What an exciting week! Thank you to everyone who joined the Speakeasy for its inaugural fiction and poetry competition. You all brought your best spooky and strange to the grid. I was so impressed by the variety of the pieces. Everything from macabre horror to quiet memories of days past found its way here, and it was a joy to read it all.
Last weekend I pulled out the journal I used to plan Broken Magic. Journals are a big part of my process. I’ve learned that if I leave the thinking to my brain alone, it’ll take a run at every idea at once, and end up fragmenting itself into paralysis. With a journal, I can only focus on what I’m writing at that second. If I can just keep myself scribbling, I’m bound to work something out eventually. My only goal while journaling is to keep scribbling things down.
I learned something interesting from that old Broken Magic journal. My entries rarely start with good ideas. They start with me complaining that I don’t have an idea, that I’m lost and adrift and how the heck does Neil end up in that situation without it being totally contrived? Some of those entries are pages of nothing but me bemoaning my lack of inspiration. Yet, no matter how much ramble there was, more often than not, it led me where I needed to go.
This week, here is my advice: If you want to join the grid but aren’t sure what to write, grab a notebook, a journal, a legal pad, or a spare piece of printer paper and start by writing What do I want to write about? Then, let yourself ramble. Scribble about how the photo prompt makes you feel, about what you’d like a story to say, about emotions or images or snips of dialogue that come into your head. If you have to, ramble about how annoyed you are that you don’t have any of that.
It’s safe to ramble, because, like a diary, no one’s ever going to read it. You can take as long as you need until, somewhere in the rush of scrawled words, you find what you were looking for.
Before I leave you to write, I have a favor to ask. Flood is building something really exciting here, but it’s also a little scary. Writing fiction and poetry in so little time and posting it to be read can be tough, but it’s easier with friends in the same boat. I’d love it if you’d spread the word about what’s happening at the Speakeasy. Encourage people to join in and become a part of the community. Reading you work has been inspiring and exciting for me, and I want more!
Remember: each week’s winner gets a copy of my novel Broken Magic. If we get a least 12 entries, everyone at the speakeasy becomes eligible for the $100 Amazon gift card challenge over at yeah write. Click here for details. See you on the grid!