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Jump right in or let it settle?

My usual routine with these challenges is to read the brief and then go off and think about it for a bit. I find that if I do some work, or put some washing on, or go for a walk then an idea will eventually pop into my head and knock hard on the little grey cells until I sit down and write it.

This year I started out the same way but found it wasn’t working quite so well for me.

I would read the brief and then go for my morning walk. Usually, the monkeys, stray dogs and chanting from our neighbourhood temple would all combine to let me zone out and leave the muse to do their thing. It was like my brain was a snow globe – reading the brief gave it a shake and by the time the water had settled I would be able to see clearly.

However, as we are in the middle of yet another lockdown here in Penang, I’ve found my muse to be much more interested in having a good moan about life, the universe and a lack of available vaccinations. The snow globe wasn’t settling and instead there was a distinct waterspout forming!

But frustration and stress weren’t what I wanted to write all my stories about. I like to write as a means of escape, not as a way to vent my frustration about things beyond my control. I’ve found over the past year (-plus) that my creative brain works best when it can ignore Covid and forget for a moment what’s going on around me.

So, I’m experimenting and trying a different approach. Now, I read the brief and then I sit down and just start to type. Sometimes I’m not even sure what I’m writing about or where it will go, but I don’t let that stop me. I just jump on board and hope that I don’t end up in a cul-de-sac.

So far, so good; it seems to be working.

After a slow start, I’ve managed to write a Twitter story about how sweet revenge can be, made a hero out of one man’s refusal to knock down a tree, helped a vampire decide if a nice bottom is justification enough to spend eternity with that special someone… and worked through tricky emotional stages with a helping of light comedy.

One of the nicest things about TLC is that it creates a safe environment to try out new ideas and writing styles. Over the next month I look forward to more by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of writing and who knows, maybe my snow globe days are done?

Never say never, but for now… jump aboard and join me, who knows where we’ll end up!

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