the spare room leading his half-awake students in vocal warm-ups until it sounds like they might be summoning forces from beyond the veil. My usual haven of silent writing time has disappeared and none of us knows when we can return to our routine and finally get our personal space back.
So, anything I can do to shake things up and take my mind off what’s going on around me is good.
This year I have chosen to be on the Creative Route. I am usually a ‘Timed Route or Bust’ type of writer, because I know how easily I get distracted by YouTube and shiny objects. It seems to be working well because it took me all of 4 briefs before I seriously considered taking a day off. Even then I was able to get myself back on track with the thought of how much harder it would be to have to write 2 plays the following day, and what a slippery slope that would be. I am always pleased and proud when I manage to submit, but this time felt even better because I knew how close I’d come to bunking off and had chosen not to.
A definite 'yes day'.
Another thing I’m doing this year is limiting myself to only 3 pages.
This might seem like I’m wimping out, but that's what is right for me for this challenge. There’s a blissfully quiet hour in every morning when my family seems to be easing into the day and I can concentrate on writing and nothing else. I aim to get each and every play done within that hour and in no more than 3 pages.
I am finding the morning is the best time for me to write and knowing in the back of my mind that it’s only an hour and only 3 pages is very freeing. On the other hand, it’s been interesting to condense whatever idea I’ve had into just 3 pages. I am learning to say what I mean and get down to business straight away. There’s very little wriggle room and I like the challenge that presents.
So far, I have had more 'yes days' than 'no days'. I’ve written about Chuck the groundhog, therapy goats called Kate and how easy it is to tell 2020 what you really think of them.
Whether you’re having a 'yes day', a 'no day' or a 'who the hell am I day', I hope you’re proud of what you achieve, regardless of length or even whether or not your wrote anything, and keeping any stress to a limit. Remember, always do what is right for you, and you can also mix things up and try a new approach. You never know what you’ll achieve until you give it a go. Enjoy!