At the beginning of the year, I set a plan to write more consistently. I also made sure to offer some flexibility in this schedule to avoid possible burn out. Flash forward a meager two weeks, and I was stuck staring at my computer screen today, wondering if two weeks in to the new year was too soon to already be taking a break.
An unfortunate side effect of having long Covid is that my body does not tolerate pain, like at all. So when having a bad day symptom-wise, my first response is to curl up in bed with the cats and dog and sleep it off. I was on the threshold of doing that today when I remembered that I had signed myself up for a Coursera.org creative writing class. Maybe, just maybe, I told myself, I could find inspiration in that.
Surprisingly, this worked, but not because of having to craft a 250-250 word story with specific prompts and sequences. No, I wrote my story about my constant companion (Ashe the Corgi) because it was something that was easy, fun, and just sort of a light and fluffy piece that didn’t require too much focus. But then after writing, I had to review a minimum of three other pieces of the same assignment by my classmates. That was when the inspiration hit me! To see how others took the same prompts and incorporated them into vastly different stories was truly inspirational. And so here we are.
After the rush of inspiration I found reading the work of others, it reminded me of how many different posts and Pinterest pins I’ve seen that encourage writers to read. It doesn’t even have to be in our chosen genre. Most of the time, I have a profound weakness for murder mysteries and thrillers (but not horror, never horror). Last year, when re-discovering Wattpad, what I really liked the most wasn’t so much writing, and commenting, and everything that goes into the social side (still very much an introvert, even across the informal world of the internet), but what I love, love, loved was in judging because it opened me up to writers I might never have otherwise stumbled upon. I’ll even go so far as to give a shoutout to one of the best novellas I’ve ever read, one that I ended up judging after getting tasked the thriller genre: Watched by Sarah Paradis.
The internet can be a foreboding, overpowering sort of place. Would-be writers like myself, we struggle to find our place among the myriad of other writers. And even if we’re not actively seeking to make our mark, it can be hard to find our fellow would-be writers to give them a boost. It’s all fine and dandy to read published books, but I find something more to inspire the passion of writing when I can find the work of those who are like me. Those of us who are on the outside looking in, sometimes all we need is the support of others, to know what we’re doing is not in vain. Then, just maybe, we’ll try again tomorrow. So my recommendation, for what it’s worth, find a way to connect, even if it isn’t in person. There are so many unpolished gems in the world, and we can find one or two if we know where to look.
Until next time –