2015 WORD COUNT= 125517
I don’t like change. Never have.
I’m the first to admit that I’m a strange person, one who likes (or perhaps needs) things to be a certain way so that the pressure of choice is off, and the outcome is always as expected.
· I have five shirts that I wear to work, and each week I pick out the same one for the same day.
· When I go to McDonalds, I get the same meal every time. Every. Time.
· Every Friday I write a piece of fiction for Flash! Friday without fail.
Except last Friday, I didn’t. Because 566 days since I posted my first entry, THE LADY OF THE WOODS, Flash! Friday was no more.
And this made me very sad.
I’d fallen into a rut where I assumed the contest would last forever and a dime. Certainly, right up until I finally got my win in June of this year (a proud moment that I will always hold dear), I thought that I had forever to chase my victory, that I should just keep entering story after story until I became a master of the craft, until the end of time.
And now, with Flash! Friday and Micro Bookends folded, I found myself somewhat lost. When the announcement went up a few weeks ago that the end was coming, it was like finding out that your best friend was moving away to the other side of the world.
Yet once the panic had subsided, I knew it would be okay. Sure something I’d loved doing for the last 18 months was going, but I wasn’t about to revert to my previous state. I wasn’t walking away empty handed. Because I’d gained so much since I first found the balls to post a little story way back when; writing skills, method, discipline, friends, a writing group, and best of all, actual publication.
I think what I did wrong was treat these awesome contests like a job (one that I loved). Instead, I realise now, Flash! Friday and Micro Bookends are more like the school experience I’d always dreamed of, and now that it’s over, it’s time to take what I’ve learned and head out into the big bad world as a growed up writer person man.
Back in April/May of last year I was just getting to work on trying to be, what my mother would call, ‘a proper writer’. I’d had this blog going for a few months and was sticking my head out into the world, nervously, trying to see what other people were doing. One place I’d landed was a little weekly Flash Fiction contest called Flash! Friday.
I’d suddenly gone from aimlessly wandering around, to suddenly having direction. I now had somewhere to aim my imagination, and I began to learn discipline. It was no time at all before Flash! Friday became a regular staple in my week. First thing to do after waking on a Friday morning? Check that prompt. Set those cogs of imagination spinning while eating my bowl full of cereals and waiting for the kettle to boil. Carry the basic plot points and characters with me on my way to work. Let it all grow while spending the morning updating co-workers errors. And then, when lunch rolled around, unleash the story upon the blank page.
That’s all my Fridays were really. Everything else was just sorta ‘background’. I was creating, building, shaping new things on a regular basis. Gone were the days of expanding a new idea every month or so. I was cooking on gas with new worlds and characters popping into existence every seven days.
Of course, it wasn’t all gold. It’s been a mixed 81 weeks, that’s for sure. Highs and lows. Strong and weak tales. Winners and losers. There are stories that I’ve entered that make me cringe now that I look back on them, while others sit there begging to be expanded into bigger adventures (though I’m worried it might ruin what they are). But I have a folder on my hard drive (and after November’s mishaps it’s all backed up to the N’th degree) that contains 200+ ideas to work with or just be proud of.
And there’s the Anthologies that I’m so, so, so proud to be a part of.
I won’t go on and on. I’ve talked about all of my experience in detail throughout the many blog posts over the last two years, and repeating it all will just bore the few that visit this blog.
All I can do now is thank those that made me reach this point.
Craig, a man from this continent who went to that continent via another continent. A man who, unbeknownst to him at the time, redirected my life into a direction I very much needed. If I ever get my work out there, a dedication is coming your way, Mr Anderson.
Mark/David (I still hold that these two are one almighty and powerful entity). They took me into their writing group and in one foul swoop, gave me a confidence power boost while simultaneously allowing me to fulfil my ambition of having work published in paperback form. Cannot be more chuffed that my mother has a book she can hold in her hand and read her son’s writings.
Stella said something almost throw away, and unknowingly caused two of my creations to explode from 100 word flash piece stars, to the main characters in (currently) three novella drafts that I’m pushing to get released into the world in the next twelve months. There’s a character with your name coming up in a very important role in the CHRIS AND MIKE universe. I hope that’s okay.
David B, for letting me know that my creations were welcome in the house of writing he had set up. Much appreciated. I won’t forget the Executive Producer credit I owe you.
To all the other FlashDogs and fellow Flash Fiction writers that turned up as I did, week in, week out, who shared their stories, commented on mine, and continued to set that bar ever so high each and every Friday. Flash! Friday was an amazing place to visit and it’s all down to you.
Which brings us to the legendary dragoness herself, Rebekah Postupak. The playground you set up for us goes beyond impressive. Write your stories Friday, have the results on a Sunday. That’s all it needed to be. That would have been fine. But no, you wanted to give more; Flash Points, spotlight interviews, Warmup Wednesday. It became something huge, and your love for us writers permeated throughout the whole experience. You’ve left some pretty big boots to fill and one hell of a high bar for other contests to aim for. You aided in where I am at the moment, and wherever I end up in the future. Thank you.
And that’s all folks. The end of a chapter. I’m currently on a writing break as the end of the year gets busy and I recharge the batteries of my imagination (though I did sneak a little 71 word entry over at Paragraph Planet).
Next week will be the end of year look back and then it’s into 2016 where I plan on (finally) getting my solo projects out there. There’s changes coming, and I hope it’s for the best.
Have a good Christmas everyone.
See you in seven.