Finding refuge in flash fiction

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Flash Fiction will change you. It will make you a very different writer.

Nancy Stohlman

Having previously attempted the world renowned practice in November of writing a novel in 30 days (NaNoWriMo), and found that I was unable to sustain the motivation to finish, this year I stumbled upon a different type of November challenge – Flash Nano! This writing challenge is the brainchild of Nancy Stohlman, author of the recently published craft guidebook to flash fiction, “Going Short – An invitation to flash fiction”. Nancy provides daily writing prompts with the challenge and expectation the writer is to write a flash fiction story of 1,000 words or less every day.

Sounds simple, right? It’s not but it is an amazing challenge and the by-product is learning more about oneself as a writer as well as some of the nuts and bolts of the craft. And…even better, it has been a wonderful distraction from all of the chaos across the globe especially the political farce playing out south of the border and the looming escalation of viral infection.

To date, I have received seventeen prompts and written seventeen stories. Today I will tackle number eighteen and the best part of receiving these emails is that I now find myself spending more time during the day on this writing practice and I am also discovering it has enhanced my creative inclinations in other aspects of life throughout the day.

We likely all know what types of activities or strategies work best for each of us to stay engaged, creative, and energized. But maintaining consistency with any undertaking seems to have been elusive for me over the past few weeks as the outside world has become somewhat overwhelming. It has also been more difficult to simply find joy, excitement, and just plain fun in an activity. This one has helped check all of those boxes for me.

This has been instructive on several levels and surprising as well. This one activity has helped me focus on setting goals, applying effort to achieve them, learning and developing new skills, persevering when you think you don’t want to do something any longer, finding fun in the process, and learning to tune out all of the negativity that is knocking at the door. Writing practice has been a part of my life for the past couple of years and this month it has been amplified and elevated.

It has been awhile since I have looked forward to completing a task every single day. Perhaps this is one of the defining features of the disruptive force this pandemic has had in my newly sculpted post retirement life. Having made it through my own personal life transition, the farthest thing from my mind was to anticipate the collective transition that we are all going through. This writing practice has taught me a few personal lessons that I hope I am able to sustain long after we pass through this dark tunnel of time.

Hope you are finding things in your life that nurture you and create positive energy, excitement and just plain fun. Stay healthy and safe!

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